Beautiful design. Budget friendly. Quick turnarounds. Beatrice Fishel-Bock, Elizabeth Grover, and Madeline Fraser are the friends, founders and designers behind Zoom Interiors, an online-based interior design business whose mission is to provide professional and stylish design for clients who don't have a lot of time and are on a budget. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the boss ladies of Zoom and learned more about their story and their business. Fresh on the scene, there is no doubt they are talented, fun, and hard working entrepreneurs committed to expanding accessibility to beautiful design for those who don't know where to start or don't think they can afford it. Trust me friends, these ladies can show you how.
On a sunny weekend day at Eastern Market, I met Madeline at my Kicheko tent and we hit it off. She went home with the arc rainbow crystal quartz necklace and I went home with an interest in this budding design business. Beatrice, Elizabeth and Madeline met at the George Washington University through the Interior Architecture and Design program. While abroad in London, the concept for the business began over conversation centered around the question that all approaching graduates ask, “What am I going to do after school?” The trio realized that there was a gap in the market for friends and peers who wanted affordable design but did not know how to navigate this world or knew whether affordable interior design was even possible. They decided to help one friend out lending their design services for free as an experiment requiring only that their client purchase furniture, decor and art at cost. The result was a success for both parties and as a result, this first client referred coworkers, friends and her boyfriend to seek their design services. With a $1400 budget, they transformed a room and its success gave them enough affirmation to launch the business. Zoom Interiors was born.
Beginning the business their junior year, they allowed themselves one year to experiment, at times, working on client projects in the back of classes. They continued to work with friends building a curated portfolio for their website. Their online approach and mission for the business broke with traditional molds of interior design, which inevitably encountered questions and some resistance from professors and colleagues, who were steeped in traditional methods of interior design. Zoom Interiors has now been in business for 14 months and their main offices have moved from the District to Philadelphia. Over the course of this time, Zoom Interiors has amassed an impressive collection of clients from personal room designs, interior redesigns, television set design, and commercial spaces. Working with clients in DC, Philadelphia, LA, New York and Virginia, the Zoom team’s services give the business the flexibility to work anywhere and with anyone.
How it works:
1. Online Survey. Fill out a basic survey asking basic questions relating to style and color preferences. This initial survey is used to fill out a basic profile for a new client. In the meantime, a second survey is sent with more detailed questions asking about dimensions, measurements and technical info.
2. Free consultation. Phone or skype. A member of the Zoom team will review your survey and discuss the project.
3. Zoomboard. At this point, $150 fee per room is required to continue. The Zoom team will proceed designing a moodboard matching your desired preference including colors, patterns, and pieces.
4. Design and communicate. You can discuss and make changes to the board up to 3x until it is exactly what you want.
5. Zoomcart. Once the board is approved, the team will put together a cart with all of your requested furniture, decor, and custom art. A $250 deposit is applied towards the total cost of the cart. You approve the cart and pay the remaining balance.
6. Arrival and Install. The zoom cart will arrive to your home. At the same time, the team will provide you step-by-step instructions and floorplans on where to put the furniture pieces and hang the decor. After assembly, moving and hanging, the zoom process is complete.
Depending on the turnaround time on the surveys, a room design can take anywhere from two weeks to one month. Room refreshes start at $1,000. Brand new room designs start at $2,000. The Zoom team is transparent about the budgets they can work with - everything from $1K to $50K and higher. Their relationships with manufacturers and other lines afford them the best prices in the business, which they pass to their clients. When asked about their clientele’s niche, the Zoom team says,
“The interior design hemisphere is a brutal world for the busy, and more so, budget-conscious individual. We believe everyone deserves to be graced with beautiful spaces to enhance their lives. And it is our mission to do just that- interior design on a budget.”
Each of the designers backgrounds and individual design eye have influenced the role that they now play in moving the business forward. This was a learning process going back to their first set of clients when all three would work together on each project. Beatrice hails from Geneva, Switzerland and Miami. Her design strength is shabby chic and her role is bigger picture managerial, financial and web. Madeline is from Los Angeles and her aesthetic forte is Moroccan and eclectic. She is charged with marketing for the business and is also the in-house artist, completing custom paintings and artwork for clients. Elizabeth comes from Richmond, Virginia and her preferred interior style is contemporary and modern. She is the project manager and does the bulk of the design work from boards to floorplans and install instructions.
I asked each of the ladies if they have a favorite project to date. For Madeline, a PR office in LA where she was commissioned to do 5 custom paintings for the space. She flew out there to help with the install and see the project through. For her, this project was like her baby. Elizabeth responded with a loft design project for a former Bachelor contestant. From the sounds of it, upon the breakup with his now ex-girlfriend, she damaged a significant amount of furniture, which gave Elizabeth the opportunity to redesign the whole space. Photos of that project will soon be on the website. For Beatrice, her favorite was their first client. The experience was their first one and it was so good that felt enough gumption to launch the business. This project was a milestone and will always be her favorite.
The ladies look up to companies like Ikea because they changed the game in the home decor industry for affordable design. The ladies also look up to pioneers like Sophia Amorouso of Nastygal. When asked about their future goals, the ladies responded in unison that they have a 10-year plan and big ideas for the business. One of their major goals is to create a lifestyle brand around Zoom becoming the gurus of stylish and affordable living as well as expand Zoom Interior’s business from not only services but to their own furniture and product line. They would also like to grow their clientele adding more male young professionals to their list of clients. There is a growing number of urban, young professionals who are building careers, buying homes, and desiring stylish design, but do not have the time or expertise to go about designing their homes.
Going the entrepreneurial and independent route is an attractive alternative albeit one that requires a superlative amount of vision, discipline and motivation. Near the end of our conversation, I asked them what the best part of running their business was and they were in unison that it has been the opportunity to work together. They count themselves lucky to spend so much time together socially and also that they get to work together each day. I got the sense that they have been through a lot and have a genuine respect for each other and each person’s work. To be young women and entrepreneurs, it can be an intimidating climate especially in the wake of the Great Recession whose residual effects are still felt even in urban centers. Beatrice, Elizabeth and Madeline are crystal clear on who they are, their mission, and who they exist to serve. That laser focus has continued to form over their nascent growth and while they are creatively minded, they are also businesswomen. Their first year in the working professional world, they consistently seek new opportunities, raise the bar, and are learning everyday. Madeline wears a necklace from a former professor and dear friend with the words “Fuck it” on the pendant. That bold and succinct message embodies the spirit in which they have launched their business and their career.
If you have a room in need of a refresh or design, check out Zoom Interiors to learn how they can transform your space. Follow along on their blog for a plethora of boards and education on interiors as well as fun sartorial shoots of the ladies and other inspiration. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of these ladies and Zoom Interiors in the future. We are thrilled about this up and coming business and the businesswomen behind it. To all of you who want a refresh to a room or have a tabula rasa of a space in need of expert designs, I highly recommend Zoom Interiors. Happy reimagining and designing!
All photos provided by Zoom Interiors LLC