Backed by a high profile board including former Tesco CEO, Sir Terry Leahy, the UK’s first online interior design house attracts crowdfund investors with its innovative approach to interior design
These funds will allow the business to expand its digital one-stop-shop for interior design services and designer homewares. To date, the company has already generated £10 million worth of sales, a turnover of £3.7m in FY14-15 and has more than 32,000 customers in 100 countries.
Formerly known as Occa-Home, the company’s innovative model – where interior design studio meets online store – offers a unique combination of advanced, design-it-yourself technology with homewares, giving time-poor consumers the ability to create bespoke designs for their homes without the need to hire a professional interior designer.
Complemented by the UK’s largest range of designer furniture and homeware brands online, the website also attracts trade customers who, thanks to Houseology.com’s buying and fulfilment capabilities, can easily source an extensive range of designer products and have them despatched in a single delivery from one reliable supplier.
The business is the brainchild of interior designer and founder, Kate Mooney, who set up Occa-Home in 2010 when she spotted a gap in the market for a tech-driven interior design service that could simplify the home design process.
The company is backed by a board of retail stalwarts including Sir Terry Leahy (former CEO, Tesco), Bill Dobbie (Founder, Iomart), Jill Little (former Merchandising & Strategy Director John Lewis), Bob Willett (former CIO, Best Buy), The William Currie Group, with Mike Welch, founder of online tyre-fitting company Blackcircles, joining the Board as a Non-Exec in January.
Crowdfund investors can look forward to an equity share of 11.17% and a range of discounts on purchases. Over the past three years, Houseology.com has delivered a CARG of 91%.
The new capital raised will contribute to delivering the brand’s growth strategy including broadening its offering of proprietary digital technology and design tools, expanding the company’s B2B proposition and driving international growth. Key export markets currently include the United States, Australia and mainland Europe.
Sir Terry Leahy comments: “With the interiors sector dominated by mid to low-end players, there is significant room in the higher end of the market for a challenger brand like Houseology.com to grow,” Our vision is to transform the homewares market in the same way Net-a-Porter or ASOS did for fashion, and with Kate’s expertise and our Board’s considerable business experience, we’re confident the business will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Kate Mooney, Founder and CEO Houseology.com adds: “We’re offering a unique model of value online by combining three key elements of the interior design industry on our platform – designer brands, independent interior designers and retail consumers – all within one convenient and customised buying experience. While to date, retail customers have comprised 75% of sales, we see a huge opportunity among small trade customers including independent interior designers and architects who can benefit from access to exclusive product lines and buying leverage that would normally be beyond their reach.”
The UK homewares sector is worth £11.7 billion and expected to continue growing driven by the economic recovery and housing market. Analysts predict online sales will constitute the lion’s share of this growth.
 Verdict 2015