When I moved to Istanbul in 2008, I knew little about rugs. (Mehmet, on the other hand, was raised in the trade.) Yet despite my ignorance, the moment I landed, I started getting requests — requests for information on acquiring rugs, on their quality, where to buy them, how to avoid overpaying, you name it — from all sorts of friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of family members, from all over America.
For people who make a career of asking questions about how products and services can be better, we had to start asking: Is it really that hard to buy a nice, handmade rug in America? The answer, it turns out, was yes. And the path to Floorplan was born.
There are a host of challenges any new business faces, but the one that we wanted to tackle was to make it easy for people to buy handmade rugs confidently. Our biggest obstacles? A huge product learning curve. Despite the fact that most people have some kind of rug in their home, they know little about what makes them good/bad, unique/iconic, expensive/cheap. The rug industry, as a trade, has made huge profits off this lack of knowledge. So not only do we have to overcome the learning curves, but to overcome a trust issue that runs deep in the industry.
For a design company that consults on how to build web sites, brands and tell compelling stories, what better opportunity than to build a venture centered around solid design principles?
It’s been a year since we launched Floorplanrugs.com, and there has quite literally been too much implemented to recount it here. Instead, we’ll focus on the philosophies and principles that have guided our decision-making.
- Be lean when possible.
- Take advantage of valuable opportunities, even if it throws you off schedule.
- Double down on early successes.
- Know what makes us different and invest in it.
- Build the list. Build the list. Build the list.
- KPIs should be personal.
- Be comfortable when uncomfortable.
- Make change a part of your practice.
- Be authentic.
- Our online store at floorplanrugs.com turns 1 on February 15 (!!!)
- We now have two locations: a retail spot at Urban Americana in Long Beach, and a showroom in DTLA’s LA Mart to service design professionals’ commercial and residential projects
- We sell rugs through third-party marketplaces like Houzz and Google
- We have been awarded Houzz’s Best in Service and been officially Recommended by the Houzz Community (an honor only bestowed upon 3% of Houzz pros)
- We launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to modernize the design of new rugs through crowdsourcing (both the designs and the funding)
- We were featured in Apartment Therapy for our downtown loft, outfitted exclusively in Floorplan rugs
STILL SO MUCH TO DO and so much to learn. I’ll admit: we have been tireleslly hustling this year, trying to get this company off the ground — and the only reason we have gotten to where we are is by shaking off missteps, staying focused on our goals and listening to others’ advice and stories with open ears.
One year is not a long time to be in business and a lot can happen. Here’s hoping and working toward a bright future!