Today we share our interview with Kristina Thomas, founder and managing director of Home Culture, who says her brand is about more than just sales, it’s about showcasing the Aussie design community and appealing to time poor renovators and decorators who love a bargain.
What’s the story behind you setting up this business in Australia?
Creating Home Culture was inspired by many years of contemplating how I could combine my passion for everything related to the home (I mean everything, as I actually wanted to be an interior designer myself) and my love for finding a gem; that perfect piece at a great price.
My husband and I recently renovated an old Edwardian house (on a very limited budget) and experienced the challenge of shopping to furnish your home when you are time poor. Add a few kids in tow and convenience became a major factor.
Home Culture was also created to share my passion with others and raise awareness of some of the great brands and designers from Australia and internationally. When I saw the success of online companies overseas such as One King’s Lane in the US, I got really excited as this provided proof of concept in a way.
Essentially, I decided to be bold and convinced my husband to put some of our savings into creating what is now Home Culture; a meeting place for the likeminded where you can get that gem, at up to 70% off. Although there is still plenty of work to be done, I am delighted with the result and overwhelmed with the interest and the support. With over 3,500 people interacting with us daily on Facebook and a rapidly growing database of customers, it is an exciting time.
How would you sum up your site and its offering?
Home Culture aims to provide three major offerings:
A positive, interactive and informative experience for the customer;
A launching pad for young designers, decorators, stylists and brands;
And a marketing opportunity for the more established brands and interior designers, decorators and stylists.
I see Home Culture as a marketing platform for the decoration, design, home and giftware fields, rather than a clearance site that is dependent on pushing through large volumes of stock. As an example, we are currently featuring a new Melbourne-based business called Your Table Matters and our aim is to showcase the products (in this case pure linen table dressing) and raise awareness of a great local brand selling beautiful products. Unlike fashion, homeware, furniture and giftware brands are often not household names and we want to challenge this.
There are now three similar players in the market. Why are you the best/different?
Home Culture has very specific motivations to be a down to earth, personal and informative experience to appeal to everyone who has an interest in home décor and design. This translates in what we do and how we do it, for example:
Each item that is featured on Home Culture has been personally selected.
Our blog features top tips from interiors designers that include Greg Natale, Darren Palmer and Diane Bergeron on how to make your house beautiful.
We have a daily conversation with our members on Facebook about what is new in the field, what is hot and not so hot!
We have a ‘Refurbish Friday’ where we focus on one area of the house that might be in need of a revamp and how to tackle it.
And more recently we have started a Sunday Secret Sale where every Sunday we have one item for one day only offered at a steal price.
Home Culture has the customers, brands, designers, decorators and stylists at the centre, rather than the sales alone. It’s time that designers, decorators, stylists and homeware and furniture brands get some time in the spotlight. Look at how fashion designers, models and chefs have been embraced and recognised for their work (think of the craze called Masterchef).
Do you think there is space in the market for three websites like this?
Home Culture has already carved out a significant following and the level of engagement continues to grow. I believe there is a place for each of us if each party is offering something different and unique.
Do you think this is something the Australian consumer has been waiting for?
I believe so. I personally would have loved to be able to access little gems at up to 70% off online when I was renovating my house. More and more people are now comfortable buying on line and realising that it is convenient, fun and offers great savings. We have been operation for just about one month now and the interest received from the public has been strong with over 3,500 interacting with us on Facebook and thousands of members and growing everyday, there is clearly an interest out there.
What are your plans for the site in the next 6 months?
Over the next few months, we will build on what we have created so far, which involves offering more products at great prices but also engaging with the design community to allow our members to benefit not only from great prices but also to be inspired by what they see. It is an exciting time for Home Culture. So stay tuned and join our daily chat on Facebook and Twitter!