We love being part of the interiors community and getting to cheer on the amazing designers we know as they build their careers. But while our stories usually focus on the big design decisions and favorite furnishings, we know there is so much that goes on behind the scenes from billing to building a brand. Let us just say, we hear you, it’s hard!
Luckily, Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg heard you too. That’s why these two ladies are the Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Ivy Mark. Ivy provides a full set of tools for interior designers to manage their business through a modern and intuitive platform. From presentations to clients, purchase tracking and payouts to vendors- Ivy streamlines the entire process involved in these firms’ projects. Firms sign-up to Ivy through their website by selecting one of three payment plans — all plans include unlimited projects, products, team members and free support. Once firms join, Ivy imports all of their client and vendor information to the platform and even offers complimentary training sessions for their team! Speak of great customer support. Plus, there is an amazing online community of interior designers sharing advice and support with each other. We spoke with Alex and Lee to learn more!
What inspired you to start Ivy?
Alex: We recognized that interior designers were burning out and losing steam because they were running their business like it was still the ‘90s — and we wanted to change that. Our goal here at Ivy is to empower interior designers with modern tools and a powerful community to give them the confidence and resources to get them back to what they love most, design.
Ivy is more than software. How do you foster community and why is that important to you?
Lee: We’re so much more than just a software! Yes, Ivy is the fastest growing tech company in the interior design space – and that’s largely because we have a kickass software product… but Ivy’s key to growth isn’t just stemming from that. Ivy has created a unique community — what we term the “Ivy Family” — and this has sparked a “Knowledge Exchange” amongst our members that doesn’t exist anywhere else. We invest just as many resources into our tech abilities, as we do fostering a tight-knit community — I believe this is one of our key value props to our members. You see? We even call our users “members” — because that’s how we see them. They’re not just signing up to use a product, they’re belonging to something greater than that — they’re joining the Ivy family.
When we say this, we mean this, literally. Ivy is a community and software built for interior designers, by interior designers. Every feature currently available to Ivy Designers comes from suggestions and feedback submitted by our community. Our job is to listen, and listen hard. As Ivy members, firms gain access to exclusive deals from leading industry partners such as freight companies, accountants, purchasing agents & vendors.
What sparked your interest in interior design?
Alex: We’ve always been passionate about solving complex problems for creative industries. Before Ivy, we ran ArtSetters, a B2B marketplace for home decor vendors to connect with buyers. The most active buyers were interior designers, which made us look at the industry more closely. They we realized that the industry was lacking a modern solution for firms to run our business efficiently. I came from the space and Lee’s background is in tech- it was the magic combination needed to turn this idea into a winning success. There’s a synergy between our backgrounds, interests, and skillsets that has enabled us to tackle this space in a way that hasn’t been done before. We’re not simply thinking in terms of how interior designers can just do things better, we’re thinking about how can we evolve the industry entirely!
What has been your biggest challenge as entrepreneurs?
Lee: As two female founders in a male-dominated tech world, we’ve had our set of challenges. Design, blonde, feminine – these aren’t things you see around Silicon Valley too often. We founded the Female Founders Forum as a side passion project to equip other women with the right tools to succeed at work- a concept which also strongly resonates with our Ivy community who is largely female. Although it can be a pain in the butt to be an outlier, you can tweak it into your advantage — we’re gaining quite a lot of experience at doing this.
Designers, check out Ivy Mark here.