The founding members of ZOOM Interiors are Madeline Fraser (Marketing Director), Beatrice Fischel-Bock (Business Director), and Lizzie Grover (Creative Director).
We met in our first interior design course at George Washington University. We became friends instantly and worked together for the next 3 years of design school learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We went abroad our junior year and our friends back home were graduating and getting their first jobs. They were all asking for our design help for their apartments. Through helping them, three things stood out to us.
1. We were able to help them with their apartment virtually overseas.
2. They were on a budget.
3. They had quick timelines and wanted instant gratification.
It dawned on us that this is clearly an underserved part of the market. The design industry had just been shaken by the recession and people were very conscious about affordability. We decided to try our new formula with paying customers. We had the luxury of testing our company while still in college. Two years later here we are developing technology to bring our services to the masses.
What is your business model, and what problem is it solving?
ZOOM interiors is the completely virtual interior design service. Our mission is to revolutionize interior design by making it accessible and affordable to everyone through our online platform.
When we founded ZOOM interiors, there weren’t options for people on a budget, let alone living a busy lifestyle. We felt that there wasn’t an easy and affordable outlet for interior design. We felt the best way to do that was by bringing it online.
Who is your target customer/demographic?
We work with all kinds of clients across the country. We have found our target demographic to be Millennials. Our average client is in their mid-late 20’s, early 30’s.
When did you earn your first revenue, and how did that feel for the founding team?
Our first project was with a client named Gracey. She was our guinea pig, so to speak. We transformed her space in under one month for only $1,400. Seeing that transformation and hearing from her how happy she was with her new space made us feel like this was really a service that could help people and really work. It was an incredible feeling and has kept us going ever since. Gracey was so ecstatic about her new space that she blabbed to all of her co-workers about the design. Her boss decided to get ZOOMed and they bonded over their mutual love of the brand. They recently got engaged and have enlisted us to ZOOM their new home together.
Tell us about your Shark Tank experience. Why did you decide to do it, how did you apply?
We decided to apply on a total whim. We never thought in a million years that we would actually get on the show. We just believed in our business idea and decided to share it with Shark Tank. We had luck on our side because we happened to email them about ZOOM interiors during their pre-production month when they were scouting out companies to apply. We scrambled and got our application and audition video in one week before the 40,000 others applied. Seriously, sheer luck!
How long did you have from the time you found out you would be on the show, to the time you had to present?
The application process alone took about six months to complete. We kept slowly moving to the next level until finally they were like okay we are flying you guys to LA. We pitched to the Sharks in June of 2014, almost one year ago and the episode just aired on May 8th 2015.
How long was the filming process?
We were in the Tank talking with the Sharks for about one hour! It was a long and intense conversation but we felt that we got invaluable advice and guidance that has helped us grow our company since then.
Who was your favorite Shark?
Going in we had our heart set on either Mark or Barbara but we really didn’t have any expectations. Our main goal was to find a mentor and gain as much advice as possible. Every Shark had some great advice and seemed very invested in the idea and business concept.
Did you have any social time with the Sharks?
Did you seek out advice from others on the show?
We sought out advice when we found out our episode was going to air. We called a few companies that had been on the show in the past to find out how their experience was after their episode aired. Everyone we reached out to was incredibly kind and helpful. The Shark Tank community is very supportive.
Did you get any advice from the Shark Tank producers?
We absolutely loved our producers. They were so fun and easy to work with and were incredibly supportive throughout the entire process. They kept us calm, level-headed, and walked us through the entire process. They also helped us clearly craft our pitch.
We really thought the entire process was a lot of fun when I think we expected it to be much more scary. Everyone was so kind and supportive.
How long was the actual pitch, how did you think it went in hindsight, were you surprised you got funding?
The pitch was about an hour. We went in there and received advice from some of the most well-known, successful business minds. The whole experience was priceless in our eyes. The Sharks were invested in the idea, thought it was a great concept, and it really seemed like they wanted to help and guide us.
How long was it from the time you filmed the show to the time it aired, and did you keep it a secret?
It was 11 months! A very long time coming. Yes, we kept the secret for that entire time, if you can believe it.
Today, what is the focus of Zoom Interiors – do you have any employees other than the founding team?
We have brought on two other employees and have about 5 interns on the team right now. We are taking Mark Cuban’s advice and have been “grinding” for the past 11 months to grow this company.
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