Dwll, a startup looking at organizing the interior design industry

dwllThink redecorating your house and you instantly hit two roadblocks –  finding a credible interior designer and secondly, implementing the process with minimal distress. The founders of the newly launched dwll.in (pronounced dwellin’) were also faced with this dilemma when the idea of the business struck them. The venture, whose name is derived from the word ‘dwelling’, is aiming to help people create a space they can connect with, with minimal chaos.

Pankaj Poddar and Parikshat Hemrajani, classmates at ISB, Hyderabad, started the venture with the idea of providing a much needed project management platform. ‘The interior design industry is really fragmented and unstructured, making it really difficult to find a reputable designer who is on the same wavelength’ says Pankaj of the impetus of the venture. According to him, the existing platforms merely showcase the portfolios, but beyond that, they don’t really help to make a decision.

Parikshat Hemrajani

Parikshat Hemrajani

Dwll introduces you to your potential designer on the basis of a detailed questionnaire, pursuant to which a couple of designers from the platform submit their proposals, based on your budget.

The founders pride themselves of the three main selling points of the business, transparency, peace of mind and convenience. ‘Every design/sketch/discussion is uploaded and approved online, which avoids the back and forth’ says Pankaj, a problem which the process is notoriously known for. While the payment is to be made upfront, it is only released to the designers in phases, based on agreed milestones. They also have a refund process in place depending on the stage of the project. ‘This process puts both the clients and the designers at ease since there’s no issue of non-payment or non-delivery despite payment’ explains Pankaj.

Currently, the team consists of Pankaj, Parikshat and Madhavi, an interior designer, who brings in her expertise as and when required.

Pankaj Poddar

Pankaj Poddar

Their idea is to navigate the whole process where the design and day to day affairs remain between the designer and the client and they step in as and when necessary. Launched only a month back, we were told they already have projects in various stages of development in Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Ahmedabad and Chennai.

The site is completely free for use to both the designers and the clients, and the business generates revenue through margins charged by designers on contracts acquired through the site.

Speaking of monetization, the duo plan to keep the site advertisement-free and depend solely on sales. They are looking at some interesting tie-ups and marketing ideas to boost the sales, ‘we’re looking at tie-ups with property developers, design studios and retail stores to distribute specially prepared brochures about our services and are also conceptualizing online and offline events to reach out to more and more designers and clients’ says Pankaj. Their biggest challenge has been creating and building a database of designers, which they are actively looking at building, and like every new startup, they are aggressively marketing on social media platforms to make people aware of the services.

The market for interior designing is growing, and in the jungle of several designing firms and freelancers, a platform organizing the data and navigating the whole process as an independent third party is surely a welcome change. However, in an industry which largely hinges on word of mouth, it would be interesting to see the journey of Dwll.

Archana Sudhendranath

Archana Sudhendranath

Archana was an entrepreneur with a startup in Bombay, working with women from lower income groups on hand-made products. She now lives in Singapore, writing and training in Iyengar yoga. She has also been a corporate lawyer in another life. Follow her on talkingqalam.wordpress.com or @talkingqalam and write to her at archana@yourstory.in.