It’s been an interesting journey for mydeco, the home design and furnishings startup founded by the management team behind lastminute.com, one of Europe‚Äôs most successful ever online businesses. Back in 2008 the site was ground-breaking in its use of 3D imaging to allow for interactive planning and visualisation tools. It even had a social network. But although doing well enough, the game has changed. Consumers are now assaulted by choice – and the 3D design tools were always slightly more functional than the average person needed or wanted. Instead of designing an infinite number of rooms, and purchase the items therein, mydeco now wants to woo its users by becoming a retailer specialising in curation. As CEO Nicole Vanderbilt told me “We’re a bit like ASOS. We started with an aggregator, we’re now becoming more of a retailer. Retailers own the customer and there are higher margins in that. But we eventually want to be the Google Maps of Interiors – anywhere you want to create beautiful rooms we will be there.”
To that end mydeco is now pivoting its model by splitting its business in two. The original site now become a affiliate-driven marketplace for home furnishings under a new name, mydecomarketplace.com. The new direction has meant zydeco has received ¬£2million from EVC Partners / BV Capital, taking the total raised to more than ¬£10 million.
The new site will reside under the existing name and doubles-down on what the startup realised really works: curation. This new site features 40 hand-picked boutique retailers and ‘designer-makers’. Among them are small-scale specialists picked out by the site as being exceptional, but this time they will have the full weight of mydeco.com‚Äôs centralised customer service behind them.
This new site has a smaller number of hand-picked items – around 500 high quality furniture and lighting products modelled in 3D and 5,000 more items being created in 3D right now. The social aspect allows users to create and share wish lists.
This new partner approach means partners receive more visibility on the zydeco platform, mydeco branded packaging materials, better large-scale shipping rates. mydeco takes a commission on their sales.
It would appear mydeco is well on its way to surviving the stormy waters of the recession, and carrying a number of smaller retailers along with it.