The same way Canva democratises graphic design and Biteable democratises video animation, a new startup roomfood is set out to democratise interior design. Traditionally, keeping up with the latest trends and mixing colour schemes with the right furniture has been within the scope of an interior designer. Now with Shane Bradbury’s virtual design suite, roomfood, everyday consumers can customise, decorate and furnish their homes – all on a computer.
The online design suite gives users access to fabrics, furniture, lightings, art pieces, bedding, trimmings, tiles, paints and finishes that have previously been inaccessible to those outside the interior design industry.
On roomfood’s digital mood board, users can compare and contrast colours, shape and texture to create their perfect room design. They can also customise furniture items by selecting from a range of fabrics, timber finishes, decorative trims, and more. Users can then order the items included in that design, whether ready-made or customised.
“The philosophy behind roomfood is, that for those who want it, design should be unlimited, unrestricted, and uninfluenced,” says Bradbury.
“What this means is that anyone, regardless of their design experience and without the help of an interior designer, will now be able to create an environment that he or she really loves.”
Bradbury has spent the last two years developing his profile in the design industry by working as a consultant for Karanda Interiors. It was during his time in consultancy that he recognised a lack of diversity available to the end-user, and an opportunity to disrupt the interior design industry.
“Interior designers have a much broader range of options when it comes to customising furniture for their clients,” says Bradbury.
“Currently, the general public has very limited access to furnishing and decoration – only what is in shops … So in order to access these customisable furnishings, fabrics, wallpapers and the like, you would need to pay an interior designer to put this together for you.
“Roomfood gives free and public access to these options without the need for large spending on interior design fees and without a sometimes unwelcome influence of an interior designer.”
The startup was launched on May 19th, and has already generated some traction from creative minds who want the autonomy to decorate their own homes.
At the moment, roomfood is targeting a broad audience – essentially, anyone who wants to customise their homes without the need for a middleperson. Bradbury explains that his target market includes those who live in remote locations and do not have convenient access to interior designers or furnishings, as well as interior design professionals and students.
“[O]ur unique ability to provide physical samples of all of the thousands of fabrics and finishes adds convenience and certainty that they will need for their professional work or study,” he adds.
Bradbury stresses that his lack of industry exposure does not influence the reliability of the site.
“Along with the wealth of experience from our own fantastic team, we have the experience of all the suppliers and manufacturers on the site who provide the best furnishings and designs currently on the market,” he says.
“Taking this into account, roomfood has hundreds of years experience in the design industry – all of which you can access without leaving your home.”
The startup has been bootstrapped to date; and Bradbury says he is open to the prospect of raising funds in the future, though it’s not a priority.
But how exactly does roomfood make money? The startup retails the custom furniture which has been designed by the user. All elements used or designed within a user’s design are for sale directly through roomfood, at competitive pricing. As such, roomfood is not only a design platform, but an online furniture retailer – competing with the likes of Milan Direct, Zanui and Furniture Online.
The biggest challenge, Bradbury admits, has been creating a user interface which incorporates all of the relevant technical relationships, while keeping things easy and understandable for the user.
Though there are plenty of refinements in the pipeline, Bradbury is proud that he’s been able to establish a product-market fit.
“The community that has already built around roomfood purely in support roomfood’s concept. The demand for this platform has really been overwhelming,” he says.
This year, Bradbury plans on growing the customer base, and using customer feedback to further refine the product.
More information is available via roomfood.com.au.