This App Is Changing How Designers Order Custom Cushions
Creating one-of-a-kind cushions and pillows from dreamy designer fabrics is one of the things interior designers do best (and clients love most). Yet the process of ordering these items is often far from seamless. From long lead times to patchy communications to pricing that eats up profits, custom-sewn items come with their own unique set of challenges. But Brooklyn-based Stitchroom has begun taking the hassle out of the process, one click at a time. Its app simplifies and streamlines the process of designing and ordering cushions and pillows, letting designers easily order and track multiple items at once. We caught up with founder Ella Hall to get all the details on how the business evolved and how interior designers can benefit from trying it out.
Can you share a bit about your background and what led you to create Stitchroom?
Ella Hall: Back in 2015, I had just made a jump from the fashion industry to the interior design industry. I was working in client services at a startup, managing designers and their clients (and their problems). I was 23 and had no idea what I wanted or what my career path looked like, but what I did know was that I was good at managing people—and I was also good at sewing, which I’ve done since age eight. I began offering my sewing services to my designers when I noticed them struggling to find reliable resources for getting custom pillows and cushions made for their clients. Existing options took too long, or were too expensive. That’s where I came in.
Given my background in designing and creating ready-to-wear garments, pillows and cushions were much easier to construct, so when I noticed their need—and that there were no major players in the custom-pillow game—I had an “aha” moment. I told designers I would turn the projects around in half of the time at half the cost. That little side hustle started gaining traction, and after about six months of sewing at night and on weekends, I took the leap to doing it full-time. Over the next year, I focused on proof-of-concept and identifying what designers needed and how I could address their problems. I discovered that many of the issues with custom involved not the product but the communication process, and I wanted to solve that with technology—which is how the idea for the Stitchroom came about.
So how does Stitchroom solve those challenges for interior designers?
EH: Stitchroom’s easy-to-use platform is unique, and we are also a service that has a voice and brand identity. We pride ourselves on our customer service. The back-and-forth that traditionally went on when designing a pillow via email and phone could be extremely time-consuming and the room for error was too high. It could take up to 15 emails to feel confident we were on the same page. There came a moment when I realized that having an app could really streamline the process and make it scalable. Designers could have their own dashboard for managing all of the details for multiple projects—they could enter their fabric details, specify their size, and generate a quote with costs and yardage, all without having to talk with anyone. It would help designers to do their job better and more efficiently.
So that’s what you built your app to do.
EH: Yes! It’s the easiest way to get custom. Here’s how it works: You create an account on our platform, upload the fabric you will be using, then design all of the products you would like made out of that fabric. Most items ship in two weeks. It’s super easy to use and the most cost-effective way to transform your clients’ spaces. We are based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and all of our products are made locally in NYC. We currently have, on average, four sewers that either come into our space or sew from home.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from designers?
EH: Due to us streamlining communications, designers have less to keep track of, which saves them so much time and effort. Also, we have been able to keep our costs down, which designers obviously love because they can maintain great margins. Our custom price point is competitive with retail, where an 18×18 with an insert starts at $65.
Any stories you can share about interesting fabrics designers have sent you, or challenging projects you’ve helped them with?
EH: The coolest thing about our service is that we accept any type of upholstery-grade fabric, do we don’t limit creativity or uniqueness for designers or their clients. One time a designer sent us an old apron from a client’s grandmother to be made into a pillow! We also received some vintage curtains that we transformed into pillows. We get excited to walk designers through their design problems and help find solutions. We view ourselves as “the pillow professionals” and love guiding designers through their pillow processes.
Tell us about the “marketplace” part of your site: Is this one way designers can add extra pops of high-end fabrics at a bargain price?
EH: Yes! The marketplace was created out necessity, because at the time I was still working out of my apartment living room and I ran out of space to house the leftover fabrics. I started making pillows out of the leftovers and opened up a shop where 100% of the profits go to charity. All of the marketplace pillows are are made from amazing designer fabrics and cost $45.
Do you have any personal favorites when it comes to fabrics, or favorite ways designers are using them in pillows lately?
EH: My personal favorite fabric brand is Maharam and I love how designers are really implementing a ton of heavy textures and colors into their designs—and really taking risks because they know they can always switch out the pillows.
What will we see next from Stitchroom?
EH: We are implementing a fabric-ordering system so that designers will be able to offload all of the ordering and we will handle internally at Stitchroom. We are continuously evolving and adapting to designers’ needs and will continue to update our design platform to streamline the design process. If you’re able to design and create custom pillows and cushions just as easily as purchasing something off of a retail site for a similar price point, why would you not?
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