Thursday, January 21, 2021

Do not act like the boss, but like part of the team

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

Raumtastik is your virtual interior designer with photo-real 3D visualizations

Please introduce yourself and your startup Raumtastik to our readers!

I am Daniele Federico Melilli, born in Rome but living in Berlin, Germany, since 2008. I’m an interior designer by formation and profession. Interior design is my passion. It’s something I live and breathe every day. Many people wrongfully underestimate the importance of a nice aesthetically pleasing and functional surrounding. But I have seen the impact a beautifully designed interior can have time after time, whether it’s in their own homes, the office, a restaurant they visit, a store, or any other place.

And that’s why I absolutely love my job. Having the ability to transform the places people live and move in and as a result change how they feel in those spaces just feels like a little bit of magic sometimes. At the same time I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur, always keeping an eye on business opportunities and finding the next hot thing to invest in. I am also the founder and CEO of Raumtastik. 

Raumtastik is a collective of experienced, forward-thinking interior designers and specialists with the mission to bring inspiring, life-enhancing interiors within the reach of every person and organization. Gone are the times when interior design was only for the more wealthy. With Raumtastik everybody can be fortunate to live or work in the space of their dreams. No expensive fees, no outrageous markups. We provide affordable yet 100% customised designs, products and services with the power to change people’s world for the best, one room at a time. Our Professional interior design, 3D visualisations and one-click purchases, start from just €69. Moreover, we take care of everything. What was once a difficult and stressful process is now as easy as one, two, three. Literally!

How did you get the idea of Raumtastik?

Many people, and even businesses, dream of what their ideal home or office looks like but do not have the skills, time or inspiration they would need to visualize what that interior design of their dreams exactly looks like, let alone how to make it come true. Of course theoretically everyone can hire an interior designer. But in practice it is not that straightforward. Not necessarily because interior designer service fees can be pricey, but even much more so because people have the perception that these services are only for the wealthy and unaffordable for ‘normal’ people (people like myself). Very often friends would visit my place for brunch on a Sunday for example and tell me how much they would love to make their home look like mine – of course since interior design is my passion so my own home is my professional playground and pride.

When I told them I could help, their reaction very often indicated that they thought the kind of work I do is inaccessible for them. Moreover, in Germany the interior design profession is very much unknown and very often confused with what an architect does. So not only would people and businesses have the perception of design services being out of reach for them, many would not even know that this profession exists and what we do exactly. That got me thinking …. what if I can bring some more awareness to the interior designer profession in Germany, and find a way to change how our business is perceived by making professional interior design services affordably available to everyone. That is how the idea of Raumtastik was born.

Why did you decide to start with Raumtastik?

I noticed that there was a huge gap in Germany with regards to interior design. First of all people were largely unaware of the interior designer profession, causing them not to seek for professional help when seeking to create their ideal home or office interior design. But on top of that those people that do know what an interior designers is and does had the impression it was too expensive for their wallet. And you know what, they probably weren’t always completely wrong about the latter.

So I decided to start Raumtastik with the idea to change that and create a business model that would allow highly professional interior design services become available to everyone without under-valuing what we, interior designers, do. After investigating the idea with a series of people there seemed to be a very genuine interest in the market. So I went ahead and founded Raumtastik with the mission to empower everyone to transform their place, turning living spaces into true homes, making everyone’s world a better place one room at a time.

Raumtastik is your virtual interior designer with photo-real 3D visualizations

What is the vision behind Raumtastik?

Our vision is for Raumtastik to bring the interior design profession to the general public in Germany and other European countries and become the leading provider of domestic and commercial interior design services in the region. When people think or dream of their ideal interior design they should have Raumtastik on their mind, knowing that we will design the space they always wanted but could never really imagine.

Thanks to our way of working, providing detailed 3D design renders of the room, we allow our clients to visually see their ideas and dreams come through and what it means to transform the space around them, making it become a stunning expression and extension of who they are, what they like and what they stand for. For us it is all about empowerment and allowing our clients to take control of the environment they live and work in and improving their lives and well-being in the process.   

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?

Starting a business always comes with a series of challenges of course. 

One of the main challenges is definitely finding the right people to involve in the business and build a team that shares your passion, vision and mission. Top professionals who you can trust and who believe in what you set out to do. People that are passionate about the business, the idea, and the goal, feeling motivated by those factors above anything else.

Another challenge is definitely attracting investment funds. Investors can play a crucial role to allow your business to scale up and grow significantly faster. But of course investors only get on board when they see a clear short and long term potential at reasonable risk. Making sure your vision and the future potential of the business is clear can be challenging.  A clear business plan and strategy can go a long way however in making investors get on board and provide you with that push your business needs.

A third challenge is of course marketing and sales and making sure word gets out about your company once you are up and running. People need to know about you and what you do. Making your target audiences see the value of what you are providing can be tricky. 

In the case of Raumtastik  I was lucky to have some really amazing people in my network that immediately saw the value and potential of Raumtastik and felt very excited to join me on this journey. We started with three people and are now constantly growing on a monthly basis. Not just in terms of building the team but also when it came to getting investors on board we did not encounter many issues because our purpose and the potential of the business was very clear.

No one can deny the gap and need that exists when it comes to the services we provide not being sufficiently democratized, yet potentially benefiting many people if they were. Making that affordable and accessible thanks to our unique internal processes reshapes the industry and makes it available to everyone. That is revolutionary. From a marketing and sales perspective we feel lucky. Our work speaks for itself and the amount of organic and word-of-mouth advertising our work generates is just impressive. People visit our social media pages for example, see the quality of our work, and when they find out how affordable it is many of them quickly reach out to start finally creating their own dream home or office for the future.

Who is your target audience?

We have a very broad and diverse target audience because everyone can benefit from an amazing interior. What usually prevents people from getting this done on their own is lack of time, inspiration, vision, inspiration, specific skills or resources. Raumtastik slays all those hurdles in one gentle blow. So from working moms who want to build the perfect family home to young couples or single professionals living on their own,… from the quiet type to those that are the life of the party and love entertaining friends and family at home… basically everyone is a potential Raumtastik client.

Raumtastik is your virtual interior designer with photo-real 3D visualizations

Whether a person is highly style sensitive or the opposite, we offer something that anyone wants. It is a simple fact that a nice and appealing interior that fits people’s personality and lifestyle makes them feel more complete, more at home, and simply better. A nice home makes a person stand stronger in the outside world. So we do everything we can to empower people to build that nicer home and companies to create that more inspiring and productivity-enhancing company environment. Everyone who wants to come home and feel that ‘aaaaaah-feeling’, or any company that wants their workers to arrive at the office and feel like they are coming home, is part of our target audience. 

What is the USP of your startup?

What we do and how we do it is based on a few powerful ingredients. First and foremost: Raumtastik is for everyone who wants to build a better home. Everyone. When someone decide to share your dreams with us, we will match the person with a professional interior designer, a proactive support team and skilled specialists to design and implement the perfect home interior according to that person’s desires. What’s more is that our team will assist the client all the way in making his or her dream home a reality within the context we were provided with. Some of our USP’s include the below:

Budget-friendly

Our packages start for as little as €69 per room with designs tailored to the client’s style and budget. That way we make our designs affordable from start to finish and actual implementation.

100% personalized

Clients can collaborate with a designated designer to create the perfect room. One of greatest strength lies in our ability to understand people’s personalities, lifestyles and the space around them, and translate all that into the interior design that will make their living spaces feel like true homes. 

Full service

Once the design is finalized and approved, clients receive an interactive online shopping list to transform design into reality. That way they do not need to go finding the right furniture or decoration item themselves, as that can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. 

Professional 3D designs

Raumtastik is your virtual interior designer with photo-real 3D visualizations

All our designers are top-class experiences professionals providing realistic 3D designs making it super easy for people to image the interior we’re proposing to them. 

Easy & Fast

In just a few days our team will present clients with the home interior you always wanted

Exclusive items

Clients gain access to exclusive brands and design items at special pricing.

Can you describe your typical workday ?

I don’t really have a routine that I follow every day. The great thing of being an interior designer is that every day is different from the one before. 

After waking up and checking emails, I have breakfast and have a good coffee. I head to work, we have a 30 minutes meeting about the daily situation, the goals, the tasks, and everything that needs to be done that specific day. I then get on with my tasks. 

Often I go on showroom or stores visits, looking for products to use in our projects; though most of my time is spent with the design team putting together mood boards and creating interiors for our clients. In the afternoon I usually overlook the work of our 3D team, revise and correct renders, and consult with clients about their revisions.

I leave the office as late as I need to, often I stay in until 9pm.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Raumtastik in five years?

In five years we envision being the brand on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to redesigning homes and office spaces (and more coming, stay tuned) in a fast and jaw-dropping way. With hundreds of successful projects and many more to come, we see ourselves being the leading provider of interior design services in Germany and other select countries in which we plan to expand. We also want to become the reference for people searching for free practical advice, tips and tricks when it comes to homecare, home design and workspace design. From painting tutorials to styling-advice, our aim is to become the go-to partner for everything ‘interior design’.

What 3 tips would you give to founders?

Stay grounded, stay involved in the business and don’t be scared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands ‘dirty’ when needed. Don’t act like the boss, but like part of the team, willing and able to do the job everyone  and anyone in your team does. 

Focus on building the right team around you, they will be the people that help you take the company to new heights. No, you can’t do it alone.

Never ever compromise on quality: when clients are really satisfied your jobs of marketing what you do becomes so much easier. If your team doesn’t have enough time to deliver quality: get them better tools, scale back, find ways to lower costs without affecting your employees or quality of what’s being delivered, get more resources or roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches with your team! 

More information you will find here

Thank you Daniele Federico Melilli for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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