For some, the confinement was an endless parade of bingeing and bingeing. Not for Jake Arnold. The 31-year-old interior designer who made THRThe list of the 20 best designers of 2019, managed to launch the virtual platform The Expert (theexpert.com) with businessman Leo Seigal (co-founder of Represent, Pop & Suki and Prizeo).
The site connects interior designers directly with consumers for consultation video calls. It offers unprecedented access to a list of 100 names, including Hollywood favorites Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Jamie Bush, Joy Moyler, Kishani Perera, DISC Interiors, Jeff Andrews, and Woodson & Rummerfield. Arnold revealed it while working on projects for high-profile clients, including John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Whitney Cummings, Aaron Paul, Rashida Jones, Dan Levy, and MRC executive Mike Mahan.
“When the designers heard that Jake was attached, they wanted to get involved right away,” says Seigal, whose lightbulb moment was sparked by the many unread Instagram posts on Arnold’s account asking for decorating tips.
“Electronic design is usually very cheesy,” says Arnold. “I was really worried because I thought there was no way something effective could happen in a video chat.” But, he admits, “it turns out that everything that seems pretty standard to me is information that the average consumer doesn’t have.”
Since its launch in February, The Expert has received thousands of calls from clients around the world, including SNL’s Chloe Fineman, who is decorating her West Village home under the direction of Australia-based Tali Roth. Prices, set by designers, range from $ 400 to $ 2,500 per session.
In March, The Expert raised $ 3 million, with investors including WndrCo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Forerunner Ventures, Sweet Capital, Promus Ventures, and Golden Ventures. Brigette Romanek, who is an investor in the platform and one of the designers available through the site, says Brigette Romanek, “I joined The Expert to help more people create spaces that they will love to live in, and it has been gratifying to see them. experience breakthroughs in reality. -weather.”
Seigal attributes the interest in the platform to Arnold’s dazzling style. Its discreet and welcoming spaces showcase elegant woodwork and furnishings that resonate against saturated walls. “In California, you are surrounded by light,” says Arnold. “Sometimes you want to have a place in your house that is a bit moody.” It is an approach driven by his childhood in London: “Growing up surrounded by beautiful architectural elements gave me an appreciation for the depth and longevity that I bring to my work.”
A version of this story first appeared in the October 6 issue of Newzpanda magazine. Click here for subscribe.