Clippings.com, a UK-based marketplace for furniture, lighting and homeware, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise £500,000 to change the way consumers see the design industry.
The company, which was officially launched in 2013 by Despark’s Adel Zakout, has reportedly grown 21% month-on-month since last year’s funding round, which it raised £535,000 from angel investors, Sir Spas Roussev, founding benefactor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and David Begg, founder of Tom Dixon.
Revealing its experience with the design history, Clippings.com revealed:
“Today, we believe our design industry is at a standstill. It’s old-fashioned, inefficient, inaccessible, and sub-scale. It’s slow to adopt technological innovation, suspicious of e-commerce, and provides a poor experience for customers. It’s constrained by a focus on price instead of building engagement through storytelling. It’s limited because retailers rather than brands control customer relationships.
“This is its Achilles’ heel; brands are far removed from customers, making it impossible for many to realise their full potential. But this is also its potential; we just need to look to the luxury fashion industry, and the growth that it has been able to achieve in the past decades, to realise this.
“Consumers want distinctive, original products but can’t easily discover them as our industry is incredibly fragmented. They want new, innovative products but there are too many barriers for emerging brands to break into the market. With the high cost of real estate and low product turn in the sector, traditional retailers simply cannot afford the risk of stocking a product unless it already has proven demand. When they do take on new products, they’re forced to protect themselves against fierce price competition with exclusivity deals, regional restrictions and lock-in agreements which limits brands’ potential successes. Today we find that much of the high-end furniture sold was designed last century, a fact that would be ridiculed in other creative industries.”
The company also noted:
“Consumers look for brand and product stories but we as an industry are not good at getting those stories to a customer. They search for alignment with their own values but can’t find out about ours. The most effective storyteller is the brand itself but without directly engaging consumers in the personalities and processes behind their brand and products, it’s impossible to captivate them. The same consumer who is willing to spend £2,000 on a suit, complains at spending £1,000 on a fully upholstered chair which they will enjoy for decades. Today, there is a poor perception of design and thus an increasingly commoditized market with a growing market of knock-offs and inspired-by products.
“The inefficient supply chain means that much of a product’s value is swallowed by manufacturing and distribution costs. Today, there is very little is investment in innovation and marketing, whilst the commoditisation of our market pushes margins down further in a vicious circle.”
In regards to its progress, the company added:
“The business was launched in 2013 and we have already seen significant growth with over 7,500 products and 300 design brands on the platform, including industry leaders such as Flos, HAY, Normann Copenhagen as well as emerging brands Terrence Woodgate, H Furniture, black+blum and more.
“We will also be launching a dedicated B2B platform that aims to disrupt the experience that architects, interior designers and decorators have when searching for products for their projects. They will be able to discover, negotiate and order products directly through the platform, bringing what is currently a very painful experience into the 21st century.
“We have raised a £535,000 round of funding last year from leading industry angel investors, Sir Spas Roussev, founding benefactor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and David Begg, founder of Tom Dixon. We used this to build our platform, sign on over 300 design brands and have achieved an average 11% month-on-month growth (250% annualized) since then.”
Funds from the Crowdcube campaign will go towards paying salaries and fund marketing budget. Since its launch, the initiative has successfully secured nearly £228,000. It is set to close at the end of September.
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