Philly Interior Designers Ready for “Shark Tank Bump”
Hiring an interior decorator seems like something only available to the extremely wealthy. If you have a mansion or killer apartment, you can probably afford to have a professional pick out your sofas, coffee tables, pillows and lamps.
If you’re like the rest of us, you’re stuck doing the best you can to make things match. In fact, I saw this trend first hand. My parents used to own a retail drapery, window treatment and wallpaper store from the 1980s to early 2000s and worked frequently with designers. (If you remember Dana Interiors on Old York Road in Jenkintown, you’re instantly in my cool list.)
But two-year-old ZOOM Interiors offers a new approach: Design your living room, dining room or bedroom online and have designers pick out the sizes and styles. You send in photos, measurements and answer a few style-preference questions — they send you conceptual photos and a shopping list with links.
The South Philly-based startup caught the eye of the Shark Tank producers and the company’s three 24-year-old co-founders — Madeline Fraser, Elizabeth Grover, and Beatrice Fischel-Bock — will be featured on Friday night’s episode. (The segment was filmed 11 months ago.)
They wouldn’t reveal if they got a deal from the likes of Marc Cuban or Lori Greiner, but they did say they’re prepared for the “Shark Tank bump.” They recently spoke to fellow Philly Shark Tank alum Christopher Gray of Scholly and says that on the night his episode aired, he got approximately 8,000 hits per second on his website and a few thousand emails. (Is there any better way for a startup to get instant, national exposure. If so, I don’t know it.)
“Friday will be a sleepless night, but we’ll be ready,” said Fraser.
The service costs $199 for a ZOOMBoard (the conceptual photo showing your newly designed space) and another $99 for the ZOOMCart (your shopping list). Customers buy the items themselves and get them shipped directly.
Their target customer base is millennials. But do they millennials really have $300 to plunk down on design before even buying any items? The ZOOM team counters by saying the service is designed to save them money in the long run, especially since it utilizes low-cost vendors like Ikea and Target, and saves people the time and effort of running from store to store.
“It’s an upfront cost that you’ll get back in the end with your time and money,” said Fischel-Bock. “We strategically plan out what to buy with the budget you have and we help you strategically use that budget the right way. We’re not up-selling and we’re connected to any particular vendors.”
Grover puts it this way: “We think of ourselves as for millennials, by millennials.”
We’ll see if the sharks buy into it on Friday.