Stem cell niches, the discrete microenvironments in which the stem cells reside, play a dominant part in regulating stem cell activity and behaviours. Recent studies suggest that committed stem cell progeny become indispensable components of the niche in a wide range of stem cell systems. These unexpected niche inhabitants provide versatile feedback signals to their stem cell parents. Together with other heterologous cell types that constitute the niche, they contribute to the dynamics of the microenvironment. As progeny are often located in close proximity to stem cell niches, similar feedback regulations may be the underlying principles shared by different stem cell systems.