Homepolish: rethinking interior design

- Interior design has long been a service for the 1 percent, but a New York City-based startup is making it accessible to everyone.

In 2012, Will Nathan and Noa Santos decided it was time that design became more affordable and less obnoxious. They each pitched in $400 of their own money and threw in some of Santos' clients from working in interior design, and Homepolish was born.

Santos says that design talent without ego is really important to Homepolish. He believes that interior design used to be so expensive because it was been primarily based on commission. Designers would charge a design fee, sometimes upfront, and then on top of that, they'd charge a percentage of every piece of furniture or decor their customers bought.

Santos realized there was no reason design couldn't be less expensive and available to a larger demographic.

A business and architecture grad from Stanford, Santos, joined forces with Will Nathan, a former banker and BuzzFeed coder, to create a new way of doing design. With Homepolish, they changed the model, going to a flat hourly rate so there is no incentive for their designers to go over budget.

By eliminating commissions and decor charges, Homepolish eliminated the incentive for designers to walk into your home and tell you to throw everything out and start over.

Homepolish clients start with a free hour-long consultation. From there, they can hire designers for $130 an hour, and get discounts on the things they buy. There's even a product-ordering concierge to help with shopping.

Santos says they wanted the process to be as seamless as possible. They're aware that design is a big step for a lot of people and they want it to be fun.

Homepolish has designed over 1,000 offices, including spaces for the Man Repeller, Into the Gloss and the Stone Fox Bride showroom. Designers have even added some fun design to the Homepolish offices, which have pre-fab greenhouses instead of conference rooms.

Homepolish has reworked 10,000 homes, like Lo Bosworth's apartment and the Sweetgreen founders' downtown home. And business is taking off. 27-year-old Santos was just named to the Forbes 30 Under 30. Homepolish just picked up $20 million in outside funding, bringing the company value to $100 million. And the company is still growing, attracting over 735,000 Instagram followers and working with 450 designers in more than 15 cities across the country.

Santos says every single one of the company's clients across the country needs something different, and that white glove custom offering is what Homepolish is all about.

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