Today, I want to tell you a little bit more about one of the things I struggle with when it comes to shopping for my own home. I am incredibly indecisive. I think this mostly comes down to my journalism background. I love research and I’m really good at it. So when I’m looking for products for my own home, I never ever spot one I like and buy it there and then. Never. This just doesn’t happen.
Let me walk you through my thought process.
“Wow, I love that bedding. The colours are perfect for our bedroom. Maybe I should buy it?”
“Wait, but what if there is other bedding out there that I love more? What if another colour combination could work better? What if I can find something cheaper? I better keep looking!”
And this process is ENDLESS. I know deep down that the first thing I fall in love with is the thing I should buy and I should trust my instincts but I can’t seem to stop myself from continually looking, just in case there is something better, more suitable, cheaper, bigger, smaller and the list is endless.
So what happens is, I very rarely ever buy anything. The fear of choosing the wrong things can be crippling. Does anyone else get this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
If only there was a way to shop smarter, to search for an item and have all the options come up in one place. Nobody has time to search through tens of different websites in pursuit of the perfect coffee table, do they? I mean we’re all super busy people.
So imagine how happy I was when I discovered Kuldea. Founded by Deirdre Mc Gettrick and Ray Wright, Kuldea basically aims to be the Skyscanner of the furniture world. A furniture comparison site. A place where you can quickly and easily compare items and prices across a whole host of retailer websites without having to visit each one independently. I won’t go into too much detail here because Deirdre kindly agreed to tell us all about it.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Deirdre Mc Gettrick, I am 32 and I grew up on the west coast of Ireland in a village called Ballymote in County Sligo. It’s a relatively small town with about 2,000 people living there. My family owns a small clothing shop on the high street where I spent many years watching my Dad run the business and engage with his customers.
I am an avid reader and follower of all things interior design and my Mum would take me to the furniture stores around Sligo when I was younger to go through what styles we’d like to apply to our family home. We’d then go home and create those styles in scrapbooks so we had a blueprint of what we wanted to do. I was so passionate about interior design from such a young age.
Leaving home at 18, I studied Law & Accounting at University in Limerick and completed an MSc in Finance at Trinity College Dublin. I moved to London originally in 2008 for an eight-month internship during my undergraduate degree and then returned again in 2011 to work in the world of finance which has led me to set down my roots in the UK.
What were you and Ray doing before Kuldea?
Prior to starting Kuldea, I’d been working in the world of Investment Banking for HSBC. It’s been a fair step-change moving from that environment into launching my own online tech business.
Ray’s background is in SaaS (Software as a Service) where he worked for a rapidly growing marketing software company. He joined that business as a start-up and they took it global over six years so there was a lot of time spent travelling and expanding the company. His experience and contacts aligned quite nicely to what we required at Kuldea so Ray took the first step to leave his role and set about creating the business in the early days.
You founded Kuldea off the back of your own shopping frustrations, can you tell us more?
The idea for Kuldea came from my experience in furnishing my own apartment. I knew what I wanted through seeing furniture on Pinterest, Instagram, in magazines and whilst out in restaurants and cafes, but when it came to finding the items online, I found it so difficult to find them. I’d spend hours trying to search on Google and clicking through retailer website after retailer website after retailer website, it really was a painful, frustrating process.
After reviewing the problems I was having I thought to myself, ‘why isn’t there one website that aggregates all furniture across the market so I can search and find what I want in the easiest way possible? A place where I can find what I want and discover new and niche furniture retailers that I would never have found otherwise.’ It just didn’t exist, so I set about solving the problem by creating Kuldea with the vision of a website that helps everyone searching for furniture discover what they want, no matter how unique it is to them. It’s like what Skyscanner has done for flights or Airbnb for home rentals. Simple, valuable, informative and inspirational all in one for consumers and furniture retailers alike.
How exactly does Kuldea work? What’s the model?
We describe Kuldea as ‘The Home for Furniture Discovery’. Consumers visit the website and can dive straight into a search for specific furniture items, search furniture by room or browse through furniture products and interior design content to help them gain a greater idea of what they might like and where they can get it from.
Further to that we’ve built amazing functionality into Kuldea where consumers can favourite products, build out collections of products across multiple retailers (i.e. a collection of sofas to compare or a collection of living room furniture for a home furnishing project), set sales alerts on products so they are immediately informed by email if a product goes on sale and share products and collections with others so they can collaborate on purchasing decisions.
Once a consumer has found the product/ products they want, we provide them with a simple click to enter through to the product on the furniture retailer’s website where they can their purchase and make payment.
How do you choose which retailers to feature on Kuldea? Are there any requirements or requisites?
We tend to look at furniture retailers who are known for their quality and by that, I mean quality products and quality service. Because furnishing your home is such an emotive experience, we’re eager to ensure that the retailers found on Kuldea have a strong reputation for meeting customers needs.
There’s a really broad mix of retailers on the website from companies like John Lewis, Habitat and Maisons du Monde to smaller more niche companies like The French Bedroom Company, Graham and Green and OWO Living.
Overall Kuldea’s offering is that it brings the market breadth of choice so, as a consumer, you know you’ll find exactly what you want for your home.
Who do you see as your ideal customer? Can you describe them?
That’s a tough question as we service the needs of anyone searching for furniture to place in their home, so whether it’s furnishing an entire house or just replacing one item, Kuldea is the easiest and most effective way to do it. Regular website users are people aged between 25 and 45, many of whom have recently purchased a home or are upgrading their current home or a particular furniture item.
First time buyers are popular users as they like the top tips content articles helping them demystify the world of buying furniture for the first time. For example, who knew what an ottoman or divan was before going shopping for beds for the first time? Our top tips articles contain a lingo buster and key purchasing considerations to be cognisant of for not just the furniture product but also for the room as a whole.
Many people also use Kuldea to find smaller furnishings for their home and use the feature articles available on the website to keep up to date with new product releases and styles they might want to buy in the future such as passementerie.
What are your main objectives for Kuldea moving forward?
Our main objectives for Kuldea are continuing to grow and enhance the website in every way possible so that consumers and retailers really benefit from our work. We’re always speaking to new retailers and bringing them on board to showcase their brand and amazing products on Kuldea. There are so many interesting retailers out there and we want consumers to discover them.
For consumers, we’ll continue to enhance the website’s functionality and build new features that meet their needs. There are a lot of projects underway for the website which we know consumers will love so watch this space for the next exciting updates.
Overall, we feel happy if we have helped people find the perfect piece of furniture they are looking for in an easy and simple way.
Can you tell us about your own personal interiors style?
Firstly, my style has changed over time. I grew up in a colourful house, every kitchen cabinet was a different colour, blue, green, yellow, red…. I hated it and longed for neutrality. My desire for a neutral colour palette has been changed from my life experiences such as travelling where I was introduced to the beautiful colours of Alpaca wool in Peru. Today, my personal style is probably best described as minimalist and simple but with dashes of colour and texture thrown in. I am a particular fan of yellow/mustard colours and velvet textures at the moment.
What are your top tips for creating a home that reflects your personality and style?
I think there is a lot of pressure on people to follow trends and be en vogue with their design. My advice is to forget about whether your design is Instagram-worthy and instead create your space with you and those sharing the space in mind. The reason this is so important is that you are going to spend the most time in your home so it needs to give you maximum happiness. Yes, we all like our visitors to like our space and compliment us but they won’t be living in the space. Therefore, think about how you will use the space and ideally live in the space for a while before you furnish it.
I am a big fan of sustainable sourcing and being aware of the environmental impact of our purchases. Therefore I believe where possible we should choose high-quality products that will last a long time. If these products are going to be in our homes for a long time, you need to ensure you won’t get bored with that design, sticking with a more neutral design should overcome this. Then really imprint your style on your home through the softer furnishing that you can change over the years, think paintings, rugs, lampshades, cushions and throws. A new paint colour on the walls can have a dramatic impact on your home.
Overall, don’t be afraid to go rogue, take risks and follow your instincts, be selfish!
I’d like to thank Deirdre for taking the time to answer my questions and for sharing with us her vision for Kuldea and how the furniture comparison site can help us all have a better online shopping experience.
What do you guys think about Kuldea? Would this kind of furniture comparison site appeal to you? Could you see yourself using Kuldea to improve the way you shop for your home? Let me know in the comments below.