"What if buying a couch were as comfortable as lying on one?"
For most people, that is a common thought while shopping for a new couch. Online, in stores and at the many multichannel spots in between, furniture shopping is one of those experiences that consumers greatly enjoy the fruits of, but not so much the process behind it.
The problem, according to the team at Interior Define, is an issue of personalization. Furniture is, but its very nature, highly personal. People hang out on the couch, it's often the central gathering point for families in a household, it's where sick people lie when they're tired of being in bed. Plus, they have to look at their couches, along with the rest of the furniture that fills their households – and Interior Define takes the not terribly controversial position that consumers should like what they see.
But, of course, finding the perfect fit in a piece of furniture is not so easy – which is why the process of buying furnishings is less than beloved. There is no shortage of spaces that sell consumers furnishings – from department stores and big box stores to online hubs like Wayfair and Amazon, the list doesn't lack for entrants. But as far as finding the right furnishing – the right design, right size, right color, right fabric, right softness/firmness? There are a lot of options for vendors, but in some sense, that doesn't make finding the needle-in-a-haystack element of furniture shopping any easier – in some ways, it just makes the haystack bigger without adding all that many more needles.
This is where Interior Define wants to make a difference, by essentially allowing customers to make their own needle while shopping for furniture online. Customizable furniture wasn't quite the brand's founding ambition, according to CEO and Founder Rob Royer, but it was a need in the market that the brand discovered soon after launch.
When we initially launched, we felt strongly there was a gap in the market for a compelling digital brand offering an elevated sofa shopping experience: with great design and extensive customization for customers shopping the middle of the market. Directly out of the gate customers began requesting customization options that went beyond our initial offerings. It was clear there was a big demand for a brand that could deliver a better sofa and customization experience. Based on this feedback, we expanded our customization offerings quickly," Royer told the Symmetry60 blog.
And so Interior Define decided to branch out that initial offering, to allow consumers to digitally "build" the they want from the comfort of an online portal. As of today, shoppers can choose unique sofa layouts, fabrics, legs and ottomans to customize the offering to their specific space. Free swatches can be sent to users' homes so they can get a firsthand feel and see the materials before ordering. And all orders come with complimentary white glove delivery – they won't just leave the item on the front porch, but will in fact place it properly in the buyer's living room.
All appealing for shoppers – particularly because while the product is somewhat custom, the price is not. Pieces start at about $700, firmly in the middle-market range.
It is an approach that is picking up steam in the market, as the firm announced tripled revenue in 2017, its third year of meeting or beating that accomplishment. And Interior Define is now eyeing growth: The 50-person full-time team is set to expand, and the firm has already announced the launch of an augmented reality app that allows users to see how a particular piece would look in their home. The brand is also offering a “comfort guide” that offers a visual representation of each piece’s ergonomic properties.
The brand is also expanding physically, with “guide shops” in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Austin and San Francisco. The firm is hoping to open at least one more store by the end of 2018.
"Shopping for a sofa is an important, and often emotional experience. We examined everything about the traditional sofa-shopping experience and designed a process that is built from the ground up to be more comfortable."