Your best idea will come from the most unexpected situation. Get lost from time to time.
Tea and Alberto are two inseparable visionaries in their early 30s who merged their field of knowledge, e-commerce and interior design to build the first online Italian interior design firm serving the world, despite the worldwide industry trend of professional networks.
Since their first meeting on a domestic Italian flight 3 years ago they started thinking about how people manage their interior renovation projects, small or big, which is basically through online shops, physical
stores/showrooms or professional interior designers or companies.
It looked like a highly fragmented market with several specific customer behaviours for any given country.
They founded Restylit at the end of 2018 as a back-to-the-roots strong alternative to furniture e-commerce giants and professional networks. An authentic interior design firm with its own interior designers and its own classy syle recognized all over the world, they soon realized they were building a high qualitative brand with a strong signature, Innovative enough to compete, but more authentic and affordable.
With Restylit you can get your interiors signed by an Italian interior design firm on a budget, you can shop online with free support and tips from a talented interiors team and you can boost your hospitality business through their interior services.
Where did the idea for Restylit come from?
When Alberto and I met on a plane back in 2016, we soon became interested in each other’s jobs and started talking about e-commerce and interior design. He was reading a nice interiors magazine where an interior design firm was showing their latest incredible private home renovation. The final cost was clearly written and I thought, “Okay, I won’t do it, it’s too much” and he answered: “You really don’t understand the power of living in a nice, comfy place? The cost doesn’t matter – you just have to do it. ”I waited, smiling, and said: “I bet I can do the same with a fifth of that sum by buying furniture online…”
And that’s how the Restylit idea was born: a place where we all can get top design help on our fai da te project while buying furniture online.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day at Restylit HQ is like a rollercoaster.
It starts with an early morning briefing around 8 a.m., with 30 minutes spent focusing on our main tasks.
We start with help requests from all over the world. These are people asking for help with buying from our furniture shop. Then it’s time for the team to focus on what we love: interior design projects! They are revised by Tea as head of projects.
We use the last part of our day to plan and schedule the next one,while also discussing new ideas and how to develop them. We started with very different daily habits and I still can’t tell who was more productive at the beginning,but now we do know what works best for us: a strong daily organization and full commitment to success.
How do you bring ideas to life?
They come overnight or when we’re not concentrating on daily tasks. If it’s about our daily job then our team is like a volcano! Every day we come up with a new approach, a new style to spread or, if we are looking at the bigger picture from the founders’ side we love to get lost, literally. We used to break up our daily routine with long nature walks to stop focusing on our jobs and start thinking about our bigger life goals.
Did you read how we founded the company? This is exactly how we come up with new ideas!
What’s one trend that excites you?
We’re curious about Virtual/Augmented Reality as it might be game-changing. Technology has taken a big step forward in the past two years. It would be great to literally immerse customers inside their new spaces with the help of our team. It could be a powerful experience for any customer.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Wake up early in the morning, wake up earlier than others with an organized agenda, and don’t go to bed until you’ve checked off every point of the list.
As Restylit founders we use to get up early than 6 am to respect our daily schedule and get things done.
Getting things done means being productive. When you start a business the road will be full of challenges; you won’t overcome all of them. What can save you and help you to achieve your goals is just getting things done day by day, hour by hour. These dots will connect you to the future.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start a business! Any business you may have in mind, one of all your crazy ideas. You have a lot to learn. Surround yourself with inspiring people. You need the most positive vibes to overcome your life’s challenges. Create a fertile environment around you, living in a place where positive energy and ideas are eager to be born. This is crucial, especially if you’re living somewhere where it’s tough to “do it big”. What’s around you contributes to defining you so…pay attention!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The first thing coming to our mind is about our native country, Italy, where people don’t believe in online interior design. Almost no one does.
It’s because we are a conservative country which always need more time to embrace the change. Well it wasn’t easy to start this business here!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never stop doing. It might seem an obvious assumption but it’s not true. When you’re launching a startup you often have full days (and nights) with an infinite to-do list which need a constant switch from task A to task B. It’s easy to panic after seeing a massive to-do list, but you must do everything you planned for your day or you’re not gonna win over the beast!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When we entered the business we were almost bankrupt. We’d spent 80% of our budget on website development and to establish the company. Daily connections with our (very small) IG audience seemed to be the best way to understand our business potential.
It was a homemade, handmade marketing approach which resulted in our very first customer: the owner of a beautiful Milan flat who needed help rethinking the interior design and furnishing her apartment without spending a fortune. Well, she was exactly our persona!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
At the very beginning of our journey we were asked by a fashion shop owner to design the spaces of his new store. He was one of those old-school Italian entrepreneurs who usually takes advantage of others – but we badly wanted to start our business and doing it big. We designed the shop with beautiful furniture from an exclusive collection. It turned out he was asking to pay far less then our project value. Moreover, he didn’t want us to publish our project on social media, because he was scared other shops in town would ask us to do the same for them…which was exactly our goal!! What a beginner’s mistake!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Think about social security. Think about how powerful could be if we all had the chance of contributing to a better world with real time feedback on potentially dangerous events and classifying streets and areas based on risky events…you can become a superhero! If there’s someone interested out there we can work together on it!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We went to Chamonix some months ago to spend the weekend in the beautiful Alps. Our friend offered to rent his flat to us for less than $100, so we went for it. The view was amazing, the flat was quite good but not…amazing. We realized that many owners in the area were renting those kinds of accommodations for as much as $200 per night just because they have lots of tourists.
How much could our friend have earned with a soft interior design intervention? Let’s say a couple of pieces of furniture and a new wall colour…perhaps double. This is how we implemented our temporary rent dedicated services.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Tomato timer! We use it to stay focused on our daily tasks. Very useful!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
You should read any book regarding motivation, self discipline, finance, business, startup…with a critical mind. Today we want to suggest you “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink to teach yourself something about self discipline and hard work.
What is your favorite quote?
“Off the beaten track” , to find your identity to come up with your best ideas.
- It’s hard to start a business in a place where it’s hard to find your persona. It means you need to educate or evolve your customer. It’s hard but if you make it you’ll be innovating the market.
- Your best idea will come from the most unexpected situation. Get lost from time to time.
- Hard work pays off, if you really believe in something you can make it real!
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.