Featured Startup Pitch: Viyet is a consignment service born out of frustration with high-end furniture resale options

By Editor November 13, 2013
Viyet logo

Elizabeth Wilson, ViyetBy Elizabeth Wilson, Viyet CEO

Elevator Pitch: Viyet is the design aficionado’s destination to buy and sell timeless furniture and accessories.

Product/Service Description

For high-end furniture owners, Viyet offers a full-service selling solution that is discreet, lucrative, and hassle-free. Consignors can choose from two services: White Glove or Premiere. Both begin with an in-home consultation, during which each piece is carefully examined and photographed. With White Glove service, consignors’ pieces are moved to our secure storage facility. Consignors choosing Premiere service keep the pieces in their home for the length of sale.

For buyers, Viyet is an online resource to find designer items that would normally only be available for purchase through a design professional at several times the cost. Often these pieces can take up to 12-to-14 weeks for delivery as compared to less than two weeks for items purchased from Viyet.

We choose to feature only those items that we believe have the strongest brand recognition and resale potential. Since launch, this has included finds from such distinguished lines as B&B Italia, Cassina, Christian Liaigre, Hickory Chair, Holly Hunt, Ligne Roset, and Mies van der Rohe, among many others. The average resale price of items on our website is $1,800, marked down from an average retail price of $4,600.

We are currently accepting inventory from New York and the surrounding areas, but selling nationally and in some cases internationally (we recently sold two Campana Brothers chairs to a buyer in Brazil). Once we have established a strong foothold in New York, we plan to begin sourcing inventory from other major metropolitan areas.

Founders’ Story

After inheriting several designer pieces of furniture from my parents that would not fit into my tiny Manhattan apartment, I realized that there was a significant hole in the market for designer pre-owned furniture. As someone who consigns clothes on a seasonal basis, I was shocked to learn there were very few options for selling my furniture.

Given this lack of alternatives, I resorted to Craiglist, which required incessant back-and-forth with potential buyers and introduced the nerve-inducing prospect of a stranger entering my home. Fed up with my experience, I jotted down a simple business plan and solicited feedback from friends, all of whom also saw the potential in the idea.

At the same time, Rachel Rodin and Louise Youngson-Klasfeld identified the same market opportunity and launched Viyet.com in April, 2013. We joined forces rather serendipitously when a friend learned we were both pursuing the same business model and connected us. Together, we are able to synthesize Rachel and Louise’s distinct aesthetic and strong connections within the design world, along with my early stage ecommerce experience from previous roles at two venture-backed startups, Poppin and Lot18.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

At Viyet, we are focused on positioning ourselves as the insider’s marketplace for designer furniture. We are aggressively pursuing an inbound marketing strategy by partnering with leaders in the design industry to offer styling tips, inspiration boards and tutorials through social media as well as our upcoming blog. Such features have included our recent ‘Revive 101,’ which demonstrates how great finds can be restored to their original glory with just a few touch ups. This serves the dual purpose of bolstering our reputation as a design authority and delivering value for our trade partners looking to connect with followers.

Market Opportunity

Each year Americans spend a staggering $147 billion on home furnishings. This figure is anticipated to grow even larger at a 3-to-4 percent compound annual growth rate between 2011 and 2015 as the economy continues to improve.

Viyet is primed to address one of the most attractive segments of this market—luxury furniture and accessories—which represented over $35 billion in spending last year. The ability for consumers to monetize furniture that they already own by selling through Viyet will further enhance the appeal of this market segment by incentivizing consumers to buy more often, thereby shortening purchase cycles.

Moreover, consumers are rapidly shifting away from traditional brick-and-mortar furniture stores to online resources, as evidenced by the 28 percent surge in online luxury furniture sales in the U.S. last year. Viyet is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growth by providing access to designer brands online that would otherwise only be available for purchase through a trade professional or physical showrooms.

How We Differ From Competitors

For sellers:

-Completely secure: Viyet handles all interactions with the buyer and arranges for pickup and delivery by our expert white glove moving partners.

-Full service: We take care of every detail from photography to pricing to moving and delivery.

-Qualified audience: Ability to market to a strong base of like-minded consumers.

For buyers:

-Highly edited: Every piece on our site has been rigorously screened for quality, relevancy and overall aesthetic.

-Access: Ability to purchase items directly through our site that would otherwise only be available through design professionals or retail showrooms.

-Instant gratification: Receive designer pieces immediately instead of waiting up to six months for delivery from a manufacturer.

-Inspiration resource: Reference original content from tastemakers in the design world.

Business Model

Viyet follows a traditional consignment model. We do not take ownership of inventory, but instead market these pieces on behalf of owners in exchange for a percentage of the resale price once they are sold. All items are sold exclusively through our website.

Current Needs

We are currently self-funded, but always on the hunt for great talent to join our expanding team.

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Viyet logo

Website: www.viyet.com

Founders: Rachel Rodin, Louise Youngson-Klasfeld

Headquarters: New York

Investors: Bootstrapped

Year Founded: 2012

Employees: 6

Twitter: @ViyetNY

Facebook: facebook.com/ViyetNY

Instagram: instagram.com/ViyetNY

CrunchBase: crunchbase.com/company/viyet