Sydney-based interior design house Karanda Interiors has launched a self-service design website last April 30 to capitalise on the DIY boom, which is distrupting the furniture and homewares supply chain, and creating room for new entrants.
Karanda co-director Shane Bradbury said the new business, Roomfood.com.au, will eventually let people upload photos of their sofa, for example, dress it up in a selection of fabrics, and overlay different cushions.
The site already has over 20,000 Facebook followers.
The rapidly expanding DIY market is creating challenges and opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers in the interior design trade.
Pressure to reduce margins
The DIY design trend is increasing the size of the overall market and expanding interior design beyond the echelons of well-heeled professionals into the mainstream, as interior design veteran Trevor Rogers mentioned.
While expanding the market, it is also applying pressure on Australian furniture retailers to reduce margins and increase their product range.
Temple & Webster co-founder Brian Shanahan said the desire for more variety gave his online homewares store a toehold in the market.
Opening up showrooms
The DIY trend is also bringing consumers and manufacturers closer together and introducing an unprecedented level of transparency into the supply chain.
RoomFood will give consumers direct access to wallpaper, fabric, and paint manufacturers.
Some feel this will inevitably create price pressure as consumers become more savvy.
Brand cannibalisation is one of the biggest fears as furniture and homeware retailers move online. This is partly why Coco Republic kept the recent launch of its online business Max Sparrow low key.
RoomFood has its own full-time staff, although Bradbury won’t say how many.
He admits the concept is vulnerable to copycats but says the technology investment does provide a barrier to entry. Temple & Webster is forecasting revenue exceeding $30 million for the 2014 calendar year.
It is currently shopping for strategic partners to facilitate its growth plans.