Recently, I had the opportunity to answer some hard hitting questions about the current eDesign industry for a magazine titled: Window Fashion Vision [January 2020 Edition].
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of eDesign, it is literally a streamlined version of interior design done completely online!
It differs greatly from in-home interior design in methodology, cost, services offered, allowable proximity between the designer and the client and project intensity. It’s still an up and coming area in the industry but while not everyone knows about it, it is quickly gaining in popularity.
So, without further ado, here is the Q & A:
1. Why do you think eDesign has grown in popularity?
eDesign commonly resonates with millennial's because it is done completely online and utilizes the technology they are already using everyday.
Communication has changed a lot in a short period of time. While some people still like to pick up the phone or meet face to face, a new generation has quickly moved in and they prefer online communication.
Over the last 5-10 years, many people in this demographic have become first time home owners, moved from dorms to apartments or from their parents homes into their own spaces.
During this time we’ve seen a massive rise in social apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, where users showcase snippets of their day to day life, and interests. People want to showcase their newest outfits, favourite meals and yes, their beautiful homes.
One thing almost all eDesign clients have in common though is the DIY bug. These people don’t mind getting involved in the process to execute the designers vision. They have the desire and really just need the guidance of an expert.
eDesign is a budget friendly alternative to traditional in-person interior design that allows clients with almost any budget to have access to a professional to polish their spaces.
It also gives clients in rural areas access to designer services and the ability to work with a designer of their choice, rather than being limited to whoever happens to be in the area or willing make the commute.
2. Who is the typical eDesign client?
The typical eDesign client is female between the ages of 22-35. Although, we have seen a rise in the male demographic as the service becomes more available.
Further to this, there has been a rise in varying age groups of people who have learned to grow with & love the technology around them. It really is the new school way of doing almost anything.
3. What are your steps in the eDesign process?
Obtain dimensions & photos of the space
Mood board presentation
Floor plan development & space planning
Sourcing & collaboration
Deliver a PDF design package
Obtain after photos
4. What type of special software, programs, companies, etc. do you use?
Pinterest (to collaborate)
5. Do you think eDesign is here to stay?
Definitely! There are still so many clients that have not heard about eDesign yet and over the next few years it’s really going to become a household term.
People want to be ‘house proud’ and eDesign fills a niche market of people who either don’t have the time to work with a traditional design firm, want something more budget friendly or those who don’t have any design firms located geographically near them, not to mention the up and coming generations who are so accustomed to doing everything through the internet!
It’s also a rather quick process when compared to traditional design, with most firms having final presentations for a room complete and delivered to the client in 1-3 weeks.
6. What about all the eDesign companies that have failed?
The eDesign industry is really still defining itself and so are many of the designers within it. It’s a really pivotal time to be a part of it! But, in order to keep up you must be adaptive, flexible, open to learning and growing with technology and the demographic it serves.
Further to this, even though we are all technically competition to each other, online discussion communities have been popping up all over the place. These groups facilitate conversations between new and experienced designers who offer the service. There's a massive exchange of support, advice, best practices, trade secrets and so on. It’s a massive professional movement to set the standards for what, overall, is still a very new service.
And, it’s really an incredible and refreshing thing to see people working together and literally cheering each other on.
As far as the companies that have tried and failed, their business models were very different than that of individual designers who are offering the service directly to end-users. I don't have a first hand account of what went on behind the scenes but from what I can gather, the relationship between those companies and the designers the work was being outsourced to was fragile.
7. How does pricing compare to traditional eDesign?
This is a tough question to answer because traditional in-home design is priced per project, whereas eDesign more or less has a flat rate per room, which differs from one designer to the next.
Traditional Interior Designers invoice in many different ways: commission, hourly, project/design fees, retainer fees and so on. While each eDesign firm, for the most part, has a set of standard packages with different levels of benefits that clients can pick from. Most of us also offer the option to create a custom package if a standard one does not fit their needs.
There are many difference between the two services but one very important difference is, because as eDesigner's, we don’t ever physically enter the space we're working on, so most of us opt not to change anything structurally. Instead, we chose to select finishes, furniture and decor that will bring the space to life.
8. What is your price range for eDesign?
We offer basic packages that clients can purchase at very low prices for things like mood boards, colour consultations and space planning, which currently range from $75-200.
But to actually have a room decorated, we offer two standard packages that range from $300-550. The big difference between these packages is the deliverables the client gets. The higher package includes renders of the space. Renders are digital photos of the how the room will look once the purposed design is implemented - this is a great option for clients that have a hard time visualizing changes.
Custom packages can also be developed for projects that don’t fit the regular scope of work in each package. The pricing is done case by case so it's best for clients to reach out to discuss the project and get pricing.
We are also flexible in the sense that we can offer clients who need several rooms decorated a volume discount! The % would also be determined case by case and depend on the types of packages the client requires for each room!
Now that you’ve read the full interview, do you feel like you have a good grasp of the main differences between in-home interior design and eDesign?
Do you have any questions that weren’t answered? If so, feel free to ask in the comment section or DM them to us privately through our contact page [titled: Let's Connect] in the main menu!
And, if you want give the entire article by Joanne Lenart-Weary a read, which includes the input of several industry experts, find it here! [pg. 50]