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Retailing on the road with Remodo

'Retail ideas that work'

Susan Dickenson, Retail Editor 3 -- Home Accents Today, November 20, 2013

Whitney and Amanda Fox are the founders of Remodo, an online shop and virtual design source for under-30s who are Whitney and Amanda Fox, Remodolooking to decorate bedrooms, dorm rooms and apartments.

Launched last year at Remodo.com, the concept came to fruition when, after graduating from communications school at the University of Texas, the 20-something sisters moved to New York to pursue their careers. Unable to find a home design website geared toward young adults just getting established, they set out to develop a destination where such visitors could shop and design their own rooms.

This past summer the sisters took Remodo on the road to points in and around Aspen, Colo. - in a vintage 1967 Airstream Caravel - to promote their brand, showcase their product and website tools, and engage with customers in a "unique and innovative way."

In the coming weeks, Remodo.com is rolling out its new DYOR ("Design Your Own Room") feature that enables virtual room design with a budget calculator, and WWAD ("Work With a Designer") that puts the user in contact with a design professional via an online messaging system.

Home Accents Today caught up with the duo in High Point, where they were shopping for more accessories and furniture for their "tween to young professionals" customers.

First of all, what are you looking for in High Point? Unique items at great price points. So far, we like Surya, especially their poufs and pillows - those are right up our alley. Also Skyline Design, Magnussen, Zodax, Global Views, Article 24 and Piper Collection. We're also looking for affordable furniture lines. Trying to find that middle ground is a challenge, but we think we've found a couple that would work.

How did you make the leap from digital to aluminum? As a new company, we knew we had to connect our brand to our consumers in creative way in order to stand out. After tossing around multiple ideas, we decided there was only one way to accurately portray the personality of our brand - with a timeless classic.

Where does one find a vintage Airstream? We found ours in Denver, Colo. It was empty except for a freestanding bathtub, toilet and shelf, but in perfect condition for our needs. With white walls and dark hardwood floors, we had a tremendous amount of flexibility in our design process (once the bathtub and toilet were removed). Our goal was to create a mobile showroom that helped our customers visualize what a Remodo room would look like.remodo

And how long did the redesign take? It took us about two weeks. We removed everything except for a long white shelf, which later served as our accessories shelf. We built a custom desk for the front of the Airstream and used storage benches and headboards to create a "bed" in the back. Lastly, we printed a Remodo decal to decorate the outside of the airstream. Once the interior was set, we set up our mobile shop. We designed multiple bedroom vignettes and selected product to coordinate with the personalities of the different locations on our agenda. The main challenge was working with the curves of the Airstream and securing the furniture and products as we had to drive to and from various locations. The storage benches that made up the "mattress" of the bed proved invaluable.

How difficult (or easy) was it to haul the Airstream around Aspen? We kicked off at the Snowmass Rodeo, a popular summer event that attracts a wide variety of people, which made it a perfect destination. Even though our Airstream was only 17 feet long, we still had to master hooking up the hitch to a Suburban, driving and parking. Thankfully, we were surrounded by experienced drivers at the rodeo who took the time to teach us the necessary skills to operate and drive the Airstream. We took videos of these "tutorials" with our phones, which were incredibly beneficial later on. The two of us drove, parked and loaded the Airstream the entire summer.

How did you decide on pop-up locations and were any special permits required? Since permitting is difficult in Aspen, we partnered with various nonprofits and events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Ducky Derby, and the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club. At one event, we set up computers inside the Airstream where our visitors could create customized "Remodo Rooms." For the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, we donated one of our Carnations Pink pillows and a $150 gift card, and ordered pink products to coincide with the nonprofit's signature colors.

Overall, was it a successful venture? Yes. We found the Airstream drew interest from those that might not have ordinarily stopped by a traditional store setup, which gave us the chance to reach a broader demographic - one of our goals. The Airstream gave consumers the opportunity to not only touch and feel our products, but post and interact with our brand as well. It was also a welcome distraction for men while their wives or daughters shopped - a few of them expressed interest in buying the Airstream. We really learned a lot this summer.

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