Luxury e-commerce operator launched in the UK in November, providing a platform for high-end designers, brands and retailers to sell their luxury homeware and furniture online. Furniture News’ Victoria Noakes spoke to LuxDeco CEO and founder, Jonathan Holmes, to find out more about the members-only site.

Offering its members a personalised shopping experience by presenting high-end homeware collections uniquely curated by a team of interior designers and stylists, LuxDeco aims to cater to the increasing consumer demand for luxury furniture online – as discovered by its in-house research. Through a mix of exclusive, high-quality products, a dedicated magazine and customised picks – chosen in accordance with the shopper’s individual taste and style – LuxDeco helps its members to make informed purchasing decisions.

“Physical retail stores and the high street in general are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the growing demands to cater for a multitude of unique tastes and styles at one time. While people do want beautiful things in their homes, the choice in-store can often be confusing, daunting, time-consuming and hard work,” says Jonathan.

“I started LuxDeco after successfully testing the model with my previous venture, Ikandi Interiors. I spotted a gap in the luxury market when looking to furnish my own home, and worked with a leading interior designer to create Ikandi which has proved the demand for luxury furniture e-commerce. After noticing customers wanted a more personal service and advice when making their purchases, the LuxDeco concept was born.”

Created in response to the demands of an aesthetic-seeking demographic, LuxDeco identifies its members as motivated by high-standards, originality and the discovery of fresh talent in design. The site caters to the smart, stylish and sophisticated individual who takes pride in their home.

As a luxury retailer, LuxDeco not only stands out from its competition with its brand offering, but also with its unique website features, which attempt to mimic the upmarket treatment a shopper would receive in a physical high-end store. The site features a concierge service for style advice, requesting bespoke items and further product information, and a My Showroom area in which members can create their own personal display of favourite products.

LuxDeco provides its members with a choice of the latest products from a selection of 150 of the world’s leading high-end homeware designers, including Boca do Lobo, Bonaldo, Jetclass, Erba, La Fibule, Ochre and Authentic Models. In addition, LuxDeco works closely with furniture and product designers both in the UK and overseas, to create original ranges and exclusive individual pieces.

The LuxDeco buying team has over 70 years’ combined experience working for some of the most prominent retailers, such as Harrods and Selfridges, in addition to backgrounds in luxury interiors and product design. The team enjoys strong relationships with interior stylists and taste-makers, enabling them to identify and keep up to date with current trends and select brands in relation to quality, aesthetics and exclusivity.

“When looking to partner with brands, we always look for history, craftsmanship, attention to detail and innovation, as well as new talent, integrity of design and manufacturing and use of the best possible materials,” Jonathan explains.

“In the luxury furniture market, trends can develop quickly, so LuxDeco uses analytics on the site to help us understand what our members are searching for, and what they want. We have a high level of intelligence built into our system that allows us to pick up a trend in customer searches in real time so we can source products to support this trend.”

Through the extensive research that the LuxDeco team has conducted into the high-end furniture market, it has uncovered a substantial amount of consumer appeal in the industry, claiming that the market has grown exponentially within the last 10 years. This is thought to be a result of advancements in technology, as well as the merging of industries, such as luxury fashion, travel, entertainment, lifestyle and culture, and how these affect each other.

LuxDeco stays connected to these overlapping industries via its magazine, its editorial team keeping up to date with the latest industry happenings likely to influence the world of interior design.

Jonathan says: “No longer are consumers just buying a new sofa for their sitting rooms – today people are more interested or inspired by buying into a lifestyle. The rise of technology has also made it more common for people to share everything in their lives, from homes to style to wardrobes. Glossy magazines help consumers aspire to a certain lifestyle, bringing similar looks into their homes, driving consumer appeal for luxury furniture.”

Drawing upon LuxDeco’s recently-observed buying trends within the market, Jonathan notes a lack of frugality in a time of austerity. Consumers, he claims, are more likely to purchase statement pieces for their homes, striving for quality and embracing beauty. “A great example of this is the success of Portuguese furniture company Boca do Lobo. Its breakthrough designs are not for the faint-hearted, but they are most certainly leading the way for luxury furniture,” he states.

“Luxury furniture space is no longer monopolised by the Italians – we are seeing increasingly great designs coming from the Portuguese and the British, and it is the discovery of great new furniture designers that we will focus on sharing with our customers, through concentrating further on curation in 2013.”

The rise of m-commerce, in which consumers shop on their mobile devices, will have a substantial impact on online retailers. Social media networks like Pinterest show that the online community is interested in buying looks and creating their own identities. In addition, e-commerce is becoming more hands-on and responsive, and LuxDeco aims to cater to this demand and remain one step ahead when it comes to the interactive luxury retail experience.