In recent years, a slew of online interior design startups have emerged. These services run the gamut from inexpensive virtual room curations to more complete home renovation consultations costing upwards of thousands of dollars. It’s easy to understand the appeal. Using the digital services of an experienced design professional is less expensive and more convenient than more traditional ways. It has also opened up the market to people who would otherwise just decorate themselves. However, there has been a gap for consumers looking to do a quick refresh or want a designers eye for smaller scale projects. Now, the recently launched Spruce Up is looking to take on this niche in an entirely new way.
Ending The Endless Scroll
Furnishing a room or even accessorizing one is rarely a simple process. Take a living room for example. At the very minimum, there are three to four items that need to fit and coordinate into a space. Finding good help at any brick and mortar store is challenging. Online shopping can be equally frustrating in a different way entirely. It’s easy to spend a seemingly endless amount of time looking at what’s available and the end result is often decision fatigue.
This is exactly what happened to CEO and Founder of Spruce Up Mia Lewin. She sees Spruce Up as the perfect solution for millennials who like to shop online, but don’t want to spend unnecessary time doing it. “What we need is help sorting through all our favorite brands and styles to choose the right pieces and make them our own. Spruce Up provides the perfect pairing of a high-touch, specialty boutique service and selection, within a modern digital shopping experience, personalized to each customer and their home,” she explained.
How It Works
The process of using Spruce Up is equally efficient and thorough. It starts with a style quiz where shoppers click through various pieces of furniture, decor and color swatches with an easy thumbs up or down. Results are grouped into percentages of categories such as 53% Contemporary Glamourist and 36% Vintage Industrialist.
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Then customers are matched with an expert stylist. Spruce Up has pretty high standards for their designers, all of whom already have established businesses with five to over twenty years of experience. After filling out a form to share the specifics of the project, stylists are accessible via chat. Text, photos, and links can all be sent within the interface.
The next step is what sets Spruce Up apart from their competition. It is the first of its kind to combine artificial intelligence with stylist curation. The designer uses AI behind the scenes to choose from the 20k+ products available. They streamline everything down to a personalized mini-boutique of up to twelve items. It is presented as an aesthetically pleasing mood board which includes their notes as well as full details from the retailer. Users can check out from there or if they are unsure, request to swap out up to four items.
Spruce Up has over fifty retail partners that range from well-known favorites including West Elm, Blu Dot, AllModern, Article and Interior Define to Loloi Rugs, as well as Lulu and Georgia. They also have more obscure brands such as FinnPeaks, Magisso and Ara Collective. Spruce Up says this all adds up to one trillion potential product variations for the algorithm to comb through.
The Price Is Right
But perhaps the best part of Spruce Up that it’s essentially free. Before being matched, shoppers pay a one-time $25 styling fee, which is credited toward any item purchased within fourteen days. This makes the service incredibly appealing to those who want to use a designer but think it’s out of their reach. Spruce Up will also bring in customers who would have never considered using a designer because of the cost.
It is also likely to attract shoppers who want something very specific and realize the value of having a professional do the legwork without the cost. For example, curating a gallery wall or finding a designer dupe. Spruce Up is also useful for people who need something coordinate with a piece they already own—like a coffee table to compliment an oversized 1970’s mid-century modern vintage sofa in a studio apartment.
Behind The Scenes
While Spruce Up appears to have come out of nowhere—the company’s founders and leadership have experience working with major retailers including Amazon, eBay, West Elm, Williams Sonoma, and Anthropologie. The Advisory Board members include Julie Bornstein, who was previously the COO of StitchFix, and Hilary Billings, who is a prior Board Member of Design Within Reach. In February 2018, the Seattle-based company secured $1.5M in pre-seed funding from a variety of investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Female Founders Fund, Maveron, and Peterson Ventures.