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Startup makes over interior design

June 6, 2014
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Startup makes over interior design
Roomations sells various web-based interior design services, including 3-D renderings. Photo via fb.com

A startup is re-designing how homeowners work with interior designers.

Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said last week that it will invest $5,000 in Roomations, an online platform connecting homeowners with freelance interior designers.

Design setup

Created to offer affordable, acceptable and convenient interior design services to the mainstream consumer, Roomations allows users to upload images of the room they’d like to improve and choose up to three different freelance interior designers to work with, based on budget, retailers and style preferences.

The design services are provided through a network of national freelance interior designers throughout the country. Designers can join the Roomations Designer Network for an annual membership fee of $20, which is deducted from the first project.

Roomations incorporates several home improvement resources: photo-realistic images and 3-D renderings accompanied by shopping lists of products from different retail sources; style boards with recommendations of accessories, furniture, color and lighting for the selected room; and information on design topics.

Plans

With a three-tier pricing framework, consumers can receive interior design services based on their needs, such as receiving advice from professionals for $20 each month.

Another option for consumers includes three months of advice and the choice of one, two or three style boards for $250 to $350. When choosing two or three style boards, multiple designers will create boards for the consumer to choose from.

The third level includes style boards, custom 3-D renderings, a retail shopping list and three months of interior design advice based on the number of designs needed, for $400 to $540. 

Product fit

Katie Miller, co-founder of Roomations, who has a background in interior design, said Roomations has launched a completed web platform, which is the core product and received positive feedback and referrals from customers.

“We have had quite a few customers that have proven that the concept works,” Miller said. “We have had very satisfied customers, so we are happy we have tweaked it to the point that we know we have the right product. And we’ve actually had quite a number of repeat customers.”

Miller started Roomations with a pair of co-founders: Jessica Goldberg, who brings consumer marketing experience to the leadership team; and Lakshmi Bhargave, with a background and expertise in business and product development. 

Next steps

Miller said she has a lot of admiration for the staff and the founders of Start Garden, and the support from the fund is encouraging.

“We’re very excited about the investment for two reasons. One is obviously what we are able to do with the capital, which is we are testing out two different marketing programs,” Miller said. “And two, we’re excited about getting more involved with Start Garden.”

The funds from Start Garden will go toward two promotional campaigns based on referrals and blogger and online influencers, with a primary focus on growing sales.

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