The Bed Bath & Beyond–owned e-design platform Decorist abruptly announced its closure today. In a note on its website, the company told customers they would no longer be accepting new orders or bookings and would be winding down existing projects by October 12.
Customers who had booked services but not begun design projects were promised a refund within six to eight weeks. “At that time, the chat feature will be disabled and you will not be able to further communicate with your designer on the Decorist platform,” reads the note to customers. The company did, however, encourage customers to reach out to designers directly if interested in continuing to work together.
Founded in 2014, Decorist originally split its services into three tiers of design professionals: Classic (one or two years of experience), Elite (five-plus years of experience) and Celebrity (designers with substantial editorial coverage, like Celerie Kemble). The company had already discontinued the Celebrity tier, instead offering video consultations; mini room designs focusing on quick refreshes like changes to paint colors, rugs or art; or more thorough full room designs with Elite or Classic designers.
The platform was acquired by Bed Bath & Beyond in July 2017 and, like many other e-design services, had seen a bump in profits during the early phases of the pandemic. In April 2020, Gretchen Hansen, the founder and former CEO of Decorist, told BOH that the site had seen unprecedented gains across the board, from a 30 percent boost in traffic to a 45 percent increase in sign-ups and more than a 30 percent increase in spending. (Hansen left the company the following month.)
Parent company Bed Bath & Beyond has been struggling to put fears of bankruptcy to rest in recent months, with BOH’s Retail Watch columnist Warren Shoulberg reporting in August that last quarter, the company burned through about $325 million to cover losses.
Decorist’s demise fits a larger industry pattern: The recent struggles of e-design platforms to monetize design services. Riding a wave of hype and the influx of venture capital money in the 2010s, companies like Modsy, Havenly, Laurel & Wolf and Decorist emerged as would-be disrupters of an old-school business. The past four years have seen many of them go out of business, either in dramatic implosions or sudden blackouts. In June, Modsy, one of e-design’s biggest names, unexpectedly shuttered, seemingly overnight.
After today’s news, only Havenly, Decorilla and a handful of small-to-midsize players remain. Though Decorist’s demise is likely tied up in the specific struggles of its corporate parent, its downfall marks the end for another of the era’s e-design disrupters.
This is a developing story. Check back for additional reporting.
Homepage image: A room designed through Decorist | Courtesy of Decorist