With the cost of interior decorators rising to $200/hr on average, interior decorating is not affordable for the masses. In comes Havenly, the interior decorating startup that accommodates classic, modern, or a more creative taste with pricing starting at a reasonable $79. With a quick style quiz combined with a tailored service offering, the recently funded venture has the latitude to work with any budget.
Cofounder Emily Motayed speaks with AlleyWatch about their recent success, how the business all began, and the latest funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a Series A 2 and received a total of $5.8 Million, bringing our total funding to $13.3 Million to date. The round was led by Binary Capital and participated in by Foundry Group and Chicago Ventures.
Tell us about your product or service.
Havenly is an online interior design service that allows anyone to create the room of their dreams by matching users with a dedicated designer who will decorate and shop the space for a flat-fee starting from $79. Using an online style quiz to find the best interior design aesthetic and pieces, Havenly allows users and designers to virtually work together to create the perfect curated space based on any budget.
What inspired you to start the company?
We created Havenly out of a personal need – both of us had moved into our respective new homes, and there was no option in the market for someone like us – we were overwhelmed with all the furniture options that were available out there, and it was extremely difficult to visualize how our place would look like. We needed some professional help but had no idea where to start. Additionally, traditional interior design services, which cost upwards of thousands of dollars, were completely out of our price point. It was from that personal painpoint that we came up with building the number one destination for online interior design services.
How is it different?
There’s no real way for someone to get their space professionally decorated in an affordable manner – unless you’re lucky enough to have a talented friend or mom, your only real option, if you don’t have the time and energy to do it yourself, is to hire an interior decorator. However, the existing interior design industry is very cost prohibitive – on top of furniture, which already consists of big ticket items, you have to pay someone on an hourly basis or pay them thousands of dollars per room to get your place decorated.
We are moving that entry price point down by leveraging technology to decorate your space virtually – you spend some time chatting with your designer, send over some pictures and measurements, and we produce a beautiful design plan for you, while incorporating your feedback throughout the process. It’s a new way of looking at interior design and is tailored to our generation: a generation that is accustomed to e-commerce and online services in every other type of vertical. Additionally, in comparison to many of our other competitors, our designers are extensively vetted, trained and managed, so that every client has a fantastic design experience with Havenly.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We’re addressing the market of young professionals and design enthusiasts. People who are looking for a service that conveys ease, personalization, and convenience when it comes to designing their home. This target audience controls approximately $30B in furnishings spend annually and we want to make sure they know about Havenly.
What’s your business model?
We receive money from the upfront design fee, as well as selling furniture (at the best price out there) to our customers.
The company has had some impressive growth over the last year. Tell us
about and how did you do it?
We have been lucky to have really hit a chord with consumers who have been looking for cost effective and convenient ways to shop from their homes. I truly believe that we have identified and have addressed such a significant pain-point for consumers, which has been the reason that we have seen such impressive growth since we launched. I also believe we’ve built a top notch product that people truly love, which makes them keep coming back to us and referring their friends to us as well.
What was the funding process like?
Fortunately, since this was simply an extension of the round that we closed in November, and therefore it was a seamless and easy process for us. It’s always helpful and amazing to bring on new and amazing supportive investors, so we are very fortunate for that to have happened.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The strong growth that we have seen since launch, which really indicates that we are onto something amazing and something that is changing the industry, has definitely helped when it came to raising external funds.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We will continue to invest in our brand and roll out product improvements that better the consumer experience, as well as grow out our team to optimize fully for what we are trying to achieve.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Get creative and be tough! If you want to succeed with little or no capital, you have to be willing to think outside the box and figure out ways to market your product and share it with the public. An amazing thing we did was build a great product and let it speak for itself. Happy customers would tell their friends about our service and the cycle would grow from there. It’s astonishing how much you can get done and accomplish with a little extra manpower.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We will continue to grow at the scale that we are while always making sure that we are bettering the product by incorporating our users’ feedback every step of the way. We are really building a beautiful and delightful consumer experience so that everyone can have the pleasure of getting their home professionally decorated!