After starting my career at a hedge fund (Clareville Capital, acquired by Tosca Fund), I soon turned my attention to disruptive tech businesses to flex my entrepreneurial spirit: Karma Cans, Feast It and Airtasker. Having helped launch the rental kitchen business Karma Cans, I moved to support in a director capacity, the business recently closed a successful Series A. I am also an early investor and on the board of events marketplace Feast It, where I continue to learn from a very experienced board of operators. But it was at my most recent role as VP International at $140m GMV Australian jobs marketplace Airtasker, where I brought the brand to the UK as GM, that I met my co-founder, Sam Bradley, and was exposed to the decorating industry and its challenges.
The online home decor community is engaged, young and ever-growing. Despite starting their journey searching for inspiration and scouring for educational content online, the product transaction then happens in a physical store. This experience is frequently a complex and frustrating one – so naturally presents an opportunity ripe for disruption. Vast product ranges and little emotional connection through content – be it colour advice, or how-tos – work to heighten the poor UX from start to finish of a decorating journey.
This is matched by the market opportunity: the global decorative paint and wallpaper market exceeds $93bn and home decor as a category is potentially over $200bn in Europe. But, crucially, online adoption has been slow. One core driver is the lack of incentive for manufacturers to sell direct to consumers when their largest customers are third party brick and mortar retailers, but in any case, few are attempting to solve the online UX.
We launched Lick Home to create a fuss-free way to decorate, with premium, eco-friendly products carefully curated by a team of interior experts. One key innovation – the peel-and-stick samples which are all a true colour-match – replace the traditional messy, expensive sample pots that ruin walls. This drive for simplicity also informs our decision to create one washable paint for all surfaces instead of trim, primer, kitchen and bathroom and the multiple interior finishes they typically require.
We worked with digital agency Neverbland to build the platform for launch and are now growing the internal product team, led by Monika Tamics. Given colours look different on a range of screens we need to make sure the site shows the colours in different lightings and environments. Across site and social, we’re also convinced by the power of UGC to inspire and educational content to guide and reassure. We are excited to promote the voices of our customers, their diy projects and spaces.
We launched the business on the day the country was put into lockdown and despite the challenges it has been a successful start. With COVID-19 we have seen an increase in online adoption by customers and the focus has moved towards the home, due to remote working. Given this and the positive feedback on brand and products we decided to accelerate our funding round and raise a £3m seed round, which was led by Felix Capital, a digital-lifestyle focused venture capital firm which has previously backed leading global platforms such as Farfetch, Peloton, goop and Deliveroo. Felix was an obvious choice for us given their experience investing in leading consumer brands. We now have a great investment partner and are building an exceptional team to scale our growth across Europe and into new home decor verticals. We are excited by the challenge and look forward to making it easier for more people to positively impact their lives through decorating their spaces.