It started as a solution for founder Marina Glazman’s once-dreary New York brownstone. A new take on the design-in-a-box model, the recently launched Suitely proffers a selection of edited suites of furniture and home accents at bundled pricing, fit for apartment building, bungalow and Manhattan brownstone alike. The suites, ranging from $75 to $2,000, are priced at 40 to 60 percent below retail. They’re curated by a designer according to the client’s style: traditional, modern, eclectic, vintage, French country. The company’s interior designers source products from artisans and suppliers worldwide, and serve as either ongoing editors or guest curators. Glazman, formerly a director with The MBA Exchange, sat down with EAL to chat about the company’s origins, what designers can expect, and where she sources all that product.
What was the inspiration behind the site? Did consumers or designers approach you?
The inspiration behind the site was my own move to a new NYC apartment a couple years ago. I was switching jobs, and on a serious budget. I had just rented a little Upper West Side studio on West 85th Street and Columbus, with a gorgeous brownstone exterior. On the inside, however, like many old brownstones, it was a poorly lit, tiny, old, semi-decrepit apartment. But this is New York, and if your apartment isn’t a cozy hideaway where you can recharge, then good luck facing the city. So I set out to turn the little cave into a Mediterranean villa for under $1,500.
Problem was, I’m not a designer—I didn’t know how to decorate the place. I have no DIY abilities whatsoever. I didn’t have free time. And, biggest problem of all: the budget. I explored all kinds of options: flash-sale sites, virtual interior-design services, art fairs, furniture stores, everything. No matter where you go, either interior design advice is expensive, or the products themselves are expensive. Or you need tons of free time to scour the Internet. I wasn’t looking for custom artwork to commission from Paris; I just wanted a nice place—simply, affordably and quickly. Why was that so hard?
Why wasn’t there a website where you could shop furniture and decor, tailored to your taste by designers, pre-curated into coordinating sets, fitting your needs so that you don’t have to know what you’re doing, and at a discount to retail?! It wasn’t out there. Flash sales no longer have the deals they used to, plus they will drain your free time. Virtual design services may offer discounted advice, but the product is still expensive. There has to be a way to get the best of both worlds.
So this is the problem we set out to solve when beginning the research for Suitely. Custom decor, tailored to your taste and budget, sold at bundle prices by the “suite.” Pure retail—not a service. Simple and affordable. Anyone can do it; anyone can have it.
Do you source products, or do designers do the sourcing?
Both. Designers make the recommendations on what we need, and the product team/buyers execute on the vision in the sourcing/buying process. Then, designers will curate the decor suites, developing the product combinations that are offered to customers.
How can designers get involved with Suitely?
We are always looking for passionate designers to work with. We have two ways of working with designers—Resident Designers and Guest Curators. Resident Designers make up the Suitely Design Team (currently part-time, but full-time is also possible), and curate suites on a regular basis for new styles as they roll out. And Guest Curators are invited to collaborate with us to curate suites on a one-off basis. Because all of our work is digital, we are excited to meet designers who share a passion for digital merchandising.
Designers who would like to inquire about collaboration or Resident Designer work should email us with “Curate for Suitely” in the subject line.
When is the official launch date?
The site is currently in beta, but it’s live and fully accessible, just limited in terms of product options. The full site will launch summer 2016.