Interview with Stella Pozzi and Sash Prestcote, founders of interior design tech business InteriorNet
Find out how Sash Prestcote and Stella Pozzi are revolutionising the interior design industry by helping young designers land business and pairing them with clients who want an affordable home makeover through the launch of InteriorNet.
What are your career backgrounds?
Stella: My background is interior design and I am an interior designer I have worked on residential projects for the past eight years across Europe and Asia.
Sash: My early career was in IT. I started as a secretary and worked my way into Sales and had a successful career in Sales and Account Management for large IT Services companies – Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Ceridian. After starting a family, I switched into interior design, working as a project manager on residential projects in London.
What do you think is broken about the interior design industry?
Stella: For sure the accessibility. Interior design is still largely perceived as a service accessible only for the wealthy or individuals with a large project or budget. What is missing to me is a platform that provides an easy access to interior design but which also gives confidence to customers of any background or social status that interior design is for them too.
Sash: I also think that the interior design industry lacks diversity. It often utilises or ‘borrows’ cultural influences it finds attractive without considering the meaning or context or employing people from those backgrounds.
Why are you inspired to change it?
Stella: Everyone should have the ability to work with an interior designer. Living in a space that is functional and reflects your personality shouldn’t be something reserved only for the elite. The environment we live in is so important for our mental health and definitely has an impact on our wellbeing. For example, making the most of natural light, the use of colour, placement of furniture and decluttering are key components in supporting a healthy state of mind.
Sash: For me it was two things; the realisation that so many people can benefit from a little help. Our homes are often our biggest expense yet we make decisions that cost money without doing it from a position of strength. By having access to advice, help and guidance people can get great results at the right budget for them. And a desire to introduce democratisation to create an inclusive and diverse industry where everyone is represented.
What is InteriorNet, and where did the idea come from?
Stella: InteriorNet is a platform that matches customers and projects to interior designers based on location, budget and style regardless of the size of the projects. After graduating in interior design my biggest challenge was connecting with potential clients and creating a steady work flow. On the other side I wanted to create a platform that took away the fear or rejection customers face and offer easy access to any interior design service regardless of the size of project or the budget.
Sash: As a project manager I had first-hand experience of the challenges people face when having to make decisions often without the ability to visualise the end result. The pressures from those involved in a project – be it a builder or electrician – about layouts or designs can cause costly mistakes. When Stella shared her idea for InteriorNet it made complete sense.
How did you get the business off the ground?
Sash and I did it entirely on our own using our resources and limited finances. We researched the market and took our time before soft launching. In many ways we just dived in headfirst and learnt as we went along and we still are). It has been a slow process and we certainly made mistakes along the way but we managed to get it off the ground.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to coverage?
Stella: As for many start-ups the lack of funds has been the biggest challenge, working with a
limited budget is not easy and makes the growth process very slow.
Sash: Understanding the relationship between marketing, SEO and how to cohesively integrate it, is also challenge. It is easy to get drawn into spending lots of money with limited impact or return.
And your proudest moment so far?
Stella: Securing funds has been a pinch me moment. Not only has it made our financial plan
more stable, but it has given us the ability to scale and grow.
Sash: it also validates all our work so far and allows us to continue to drive forward.
What’s your vision for InteriorNet?
Stella: My vision for InteriorNet is to create a global go-to platform for all things interior. From a grandmother moving to a retirement home and wanting to make her space feel like home to a large commercial project, InteriorNet has got you. We intend to democratise and shake up the world of interior design and make it accessible to all.
Sash: Whether your need is simply a call with a designer for some advice, connecting with a designer to work on your project or you are looking for inspiration as Stella says, we got you!
Who inspires you?
Stella: Fellow female entrepreneurs are my inspiration. I like to listen to podcasts, in particular the ones in which female business owners discuss their challenges and how they overcome difficult times and hardship. Recently, I listened to The Ordinary co-founder Nicola Kilner and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd discussing their experiences and challenges in launching their businesses. It was very inspirational.
Sash: From a personal perspective, I’m inspired by those people that ‘pay it forward’ – those that have a desire to make a difference to people and their lives. I look for ways to feed the soul in everything that we do.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Stella: Be perseverant and resilient. The road to creating a successful business is long and intricate – it is hardly ever a smooth journey. Don’t be stubborn and stuck in your ways, listen carefully to feedback, don’t take it personally and be ready to adjust and modify your business plan without compromising your vision. Keep your eyes on your ultimate goal and target but be ready to twist and turn until you get there.
Find out more about InteriorNet.