A tête-à-tête with StyleRow Founder & CEO Erinn Valencich

Where did the idea for StyleRow come from?

StyleRow was born out of my 15+ years of experience as an interior designer, a luxury furnishings brand and a showroom owner. The digital IQ of the luxury decor industry is far behind the times. Designers want more business, but valuable time is wasted on backend tasks. Being tech-forward for years, and as an early adopter I know how hard that was to put my brand up on other platforms, learn new systems in my office and attempt to streamline my business through software. I set out to create an intuitive platform for designers to streamline their workflows, bringing smart technology to our late-to-the-game industry, think of it part Digital Design Office and part Digital Design Center.

Share with us some of the problems facing designers today that StyleRow will serve to remedy.

The industry is running on dinosaur technology, draining designers’ time and resources. Designers end up spending about 80% sourcing, administrative, order processing, scheduling and logistics and only 20% on designing. Luxury furnishings brands sell to designers and architects via fax and archaic methods. Sharing products digitally with clients and design teams is difficult and not efficient; there are no turn key presentation templates that cater to the needs of high end designers and their large-scale projects. Purchasing is overly time consuming and brands/products get lost on designers’ shelves filled with endless binders. There’s no E-Commerce solution for high-end sourcing, and nothing for custom.

How does StyleRow serve to solve these problems?

My goal was to make technology easy and accessible for the luxury design market and help navigate those waters for designers and architects. StyleRow is designed to follow the entire design process—staring with the budget and scope of work, through sourcing and sharing product with clients, communicating with them and design teams, to invoicing and ordering that product, tracking those orders and organizing logistics, all in an easy-to-navigate digital platform. Our innovative functionality allows designers to search by location, category, brand or both, and curate their own digital collection library, filled with their favorite products, which is easily sharable. 

How much product detail can designers expect to see?

One of the pain points we hear is designers are frustrated by the lack of information available online and source predominantly from the brands that make it easiest. StyleRow helps remedy this by providing a detailed walkthrough of key product features, multiple views of the product, lead time, local availability, customization options, dimensions and pricing, which can be shared in full or in part with clients.

Share with us a bit more on the communication functionality of the platform.

StyleRow makes the design process seamless. Designers are provided the tools needed to present products to their clients in an elegant fashion via our marketplace and digital presentation tools, streamline their projects with an intuitive workflow and collaborate with their teams, all in one place. This is unique to StyleRow.

How does StyleRow align with showrooms and reps?

StyleRow is designed to strengthen the relationship and communication between the brand and showroom representatives, and the designer. Geo-targeted to showrooms and brand representatives, StyleRow defines custom territory maps per brand to ensure designer sales are funneled to the right showroom or brand representative. Tracking quotes and maintaining communications is all done in  one centralized place.

How will StyleRow change how designers do business?

Bringing high-end brands and showrooms together in one, easy-to-navigate, beautifully designed digital hub, StyleRow makes sourcing and purchasing products, managing projects, and collaborating with teams and clients simple and streamlined. It’s the ultimate convenience, completely redefining the designer work flow experience by turning a time consuming, less than ideal process into a streamlined, efficient and enjoyable one. What uber did for transportation, StyleRow will do for design.

How does StyleRow speak to the next generation of designers?

Millennials are sourcing online first, and by 2025 will be 75% of our workforce. 

Tell us about the StyleRow marketplace…

Our solution calls for a more efficient way to source product; thus, we created a Digital Design Center, the go-to resource for product sourcing. On each brand page, designers will find a brand narrative, new lines/products, brand/showroom representative information and ability to shop the entire collection. The brand’s Instagram feed will also live real-time on this page. The marketplace streamlines purchasing, automates mundane tasks and provides education on luxury furnishings.

What other benefits will brands find on StyleRow?

Doing business strictly through design centers is limiting. Even after you get accepted into a top showroom, there is the high cost of consignment, paper sales tools and physical samples needed. And, after all that expense and effort, brick and mortar traffic is down. The internet has forced change; designers are demanding a new way to work.This is where StyleRow comes in. We are open 24/7; brands will be able to be in front of designers when and where they are sourcing.

What else will be found on the site?

StyleRow features editorial-style brand and product profiles, showroom tours and storytelling-videos. 

How much does it cost?

There’s no cost to designers to join. StyleRow earns a 5% commission from brands on all sales where there is an existing showroom in the market or 15% when there is no showroom in the market.

How many designers do you estimate will utilize StyleRow?

For starters, we are inviting our existing email database of 7,500 high-end interior designers and architects to join.

What does the future of the global luxury furniture market look like?

A recent report by Allied Market Research shows it’s projected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 4.1 percent for the next five years, reaching $27.01 billion by 2020.