Online interior design service Havenly heads to Chicago

by Sam Dewey
July 2, 2015

The sisters behind Havenly, an online interior design service to help you design and shop for your space virtually, have a keen eye for design.

But when the duo put their sights on finding a solution to the lack of online interior design opportunities, their vision got even, well, keener.

Meet co-founders Emily Motayed and Lee Mayer, who have turned the company into a thriving, tech-enabled, and business-savvy service that’s now available nationwide.

“The design industry is wonderful, but it was in need for some innovation,” said Motayed. “Every other vertical and every other industry has been able to take advantage of the amazing tech that’s now available, so that’s the approach we took as well. We are a very tech-heavy and data-driven company, which I think differentiates us from a lot of other folks out there.”

The company raised over $1.5 million in seed capital during its first round of fund raising and has an annual run rate of $2 million. They're on track to make $3 million in revenue by the end of the year. 

How it works

For a flat fee of $185, you can sign up on Havenly’s website by filling out a quick, five-question survey. Based on your initial style preferences, you’ll be matched with one of Havenly’s trained designers, who will then have you complete a quick consultation—either over the phone or through a questionnaire—so that the designer can get more information about your space and preferences.

Afterwards, you’ll be presented with two distinct concept folders. There, you can leave feedback for the designer, “like” specific products, and rate the overall design. Then the designer will take in your feedback and create a full-room rendering of the freshly designed space.

Once you’ve received the final design, realizing the concept is as easy as clicking through Havenly’s recommendations and ordering all of the products you like, directly through their website.

They’ve already designed for thousands of clients, and that number continues to skyrocket.

“The next time a 28-year-old moves into an apartment and is thinking of going to IKEA, they should know there are better options out there,” Motayed said.Chicago: in need of a redesign?

The company, which launched to the public about a year ago, has a strategic interest in Chicago—and not just because of the incredible summers the Windy City enjoys.

“Chicago has been super amazing for us simply because of the demographics of folks that live there,” said Motayed. “They’re tech savvy, younger, but also see a good cost of living. People are settling down and buying bigger spaces at younger age, so they’re interested in these types of products.”

Motayed said they’re growing a hub in Chicago, not just because the team’s head of design is based out of the city, but also because of the pool of talent flowing out of great art and design schools like Columbia and Harrington.

The female-run company already has between 15-20 employees, and Motayed said they’re growing—fast.

“We’re really into targeting folks in the secondary labor market,” Motayed said. “We’re looking for people who have jobs during the day, but also have design experience and are looking for a bit of extra work. We’re hiring designers and design operations people at an astonishing rate.”

Havenly plans on launching a series of events in the city this summer to increase brand awareness and network with potential business partners. 

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