A Mad Men obsession combined with a need to furnish his new apartment saw Will Fan go on a mad hunt in search of an industrial 60s lamp and a Don Draper-esque office drinking cart. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t easy; eBay and Gumtree meant sifting through used mattresses and cheap imports and weekends became drives around Sydney checking out questionable leads.
What became abundantly clear to Will, was Sydney had a very scattered group of boutique bricks-and-mortar sellers, collectors listing on eBay and standalone online craftsmen. These were people selling vibrant bespoke designs and revived vintage pieces who didn’t really have an online presence. Not only was there no go-to place for everyone to connect, there was also no easy way for buyers or enthusiasts to find them.
So, Couchelo was born. The recently launched app is a simple to use, curated online marketplace, where only the best items from the most interesting sellers are available in one place. “It is about using updated technology to help a niche market become more accessible to appreciation,” explains Will.
Enlisting the help of friends Fei Yao and Si-Si Dai, Will and the team are self-claimed “design industry outsiders” but that’s the exact reason they wanted to create Couchelo, to help make it easy for people like them to find amazing décor.
Still in its early days, the Couchelo app is in its beta phase, but as its popularity grows, so will the complexity of the app. “What we love about it now is the simplicity of scrolling through photos of the beautiful pieces in your nearby location,” says Will. “Yet as the number of items for sale on Couchelo grows, you will start to see updates for new features including search, décor categories and even exciting recommendations.”
While it is currently Sydney-based, Couchelo’s sights are set much higher. “We want to showcase our favourite home-grown boutiques and designers to the world. To do this, we need to start bringing all these independent creatives in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other design cities on board. We also want to work collaboratively with the 160,000 design professionals in Australia to create a curated marketplace with a collection of unique furniture and homewares.”