An industry that was once reserved for the affluent has rapidly involved into one with significantly more reach and accessibiliy to an increasing number of clients. Nothing has made this truth more evident than the massive impact that Homepolish has had on the interior design industry. In 2012, a chance meeting between Will Nathan and Noa Santos culminated in a highly flexible business model that has taken the world of interior design completely by storm.
Will Nathan was an investment banker, who had transitioned into a career as a coder, working for BuzzFeed. Will found himself looking for a talented, straight forward interior designer who possessed the capacity to bring his Chelsea apartment to life. Enter Noa Santos, a Stanford-educated interior designer who was running a one-man operation. Noa used a new hourly model which limited his capacity to serve a broader client base.
After Noa completed Will’s apartment, Will was so impressed that the two got together and decided to expand the model to reach homes, apartments and commercial buildings across the country. Homepolish has rapidly become the quickest way for clients to get connected with an interior designer for their home or office.
How it Works
Homeowners, renters and commercial office managers can visit the official Homepolish website, where they will be able to browse through thousands of room designs that are designed exclusively by Homepolish designers. This original approach means that users are able to choose from designs that they will not have to be concerned about finding somewhere else. Currently, the designers at Homepolish are completing about 7-8 new projects per week.
Once visitors have narrowed down the designs that they find most interesting, they will be able to meet with their own Homepolish designer. This can be done in person or via video chat.
The initial consultation usually lasts about an hour. During this consultation, the client will be advised on the best route to take, provided with resources that are tailored to meet their specific needs. If the client decides to hire the designer, they will be able to do so at an hourly rate — initiating the process of transforming their decorative vision into a reality. Every hour that the designer is on the clock is spent working on bringing the project together, getting the things that are needed, choosing the right furniture, picking the right paint colors, and more.
In order to facilitate a wider range of budgets, Homepolish has two basic packages. The first package is the single-day session, which is comprised of three hours. For the client who is looking for a designer to walk them through the entire process, Homepolish has the Design Package, which gives the client access to the designer throughout the entire decorating process.
Additionally, the design package comes with access to discounts with some of the top furniture vendors across the country.
Currently, Homepolish has 245 designers that located in 12 cities. Not only does the company have thousands of residential clients, it has more than 400 startup offices around the country.
Using Technology to Scale Services
Homepolish has been able to manage thousands of projects simultaneously across 12 primary cities, and this has been done with the assistance of deep-benched technology that allows the client services team to be exceptionally efficient with their time and efforts as they deal with clients and work on projects. The technology arm of the company helps manage everything from project management to the matching of clients with the right designer. The company embraces a proactive, client-first approach that allows them to ensure that the client experience is second to none.
A Broad Customer Base
What makes Homepolish so successful is its ability to service a wide range of clients. Their clients come from multitudinous economic and cultural backgrounds. They service everything from a 500 square foot apartment to corporate commercial buildings with tens of thousands of square feet.
There are, however, a few commonalities that all of their clients share.
- The belief that a well-designed space has the capacity to make life more enjoyable
- A strong desire to tap into the talents of the country’s most gifted designers
- A savvy approach to spending their money, which ensures that they will get the most for their money
What is remarkable about what Homepolish has been able to do in only four years is the fact that their expansive upscaling has been accomplished without any outside funding. In a time in which startups are being launched on a daily basis, most have been able to do so through multiple rounds of fundraising; however, Noa and Will started Homepolish with $400 dollars, and they were able to fund its growth by taking on design projects. While Noa focused on design projects to produce the capital for growth, Will handled the technical aspects of the growth process.
The Expansion Model
Basically, Will and Noa have facilitated their expansion by identifying cities that offer a match between the demand for the services of Homepolish designers and the presence of talented designers to meet the demand. When the company initially moves into a city, they begin with using a small field team that will test the area for viability and sustainability. Secondly, the company does an exceptional job allowing the market to dictate how they will grow the business.
Every market has its own identity, and the company does not attempt to use a cookie-cutter approach to introduce its services into new markets. Instead, it allows the market to inform its movements.
The impact that Homepolish is having on the interior design industry is undeniable. It has expanded accessibility, simplified the process through which clients are able to find their ideal designer and created a sustainable business model that is completely scalable for even greater growth.
The next thing on the drawing board for Homepolish is the development of a model that will allow people who do not live in one of the current 12 cities that the company is in to access and benefit from their services — Homepolish Virtual. The online gallery is also evolving to show more than 5,000 professionally shot rooms. It seems that the best is yet to come.