THE INNOVATIVE PORTAL FOR BUYING AND SELLING PRELOVED DESIGNS
The retail furniture industry generates an average turnover of £14.329M each year in the UK alone, with a plethora of mid-to-high-end brands accounting for a healthy majority of this figure. A smaller but still nonetheless percentage is generated by luxury furniture and home accessories. An even smaller segment is fueled by sales of pre-used objects of interior design.
Surprisingly enough though, up until last year, people were left with no choice but to try their luck on EBAY, if in search of unique or beautiful pieces of furniture that wouldn’t leave them bankrupt. The hunt for affordable antiques was a gamble between reasonably priced dealers (chances being slim to none) and scouring through flea markets and boot sales or damp and abandoned storage units, hoping to find some hidden treasures. There was no dedicated portal for people to sell and/or buy design brands that had been pre-owned – and frankly, it was a damn shame as a large number of high end furniture consumers tend to re-style their homes several times throughout their lifetime. The beautiful interior elements they leave behind need a better chance at finding a home elsewhere.
Fortunately, LayerHome.com became a reality last year when Hannah Russell decided to put her passion for design furniture to good use and help more people gain access to stunning interior objects for affordable prices. The portal is very well built and features excellent online support, as well as doorstep-delivery options; unless you feel like travelling to Amsterdam or Paris to pick up your new side table, which we don’t think is a bad idea either since we all need to travel more. We reckon an online marketplace like LayerHome.com is perfect for the new and discerning home-owners, who are discovering their personal style and are looking for designs that are beautiful, have a certain personality or carry more of an emotional value, rather than anything else. It’s an excellent resource that we like to visit often for ideas, inspiration and even the occasional purchase – there’s always something ‘new’ going on there. It’s a place of constant discovery and re-discovery.
We had a chance to speak to Hannah Russell about this project and the wonderful speed with which it is growing into an established entity of its own, and to get her thoughts on LayerHome.com’s evolution and future endeavours.
Coshamie: Hannah, how did you come up with the idea of LayerHome.com? What is the concept behind the brand?
‘Layerhome.com is a curated online marketplace for preowned design furniture,’ says Hannah. ‘After falling in love with a German mid-century desk whilst living in Berlin, this really kicked off my passion for design furniture. Moving back to the UK and renovating my home, I realised that I had to travel to markets all over the country or visit traders’ shops to find the type of design furniture that I was looking for – there was simply nowhere online to source beautiful preloved furniture in one single destination.’
‘We started out very organically – as a blog, interviewing traders and producing styling content. There was an overwhelming response and people were constantly asking where to source the pieces that we were writing about. It was then that we really knew there was a demand for a marketplace!’
How has social media helped build your brand, given the online shop?
‘We began as a blog and an Instagram account and it’s been a wonderful platform for us to reach people visually. The world of interiors is a hugely creative one and we’re also inspired by what we see on Instagram and Pinterest! We are constantly connecting with new sellers and buyers through Instagram.’
‘Facebook has also been a really important platform for us. We grew quite a large organic following on it, as people really connected with these designs and shared our blog posts and products to their networks.’
What has been the public’s response to LayerHome.com? Would you say people are extremely happy to pay for pre-owned but long lasting designer furniture and lighting?
‘There are so many beautiful things already in the world and we strongly believe that these pieces – which have been built to last, often by masters of their trade – deserve to be given an online platform to be discovered. We have been truly delighted with the response – our customers return again and again to us once they have discovered us and we have really heart-warming reviews which really make the job worthwhile.’
When did you start this platform, and how would you describe its evolution so far?
‘We’ve had a brilliant response since we launched at the start of the year,’ says Hannah. ‘We now have thousands of products available to buy at Layerhome.com from hundreds of different sellers, with hundreds of new products being added weekly. We stock such a brilliant range of pieces – from French antiques to classic mid-century design, from more recent high quality design pieces to industrial vintage chic.’
‘We have been featured in the likes of the Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, Metro and Homes & Antiques. We have built up an amazing network of buyers – from interior designers, to hotels and co-working spaces, and new customers who are always delighted to discover us.’
‘We have big plans for the rest of the year and 2017 and we’re really excited about what the future holds!’
That being said, we’ll be keeping a close eye on LayerHome.com, as they continue to discover and share wonderful design gems with those of us who appreciate the value of pre-loved furniture. Ultimately, all designers aim to see their works become museum items in the distant future – multiple ownership is the best way for these objects to get there. After all, there’s more to furniture than just lines and surfaces and fabrics. There’s a story, and it gets more interesting and meaningful with each passing year.