The original idea for nousDECOR stemmed from the frustration that Heather Gillette, a founding employee at YouTube, experienced when trying to find a chandelier to match an antique fixture she was given as a gift. Gillette envisioned a place online where furnishings from anywhere were easily searchable by specifics such as size, color, price and category. She felt that such a place would not only help people find special pieces, but provide a community that could help solve decor dilemmas as well.
By the time Gillette finally discovered the chandeliers she was searching for within her price range on eBay Germany, she recognized that hunting for singular pieces such as hers must be an issue many encountered. That’s when she decided to build nousDECOR. Today, the French gilded chandelier she purchased hangs in her home right beside an old western saddle, a reflection of eclectic high and low styling that contributed to the philosophy of the site she created.
Users can search for an item they are trying to source by uploading a picture of it, or by putting in the specs, and the site will generate different options at different price points from various retailers including CB2, One Kings Lane, Etsy, eBay and Touch of Modern.
Site users also have the option to create their own “mood boards” with pieces they find to create a full room, and they can get feedback from the design community by choosing “Get Help” for recommendations.
For this aspect of the site, Gillette teamed up with her close friend’s interior designer, Mark Cutler, who now serves as the company’s Chief Designer. The site’s users have access to Cutler’s professional expertise by clicking on the “seeking help” button while creating a mood board.
He also advises Gilette on product evolution and design, identifies designer partnerships, and creates exclusive content for the site, including a weekly “Master Class” series detailing important insider tricks and techniques for decorating spaces. In the near future, he will begin providing video tours and tutorials for nousDECOR users to bring the design experience and his philosophy and vision to life, as well as serving as a brand spokesperson with lifestyle media.
“I joined nousDECOR because I think the company’s community-powered, technology-enabled approach to opening up the world of beautiful design is revolutionary, and I wanted to be a part of the revolution,” said Cutler. “Also, Heather and I are united in the belief that design can change lives and that some of the most extraordinary designs incorporate a mix of high-low elements: a unique antique mixed with pieces from popular retailers and DIY items. nousDECOR is the place where all of this comes together—from inspiration all the way to execution.”
Heather Gillette and Mark Cutler
This reporter chatted with Gillette, who explained a bit more about how the site works.
Why the name nousDECOR?
“Nous” is the French pronoun for “we,” and it underscores our commitment to helping anyone translate his or her dream interior to reality, regardless of budget, time or expertise. And just in case you didn’t take French in high school–“nous” is pronounced “new,” a pun we intended you to hear to convey a “new” outlook on interior decorating, or all those “new” items you can discover through our search tools.
How is the site funded?
Right now, the founders Dorothee Fisher and myself primarily fund nousDECOR, along with some other investments from friends and family.
What is the business model?
nousDECOR’s business model is built around advertisements and affiliate commissions for any sale that comes through the site. Designers are encouraged to sell their items on the site, there is no fee for them to do so, and the commission would be worked out on a case-by-case basis.
What do you feel is different about this site?
No other site provides a comprehensive, start-to-finish solution for someone seeking to decorate a space—from inspirational images and mood boards to proprietary technology tools—to help translate a look into reality at any price point.
Also, our active community filled with both amateur designers and professionals provides the additional layer of social support and guidance through the design process that other sites lack.
Who are the other team members and what are their backgrounds?
Fisher is a former colleague of mine from YouTube and brings over seventeen years of comprehensive marketing experience.
Another key member of the team is Rebecca Martin, nousDECOR’s community and in-house décor specialist. Rebecca helps create mood boards, curate items and images for the site, and participates in guiding users of the site. A decor expert with a bachelor of fine arts in interior design, Rebecca has been a design assistant at Michael Merrill Design Studio and taught classes and worked as a design specialist for Pottery Barn.
One more to note is Kelly Anne Bonner, who edits the nousDECOR blog. Kelly brings a wealth of experiences with her to nousDECOR, including an editorial internship at California Home + Design magazine, online editorial work for Yoga Journal magazine, and a stint in PR for HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins.
How frequently is the site updated with new content?
We are adding new inspirational images and mood boards everyday. As we open our doors to the public and see additions from thousands of users, you will be able to see continually fresh content on the site from both users and our in-house décor teams and from the blog.