Talking design: Hugo Chadd, Homewings

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• Who had the idea for Homewings and when did the company launch?
"Cornelia de Ruiter, our CEO and co-founder is an interior designer with an interesting background. She used to help friends to design their homes as a side project while still working as a strategy consultant and eventually saw the opportunity to turn it into her full-time mission - to make expert design advice accessible for everyone by bringing the service online. By prioritising the way we use data and using technology to streamline how designers and clients interact, although a cliché in the tech world, we are able to disrupt a traditional industry. The company launched officially in June 2016 with a small team and around 15 interior designers - we now have offices in London, Barcelona and Copenhagen, and over 200+ designers so its been a crazy ride so far!"
• Describe the Homewings service and product offering
"Homewings offers professional interior design and furnishing services, all online. As a tech focussed business, we have built the tools and platform that allow our clients to work with a professional designer but without the hefty price tag from just £99 per room. We offer a bespoke design service where clients are matched to the right designer based on their needs/style/profile, and then they collaborate together through our platform -  from mood boards to floor plan layouts to furniture recommendations and visualisations. We use tech where possible to streamline communication and to make the design visual at all times and clients love this."
"We have just launched our Furniture Package Service which we are really excited about, especially for our B2B clients - short let operators, developers and investors.  This enables clients to define a style, budget and product set, while still maintaining a unique look that attracts their target market. We also saw the need for assembly and installation which is a huge part of why clients buy."
• What's different, and how is Homewings disrupting interior design for apartments?
"Our entire approach is different from what we have seen in the market. It starts with really understanding the client and their needs - the type of tenant or guest they want, the brand they are building and the per night rate they want to charge. We then leverage the style data we have from the thousands of clients we have helped to date - this gives us the ability to make data driven furnishing recommendations. Lastly, we have a fantastic supply chain we can utilise - we don't own a warehouse or hold tonnes of stock which in turn means we can be flexible for our client no matter the budget or style."
• What challenges and successes has Homewings experienced since launch?
"Our biggest challenge to date has been educating the market that a service like this exists and can add real value. Traditionally, Interior design has been for the elite and very expensive but, in trying to make it more attainable, we must educate consumers and property professionals that just because its online, doesn't mean we lack the creative and personal touch. Its an entirely new way to shop for your furniture. Our biggest success to date has been successfully delivering over 2,000 client projects in 2017 - something we are really proud of and the team, including all our amazing designers, worked so hard to make sure every client gets the home they deserve."
• How can Homewings' help apartment providers and what are the benefits?
"We are really excited to now be helping apartment providers with our new Furniture Package Solution. We launched it at the start of the year having had such strong interest from the sector in our regular design service - especially Airbnb professionals. Our furniture packs are built on the huge amount of data we have on what furnishings consumers actually want so landlords can now get the right furniture recommendations that attract their target audience. We also focus on the client brand and their mission - we want to be seen as a partner who can provide ongoing furniture and interior advice long term without the hefty price tag."
"We build the packs from core furniture essentials with the option of adding additional 'comfort' pieces, and then some fun décor (prints, cushions etc) on top so its differentiated. Everything is fitted to the floor plan so you can shop the package with confidence. We can also work on much larger apartment blocks - typically to a concept but individually designed. We now deliver and install everything too which is a huge part of the value for apartment providers."
• Homewings has recently published its first interiors trend report 2018 - what were the key findings?
"The trend report has been a revelation! We took style results from 15,000 clients and overlaid them with the shopping data from 2,000 projects with some interesting results. For us, it demonstrates what the trends actually are vs what magazines and showrooms suggest. The key finding was the different style profiles per region of the UK and within London - for example, the Scottish prefer a Scandi Cosiness and the Welsh liked a Mid-Century Modern feel. The report also shows the colour and texture trends and nothing beat midnight blue velvet. Please do download it, its a great read and very helpful when thinking about furnishing and decorating for your target audience."
• What's next for Homewings and the company's outlook for the future?
"For us its about making our clients really happy, and in turn improve our services in order to grow. This year is about helping property professionals grow their business through thoughtful design and furnishing solutions, and to become a trusted advisor and partner. Its going to be very busy but we are growing the team and are up for the challenge!"

Click here to download your copy of the 2018 Homewings Interiors Report.


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