Featured Startup Pitch: Decorist wants to make interior design more affordable and personalized for the masses

By Editor September 8, 2014

Gretchen Hansen, DecoristBy Gretchen Hansen, Decorist co-founder and CEO


Decorist is an interior design platform—consisting of an expert team of brand managers, consumer software solutions, and online fashion retail—that connects users to affordable and personalized design solutions.


Decorist is the first interior design service to combine the convenience and scope of the Internet with the personalized attention that comes only from dedicated human partnership. We’re about making interior design personal, affordable, and easy; this trifecta guides everything we do, starting with our proprietary design profile where we get to know each customer’s unique style.


I’ve spent my career developing, launching and managing products for the mass consumer market. I have worked at large consumer products companies like Clorox and Del Monte, and I have also played a key role in a number of small companies and startups. My passion (in addition to interior design!) is understanding consumers and creating products that meet their needs. Startups let you do that in a hyper-charged way—I love the challenge and energy of creating something new.

At Decorist we are a design-loving, all-female team that features the former head of product development at Eventbrite, two Harvard MBAs and one Stanford MBA.


Our focus is on building awareness and trial. We are proud of the fact that very early on, we had repeat customers who were thrilled with our design services. Our goal is to help our customers create a house that they love, and our belief is that design is an ongoing process and we want to be a part of every step. In order to have this life-long relationship, however, we need to deliver on our FIRST interaction—and so far we’ve been doing that.


Most people in the U.S. have to be their own interior designers because they can’t afford an interior designer or are skeptical of the process. We think there are millions of people in the country who want design help that is in their style and budget and we are here to solve that problem!

We spent a lot of time talking to our target audience before we launched to figure out exactly what they need, and we continue to listen closely to what our customers have to say about their Decorist experience. We proactively ask for feedback, and are always fine-tuning our process to ensure that it works for both our designers and our customer. We realized that people love designing their own homes, but often just desire a little bit of help. Whether it was advice on pulling a room together, assistance with finding that perfect product, adding finishing touches, or just getting fresh ideas. Most existing companies are either full-service or nothing, and with Decorist we aimed to fill that gap.

Our price point is also key to our relevance. We know that our target wants affordable help and we continue to ensure that our pricing reflects that.


Personalization is at the root of Decorist, and is what sets us apart from competing sites, both ecommerce and interior design help. The entire Decorist experience starts with our proprietary, interactive design profile. Visitors essentially build a room, choosing key furniture elements. It’s how we get to know each person’s unique style, so that we can in turn customize their Decorist experience.

More specifically, we serve up style-based home decor and furniture finds; so if you like modern you aren’t going to see the same things as someone with more traditional taste. The idea is to make it easier for people to discover and shop finds in their style, which is important in this world of overwhelming access to products. No ecommerce site customizes the shopping experience in this way.

We provide design help that is individualized AND affordable through our $199 Decorist Makeover. Customers upload pictures of their space, provide a few details, and then our designers are off creating two custom design solutions with clickable shopping lists, delivered right to the customer’s inbox. What distinguishes our approach to help is that we’re really focused on our customers’ style and vision—and bringing that to life—versus imposing our own. When we hire designers, we evaluate them for their ability to be consumer-centric and really understand what customers are asking for. It’s not something everyone can do well. You can also ask a design question free-of-charge.


We earn revenues from our paid design services.


We are always looking for energetic, motivated people to join our team!

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Decorist logoHEADQUARTERS: San Francisco

WEBSITE: www.decorist.com

FOUNDERS: Gretchen Hansen, Julie Thompson

INVESTORS: Bootstrapped


TWITTER: @decorist