By Lauren Ferrone
Adelaide businesswoman Carli Harrison is connecting online consumers with local home ware retailers on her new style board website Design it Yourself.
With South Australian software developer Axios, Carli has created a blank style board where consumers can select from a range of interior products, wall colours and floor coverings to create room designs.
“It’s not an e-commerce site. What we’re doing is promoting retailers – not just in South Australia, but around the country – and sending consumers back to the retailer’s website to purchase products and services,” Carli says.
“When the design is finished, the selected items go into a shopping list and are linked to the retailer’s websites,” she adds.
“There’s a really great retailer interface where retailers have an account to upload all of their in-trend products themselves. There is a rotation of stock, so it’s not just the same old thing.”
“When I first started this project, I was excited by the prospect of promoting South Australian owned and made products,” she says.
“Design it Yourself also features a range of Australian retailers, but I try to specifically concentrate on South Australia where I can.
“I try to do anything I can to promote local; everything from my brand and website design by Currie Street’s creative branding agency Verity and marketing coaching from Matt Pepper from Pepper Content.”
The South London-born businesswoman, who moved to Adelaide more than a decade ago, gave up her job in Human Resources earlier this year to embark on the project.
“I’ve worked in retail, so I know online is slowly becoming more popular when it comes to consumer purchases,” she says.
Carli’s inspiration behind Design it Yourself came after hours of cutting images from magazines and sticking them into her scrapbook while re-designing her home for sale.
“I really love doing up rooms and homes; it’s more of a hobby,” Carli says.
“There are a lot of places to find inspiration, especially online like Pinterest; but, it’s more difficult to put something together whereby you can then actually obtain those items you’re using within a design,” she adds.
Despite existing online style and inspiration boards, Carli says Design it Yourself is for both the consumer and retailer.
“I also wanted to keep it simple in a 2D flat lay design so it would be easy to use without thinking too much about dimensions,” she says.
Watch below how Design it Yourself works
With business support from Mawson Lake’s Polaris Centre, Carli says creating a startup in Adelaide has been positive.
“It did cross my mind about whether I was going to be able to do this in Adelaide; was this the best place to start a business like this?” she asks.
“… but as soon as people know you’re from Adelaide, and you’re trying to do something good for Adelaide, they do get behind you… it’s been very supportive,” she says.
“I’ll feel like I’ve got somewhere when a retailer calls me and says ‘I’ve seen Design it Yourself and I’d like to be part of it.”
Carli plans to expand the number of South Australian retailers using Design it Yourself and a smartphone version is expected to launch in the new year.
Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.