Design Junkies Launch Virtual Mecca for Home Décor
By Alisa Gould-Simon for Notes on a Party
Susan Feldman and Alison Gelb Pincus are the kind of entrepreneurs that any self-respecting home enthusiast envies. From arranging their own flowers, to creating home accoutrements fit for a spread on Design*Sponge seemingly out of thin air, the business partners definitely have a knack for home décor. Fortunately, with their new online venture, One Kings Lane, they’re sharing both their design savvy as well as access to discounted home décor items, from furniture to flair.
The members-only site is essentially to home décor what Gilt is to clothing. From marked down, etching-embellished pillows from John Robshaw, Royal Doulton Flatware and Alora Ambiance Soy Candles, to decorating tips from designer Kenneth Brown, the new site is fast becoming a go-to destination for both home goods and advice on how to fashion your abode. Feldman and Gelb Pincus have no doubt discovered a completely unoccupied niche in the retail market; and, given their vast plans for expansion, it looks as though they’ll be occupying the seat for some time.
How would you describe your entertaining style?
AGP: I always strive for perfection. I like to do things in an elegant, last-century way but my husband is very casual so we have to come to a happy medium. I love a three or four-course sit down meal with a fun dessert. There are great artisanal bakeries in San Francisco, like Tartine.
SF: I moved to Los Angeles after living in Manhattan for many years and my husband and I have found it a great opportunity to entertain more. It’s almost seasonal: in the fall and winter we tend to have dinner parties, and once the nice weather comes we set up outdoors. I love mixing elements, like bringing nice crystal outside when we are barbequing. I always do my floral arrangements myself. I’ll also put lemons in a glass cylinder with sunflowers. Sometimes the simpler things are the nicest.
How did you come up with the concept for the site?
SF: The idea came from an apparel model, like Gilt. I was fascinated by this new channel of distribution, and Ali was aware of it as well, but I was also wondering, ‘how come no one is doing this for the home?’ I’m a home enthusiast. We felt that there really was a market out there for this. My daughter in NYC just overheard two friends talking about how One Kings Lane is their new obsession. We want it to be people’s obsession.
Tell me about the advice aspect of the site…
SF: When we decided to do this business, our friends who had seen me do floral arrangements with cranberries asked, ‘are you going to talk about how you do things like that?’ It gave us the idea to feature design experts on the site who can provide members with tips. We realized the stuff we take for granted a lot of people don’t know.
AGP: Like using your decanters for mouthwash.
SF: Yeah, I put mouthwash in crystal decanters in the bathroom because I had all of these decanters that I never used.
What’s a great home gift for a host or hostess?
SF: I’m obsessed with this beautiful leather bound guest book that’s on the site right now. So, whoever comes through can sign it and make a notation; it’s sort of retro, but people are getting back to spending more time in their homes with what’s going on. And it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily go out and buy for yourself.
AGP: I used to do candles and then I moved over to diffusers. We give a lot of wine, which my husband collects. I also bring flowers, because I love to get people arrangements.
What’s an inexpensive way to give your home a face-lift?
SF: I think new pillows for the sofa is an easy thing. Maybe also a beautiful throw that you can toss over a chair; those two things can completely change the look of a room.
AGP: Our expert Kenneth Brown just wrote about painting the walls, and rearranging rooms, which can change the entire feel of the house..
How do you envision the site evolving in the future?
SF: I think it will expand in a couple of different ways – products for one: from candles to furniture, inside to outside. We’re starting to do other aspects of the home. The back end of the site is the ‘get inspired’ section that will evolve into not just 5 written tips but maybe experts on video setting a table, making floral arrangements, and accessorizing a room properly.
AGP: We’re also going to have really amazing puppy things down the road. We’re gradually going to fill in the holes.
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