AN ONLINE furnishing retailer backed by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy is ramping up sales as it re- brands to capture a resurgence in the interior design market.
Founded five years ago by Kate Mooney, Glasgow-based Occa-Home will begin trading as Houseology.com from the end of this month. The new strategy, including a revamped website, is expected to deliver a surge in turnover, currently running at £5 million a year.
“We are looking to double that year-on-year for the next three years, which is what we have achieved for the last five years,” Mooney said.
The company – which employs 45 people – is betting on rising demand for high-end interior design similar to the trend seen in the fashion industry during the past few years. The new Houseology website will include expert articles, how-to guides and videos to help customers make the right choice for their home.
The move follows a £1.28m fund-raising closed in November of last year and backed in part by Leahy, who acts as an adviser to Houseology. The cash injection also involved fund manager Artemis, a consortium of private equity houses, technology entrepreneur Bill Dobbie and William Currie Group, which backed online fashion store Asos.
Mooney started the retail interior design business in 2010 following a plunge in sales at Occa Design – her hotel interiors consultancy – in the wake of the recession. She still runs Occa Design, so the new brand will give each operation its own distinct identity.
“The past five years have been a whirlwind of pushing boundaries in the interior design retail space and with Houseology.com comes the next chapter for Occa-Home – a business that is run by a passionate, innovative and expert team,” she said.
About one-fifth of Houseology’s sales are generated outside the UK. Customers are typically females from homes with an average household income of £60,000.
Going forward, Mooney said that she would like to broaden the range to entice customers from sightly lower income brackets.