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Havenly introduces IRL services for home decor

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A digital interior design startup that has been offering online services is bringing its interior design expertise to the real world. Havenly, a Denver, Colorado-based company founded in 2014, today launches “Havenly At Home” – an in-home offering that allows customers to work with their chosen interior designer in person.

Lee Mayer, co-founder and CEO of Havenly, said in a statement, “Our expansion responds to our customers’ requests over the years, adding personalized services to deliver an enhanced design experience for our customers and addressing a market typically overlooked by other models.”

TechCrunch spoke with Lee Mayer about the overall business, technology and the decision to explore home services.

According to Mayer, when Havenly began testing home services, the company saw significant demand, specifically with its Gen Z and millennial audience. This generation of newer homeowners and renters is typically starting to invest in their homes. Havenly’s services cater to the needs of younger consumers (20s-early 40s) who may not have the budget for luxury brands and expensive traditional interior designers that charge you around $2,000 to $12,000.

Meanwhile, Havenly is giving its customers early access pricing of $499 ($200 off) for the first room design and $199 for each additional room. This is a little more expensive than Havenly’s digital service ($79-$179), as the interior designers will meet the client face-to-face in their home.

Image credit: Havenly

The e-commerce platform is connected with hundreds of retailers so customers can make direct purchases on furniture and other products. It also has a network of proven interior designers who create custom visual designs based on the client’s unique style preferences.

Combining a communication platform, recommendation software and visualization software, customers are able to message designers one-on-one, buy products online and view photorealistic designs using Occipital – which creates 3D models of spaces and objects in real life world and then converts them into computer-aided design (CAD).

Digitally marrying Havenly’s new personal service will attract a wider audience who want extra personal attention and service. At launch, these personalized services are now available in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston and New York City, and the company plans to expand to anywhere from 20 to 30 cities nationwide over the next 12 months.

The biggest difference with Havenly’s in-home services is that the designer will visit your space IRL, take measurements and make sure everyone is on the same page before sending a virtual design through digital layouts and 3D renderings.

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Mayer told TechCrunch, “We’re trying to bring a more modern approach to interior design where you can take the benefits of online shopping, online communication, texting and messaging and still meet with your designer and walk them through your space… So take the traditional experience, power it with a lot of technology and our designers to hopefully deliver something that’s still accessible and affordable, but combines a more traditional, high-touch experience.”

This is a more streamlined process than the traditional model because it takes into account users’ busy schedules and doesn’t make them travel across town to a showroom. A curated shopping list resides on the Havenly platform and keeps track of your orders on one bill instead of across multiple retailers and websites. Once everything is delivered, the designer comes back to the home and helps with the interior design.

Image credit: Havenly

IRL or online, the process for a well-designed room begins the same way. After taking a style quiz, Havenly matches you with an interior designer. If you’re not too sure about the one the algorithm chose, you can look at a long list of other options. There are more than 200 screened professional designers, and each one is tested for style and technical ability.

But before you can even talk to the designer or get a consultation, you’ll be asked to pay the fee, which might seem like a gamble to some. Fortunately, you can view their profile information, which includes a photo, design samples, an in-depth bio, an introductory video, and customer reviews.

Although the digital experience is accessible, it has its drawbacks. Based on a few customer reviews alone, Havenly’s app was seen as unreliable in one customer’s opinion as the product images would not load on her device. Also, the interior designer she was working with did not respond in a timely manner and pushed back deadlines. Another verified buyer expressed frustration with the time-consuming process, but admitted they could have been clearer about what they wanted.

Revisions and refunds are possible, so if you really hate it, then the only thing you would really lose is time. In addition, the designer can work with you for up to a month, depending on how big the project is. After the design is accepted, they can answer any follow-up questions for 2-4 weeks.

It’s also important to note that the maximum room size for a Havenly design project is 400 square feet, so if you have a larger room and it’s a living/dining room, it will be considered two rooms. It is typical for clients to request interior design services for multiple rooms.

However, the majority of feedback was positive, and upon further inspection we found the app to be easy to use, basic in design, and has your cutting edge technology that many of these types of companies use (Decorilla, Modsy, etc.).