Interior decorating can be a pain in the ass. You normally have to go from store to store and showroom to showroom. Not to mention the fact that you’ve got to deal with a pushy sales person at each showroom and each store. It’s more of a pain than it’s worth. That’s why so many interior decorating and interior design projects get put on hold. Or worse, people spend thousands of dollars on something they don’t necessarily like, just to get the process over with.
That’s where Toronto, Ontario and New York based startup RemoteStylist comes in. With RemoteStylist you simply sign up for your own free profile and then you can coordinate your style for your interior project with one of RemoteStylists’ interior designers.
As you work with your stylist from RemoteStylist you’ll see your rooms come together right before your eyes. If something doesn’t look right on the screen you can simply send your stylist back to the drawing board and they’ll continue to work, change and revise until you have the room you’re looking for.
Once the painful part is over, you’ll be completely satisfied with what you selected. Then the second magic part happens. Everything you liked is purchased for less than retail prices and then delivered and installed in your home. Yes 99% of this entire process can happen at your desk, in bed or at the kitchen table. RemoteStylist founder Kelly Fallis and her team have made sure that the interior design process is simple, and easy and that in the end the customers are happy.
We got a chance to interview the folks at RemoteStylist check out the interview below:
What is RemoteStylist?
Remote Stylist (www.remotestylist.com) is truly shaking up the interior design world. We have all been there…stressed out and frustrated when it comes to redecorating. You can go from store to store or search “living room designs” in Google and get thousands of hits- where do you even start? That’s where Remote Stylist comes in. We are an online interior design platform that gives you design help you need, furnishings you want, and prices you’ll love- from where! Customers log onto www.remotestylist.com, create a profile and get matched up with one of our savvy in house designers- for free!! The designers get a feel for your space, your style, and the mood you want to create. They put together this fancy visual called a “Style File” which lays out all the items they believe to be the best fit for your room, house condo and budget. Once you pick the items you wish to purchase they are sent right from the manufacturer to your door, at a fraction of the retail price-unheard of before now. We give design help for free, lower than retail costs on items, and delivery right to your door. This eliminates a lot of the negative things associated with design, and makes the experience easy and fun. People have more important things to do than spend their valuable time stressing about how to furnish their space, we take care of this problem.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Kelly Fallis is the founder and CEO of Remote Stylist. She always knew she would be an entrepreneur and after working in Toronto’s famed business area of Bay Street she saw an opportunity for growth and her home-staging business was started. Through this experience, Kelly saw yet anther prospect- to harness the all-powerful Internet and her love for design. By recognizing the constraints of the design process and combining her love of travel and technology, Remote Stylist was born.
Where are you based?
There are offices in Toronto, Ontario and New York City. The best part about being an online business is we are able to work remotely wherever there is an Internet connection. This is important as Kelly spends most winters travelling the globe and summers on the dock at her Muskoka cottage.
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
As a small start-up everyone involved really wants to see Remote Stylist succeed. A good motto we live by is “work hard play hard.” We are a young, fresh group who come from a wide range of backgrounds. We are all creative, and passionate about the company we work for. This allows for a lot of team work, open brainstorming sessions and the ability to help each other through tasks and to reach goals. We are constantly open to new ideas and figure you have to take risks in order to succeed. Our culture and atmosphere really reflects the company as a whole and this can been seen on our Twitter, Facebook and Blogs giving people an insight as to who we are and that we are real people. It is not uncommon for us to meet after work for a social gathering or bring our dogs in to the office for a visit.
What problem does RemoteStylist solve?
The design industry is truly a backwards kind of place. We are offering a solution to three main areas:
We are giving the service of design help for free which is unheard of in the interior design world. Many people don’t know where to start or become overwhelmed at the mass amounts of options. The designers get to know you and really get a sense of what you are looking for. They help you through the process. Many times designers charge by the hour for their services, but with Remote Stylist this service is completely free.
We are allowing you to purchase items at a fraction of the price you would find at retailers. Many stores mark up products at astronomical rates. This isn’t fair and we want to be able to give you the option to purchase right from the manufacturer cutting down costs. We have relationships with many different vendors to give thousands of product options and our catalogue is always growing.
We ship right to your door! How many times have you had to schedule a moving truck or borrow a friends vehicle in order to get that awkward piece from the store to your door. Not anymore! We ship things right from the manufacturer to your doorstep. Everyone loves getting things delivered, and this takes out a HUGE portion of the stress. We even have a white glove service that will set-up the pieces and take away any packaging- transforming your room instantly into your dream space!
What’s your secret sauce?
Our team- the people working here is what makes Remote Stylist successful, rewarding and fun. Our designers are educated, knowledgable and creative. Our communications team are great networkers and social butterflies. Our product management team are analytical, problem solvers. We all love what we do- and that is the secret to success! We all believe in the company and want to see it succeed.
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
Obviously as a start-up funding is always a challenge. As our company is continuously growing, we are having to find new tools to use in order to bootstrap. It would be great to have a budget for an advertising campaign or a whole marketing plan but at this moment the funding isn’t there. Many of the people working for us are interns. We are working hard to gain funding, and once this happens we will be able to focus our resources on ways to make the company even more successful and rewarding to those involved.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Remote Stylist went through a pivot period of about 3 years and in that period rolled out 8 different pilot programs. Our customized software was tweaked and tuned until we got to where we are today. There were obviously still kinks that have been worked out on the way but we are very happy with how far we have come. Kelly totally rebranded the company and changed the values and goals to better reflect who we are and what we were doing.
What’s next for RemoteStylist?
As our team grows, our company does as well. We have organized a whole campaign calendar which includes some exciting upcoming events, media tours and pitches. Gaining more funding is the next step in the process, and Kelly is working towards this goal. We truly are paving the way when it comes to changing the design world and shaking it up along the way. It’s 2012 and this old fashioned way of looking at design is outdated and flat out ridiculous. It’s time to bridge the gap between technology and design, making it easier and more affordable to anyone, anywhere. Remote Stylist will become a household name and other design options will be a thing of the past.
Check out RemoteStylist here
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