Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a truly unique guy.
Sal Matteis is not a high end interior designer or a superstar architect, but he does happen to be in the process of revolutionizing the design world.
He’s one of the creators of a site called Milkster that matches up some of the world’s best and most creative furniture designers with the customers who want them. Finally, if there’s a perfect piece that could make your home complete, you can browse through almost unlimited selections to find the one that works best.
We’re not talking the brand name stuff that everyone can get their hands on. This is furniture made by true independent artisans. It’s like you have access to every boutique on earth all at once.
I blogged about Milkster a while back, but of course that wasn’t enough for me. I had to ask Sal if I could interview him here on our blog. Fortunately for all of us, he said yes.
Steven: What inspired you to start Milkster?
Sal: As consumers we were frustrated because we were being continually exposed to mass-branded home design – we call it a ‘home with no face’. It is ironic that as a society we are used to paying high prices for pieces of design where so little is known about what’s behind the product. I mean, we place this furniture in our homes – the most personal space we have.
As we started looking deeply at it we realized that design-innovation has been stuck for a long time. It takes months and multiple steps to bring a product from design to production. And when it does, the designer-maker completely loses relevance. Most importantly his personal story – the unique story behind his creations gets lost. Ironically in a time where innovation is at the core of a new generation of products, so much talent was wasted.
Steven: Give us a very short description of how you turned it from an idea into reality?
Sal: Karim Amrani and I have been building apps and products for years. However it always takes a leap of faith that the vision you set can be realized.
We started talking with people who we identified as our potential customers and asked them how they see their homes and quality interior design. What do they look for and what frustrated them.
In parallel we started talking with designers/makers and started to collect their thoughts, ambitions and frustrations. The deeper we went, the more we realized something was broken and that we could help.
As we were speaking with architects and interior designers, they were reiterating how fundamental it is for their clients to style their homes according to their personal taste. ‘Home is a mirror of who you are,’ is what they’d tell us.
Armed with a product prototype, tons of feedback and a few business angels backing us, we both focused our 200% on Milkster and brought in incredible team members who believed in the same vision.
Steven: How do you see Milkster changing the interior design landscape in the future?
Sal: Interior design is about making your home truly yours. Milkster is perfectly positioned to help interior designers and home owners in finding that perfect fit – innovation meets personalization.
Steven: How can high end interior designers best make use of Milkster and other online technologies?
Sal: The Internet has broken barriers and internet-enabled technology permeates all aspects of life. While it was once believed to be the realm of few techno-enthusiasts – over the part 10 years we have seen a total explosion of tech.
We believe that online tech can accelerate the process of sharing information and help being great ideas to bear. The thing we are more excited about is the idea of accelerated innovation and co-creation.
At its core Milkster is a co-creation platform. It enables customers, interior designers and designers to participate in the creation of finished products by enabling the direct connection. Design Ideas/products that are well received will available and iterated upon more quickly based on the direct feedback designers receive from the market.
Interior designers will be able to use platforms like Milkster to visualize new personalized solutions and contribute to the creation of new products,
Steven: What advice would you give to someone having trouble making interior design decisions for their own home?
Sal: Our advice is to be yourself and look for interior design solutions that fit who you really are. Consulting an interior designer that you can connect with can help greatly in identifying solutions that fit your style and budget.