When it comes to design, something that seems to be more and more in tune with the world nowadays is consignment shopping. There have even been reality series about this movement such as VH1’s “House Of Consignment” and Style Network’s “Resale Royalty” just to name a few. When it comes to buying and selling one of a kind furniture and accessories, there is a one stop place to go to via online or in person that has it all- Viyet. On Viyet’s official site, they describe themselves as “The design aficionado’s destination to buy and sell timeless furniture and accessories. We make it easy for owners of high-end furniture to sell their pieces when it comes time to move or redecorate. For shoppers, we offer access to designer brand names at a fraction of retail prices.” What is even better for Manhattanites is that on top of Viyet’s fantastic site they also opened up a pop up shop here in NYC (read below for more details). Oh and luxury shopping on a budget, how can you resist?
I was fortunate enough to sit down with the fabulous CEO Liz Brown to learn more about Viyet, how they came up with the name, what the company is all about and what they see for their future. Take a gander.
Thanks for meeting with me Liz! Tell me more about Viyet?
Viyet is an online marketplace for buying and selling high-end designer furniture. We provide individual sellers, interior designers, and showrooms a full service solution for selling furniture and accessories they no longer need. Our products represent the very top echelon of the home furnishings market, which includes brands like Holly Hunt, Hickory Chair, Baker, Knoll, and many others that are largely only available for purchase by interior designers and at prices that are not accessible to the vast majority of design lovers. By providing a resale channel for the owners of these brands, we are able to offer sellers the opportunity to recoup some of their furniture investment when it comes time to move or redecorate. Just as importantly, we are able to provide online access to brands that would otherwise be out of reach for the average consumer, all for 40-70% below retail prices. We offer the added benefit of instant gratification, as all of these brands typically require a 4-5 month wait for delivery versus 1-2 weeks through Viyet. We also pride ourselves on our full-service, white glove approach. We personally vet every item that is listed on our site, which allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every piece we feature as well as offer best-in-class customer service, since we control every aspect of the process from photography to pricing to pickup and delivery.
Such an interesting name for a company. Where did you come up with it?
Viyet (pronounced VEE-yet) is a play on the design term ‘vignette,’ or the arrangement of various decorative objects to add character to a living space. We believe the term reflects our mission to inspire Interior Redesign by connecting sellers of great design with buyers looking for their perfect piece.Consignment shops seem to be all the rage lately when it comes to shopping, however most of that is done in person!
Will clients feel the same way when they are doing this online?
We understand that many people are not used to purchasing pre-owned furniture online, so we make every effort to provide detailed condition reports, high resolution photography, and access to our curator team so our buyers can get a true sense of the product. For your readers based in New York, we also just launched a popup shop in the FLOR showroom in Soho at 142 Wooster Street. Here, you can see Viyet product that has been styled into shop-able vignettes by top designers J+G Design and Patrick Hamilton on view until January 2015.
What kind of designers are customers expected to see on Viyet?
You will find a broad range of to-the-trade only and showroom brands like Holly Hunt, Knoll, Baker, and Hickory Chair. We also feature a wide selection of mid-century pieces from iconic names like T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbing and Knoll, which are all the rage right now, as well as more contemporary brands like Kartell and B&B Italia. Luxury and budget never seem to go hand in hand, however in Viyet’s case this seems to work.
Can you shop luxury on a budget through the site?
Absolutely! That’s the great thing about Viyet – you can find unique, high quality pieces from respected brands that are made to last for generations, but at prices comparable to what you would pay for brand new items from more mass market sources. We also offer a feature that allows you to make an offer for the highest price you are willing to pay for an item on our site. Our consignors are often open to negotiating, which means we are able to offer the best possible deals to our buyers while also keeping our consignors happy.
What is Viyet doing consignment wise now that the Holiday Season is in full swing?
Now that everyone is focused on holiday entertaining prep, we are seeing a lot of people looking to update their dining areas. We are seeing consignors bringing us more accessories as they look to streamline their tabletops. Meanwhile, buyers are coming to us in droves shopping for dining tables and chairs to make extra space for holiday guests. We have tried to make it a little easier by showcasing some of our favorite holiday-inspired finds here.
I read on Venturebeat that you raised 1.5 million dollars for the site. Congrats, that’s huge! What advice do you give to our business savvy readers on how to raise money for something you are passionate about?
Give yourself at least 6 months to complete the process. It takes a while to find the right investors who understand your vision and who you are excited to work with for the next several years. And don’t get too attached to your pitch. If a certain slide or sound bite isn’t resonating that way you envisioned, adjust it or find a different angle. Have the flexibility to adapt as you go along. I think I have something like 36 different versions of our seed investor deck!
What are your ultimate hopes for the website and where do you see yourself a year from now?
Our mission is to become the #1 online destination for design insiders when it comes time to sell their furniture or shop for amazing finds. This time next year, our goal is to have our consignment services fully operational in both New York and one additional city, which will be announced in early 2015, and on track to open a third city by the end of 2015.
Viyet is also offering a HUGE deal for all of our Manhattan Digest readers!! If you click on this link you will be entered to win a $250 credit to Viyet’s official site. Something that is great just in time for the holidays! For more information about Viyet as a whole, visit their official website.