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The company stages shoppable homes, where people touring a home for sale can easily buy the furniture and decor used to stage the home.
The idea for Guest House was something of an accident, according to CEO Alex Ryden. Ryden owned a bag company and was looking for retail space in Denver. Around the same time, he bought a home and found out the zoning was mixed-use, meaning the house could be used for commercial purposes as well. So, he began selling bags out of his home on weekends.
But while people liked the bags, they were also interested in Ryden’s furniture and wanted to buy it. Ryden made his entire home shoppable, and noticed people were interacting with products in a different way than they did in a store. His friends who worked in real estate suggested he stage other people’s homes the same way.
“We grew our model from being a marketplace model in our home to a marketplace model in many homes,” Ryden said.
The first outside staging Ryden did was a Four Seasons condo in Colorado. But he realized after getting into staging that there was a need for inventory, as the staging industry had low-quality inventory being put into high-quality homes.
Those looking to sell their homes can tell Guest House through an online survey about the property, their vision for the staging, and the ideal buyer. Guest House will give the seller a quote, and its designers plan the home from scratch using the Guest House platform, sharing “mood boards” of the furnishings and decor that will go inside. Potential buyers touring the home can scan a QR code to shop the home’s furnishings, or they can browse and shop on the company’s website for furniture and decor from famous brands as well as local designers.
“We’re building a marketplace that can help anyone furnish their home even if they’re not touring our properties in person,” Ryden said.
The company, which is based in Denver, currently operates its staging services in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and San Diego. Guest House plans on rolling out additional markets for staging this year, but consumers can shop its marketplace nationally online.
With the new funding, the company will invest in its tech, scale up its tech team, and grow its product road map.
According to Range Ventures Managing Partner Chris Erickson, Guest House’s platform has advantages over traditional staging companies, which are often sole proprietorships that have accumulated furniture over time. It also has a model that could be used beyond home staging to any physical space that benefits from high-quality design and people coming in and out of it.
“There’s so many benefits from having massive scale — how you can plan inventories, do deliveries, and get new designers on your platform,” Erickson said.
The company has seen its revenue grow 270 percent so far this year, and its growth — especially through bootstrapping — is impressive, considering how quickly homes are selling now, Erickson said.
“People aren’t staging as much as they would in a normal market,” Erickson said. “So I think that just speaks to how great of a product and platform he’s built, that even in a market like this he’s having the traction and growth he’s had.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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