Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Adam Light, founder and owner of Icon By Deign.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Icon by Design was created to help bring interior design dreams to life, by making high-quality, contemporary furniture affordable. Our business is built on three key principles: timeless, modern design; high-end craftsmanship and quality; and unbeatable prices and value.
Timeless contemporary design is at the core of our product selection and sourcing process. We want to make sure our customers are still happy with their purchases in 10 years’ time.
Our factories ethos is focused on excellent craftsmanship. We only produce products that are made to commercial quality standards, so that we know they’ll stand the test of time.
Finally, our direct sourcing model allows us to cut out the middlemen – the brand owners and local wholesalers. This enables us to deliver exceptional value for money. Our prices are typically 50% to 60% less than traditional retailers.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Because our business model is so unique, we’re able to fill a gap in the market and attract clients who are looking for premium-quality, contemporary furniture at affordable prices. Not only are we able to minimise costs by purchasing directly from the factory, we also offer a Pre-Order option which provides an additional 20% saving, by reducing warehouse and logistics costs.
We curate our store specifically to meet our customers’ needs, meaning that we constantly seek out feedback and apply it to our product selection process. As a result, what started off as a small selection of Scandinavian furniture has grown into a range of over 150 pieces that are tailored to suit our clients.
We received really positive reviews come through early on, we were quick to leverage testimonial content as part of our growth strategy. We are committed to providing fantastic customer service and have maintained exceptional ratings and seen really powerful reviews coming through the store. We feel that this has been a very cost-effective way to inspire consumer confidence.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
We understood early on, that it was at the core of our business success to inspire confidence within our brand. We don’t currently have a showroom and we knew that this might slow down people’s willingness to buy - if they could not physically interact with the product. To overcome this we have provided comprehensive details on our products with specifications, a huge range of images and leveraged customer reviews to inspire confidence in potential future customers.
Fashion can be a fickle industry and we have embraced a ‘timeless design’ principle. This ensures that we focus our product selection on design pieces that stand the test of time. We have found that the Scandinavian design ethos meets this ‘timeless design’ principle. Many businesses find it difficult to be agile in their product offering, however keeping our customers satisfaction at the core of our strategy; we were able to incorporate innovation and fresh furniture design into our business model.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We guarantee the lowest price, while providing beautiful, high-quality curated furniture. This is an unusual scenario. Combine this with exceptional customer service and we think this differentiates us from other retailers. Furthermore, we offer six-month interest-free financing, which makes the purchase of bigger ticket items easier.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
The Neto application has been an excellent tool for us as it helps us stay on top of our business at all times. Customer service is at the core of our business model and Neto has given us the technology capability we need to automate our processes, ensuring we are freeing up as much time as possible to focus on the delivery of exceptional customer service. We have also found the Solvexia Process Automation tool to be invaluable.
Having our finger on the pulse at all times, no matter where we are, has been a tremendous benefit to our business, allowing us to keep customers happy and make sure everything is running smoothly.
You can’t put a price on piece of mind.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
The saying “keep it simple” has proven to be great advice. Our core business proposition is clear, and we find that when our customers understand our business model they appreciate why we can provide beautiful, high quality furniture at a compelling price.
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