Interior design is typically a service affordable only to the wealthy, but a new startup is looking to change that.Laurel and Wolf, which recently just raised $4.4 million in its Series A round of fundraising, aims to bring interior design into the digital age. The new company is a web-based platform that connects professional interior designers with clients, who — for a small, flat fee — can get their residential and/or commercial spaces custom designed. Designers compete to win a client, offering them concept designs for their spaces, and once chosen, the selected designer will continue to revise the plan until it’s been perfected.The startup is the brainchild of Leura Fine, a Los Angeles-based professional designer who has done designs for Elton John, and even designed the interior of a 40,000 square-foot castle in Italy. She saw how social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest were inspiring users to take on design and decorating projects themselves, and how e-commerce sites were already helping consumers acquire outstanding designs at affordable prices.
“We’ve noticed a steady increase in sales to businesses — including designers, sign makers, and corporate theme managers,” says Scott Tucket, Owner of Nautical Decor Store. “In the old days (12 years ago), we were predominately a B2C nautical retailer. Since 2010 more designers are shopping online, making more of our clients B2B. I attribute much of that to Pinterest pins and Instagram where designers can peruse much fresher content than is in their office catalogs.”
Though Laurel and Wolf has only been live since the end of spring 2014, the startup has already helped thousands of people connect with the company’s hundreds of design partners for custom, high-quality interior designs.”Interior design is drastically changing with the inspiration surrounding the DIY movement, Pinterest, HGTV and amazing content sources getting people excited about the possibility of what their spaces could look like,” Fine told USA Today. “Everything has moved into the future except the interior designers themselves.”Now that its first round of fundraising successfully over, Laurel and Wolf plan to use the money to expand the team, and create new features for both designers and users, including discounts, financing options, and even a mobile app.