With her new furniture brand, The Inside, Christiane Lemieux is aiming to accomplish a lot: quality and custom, but also fast and cheap. “I am a startup person,” she tells Dennis Scully on the latest episode of the Business of Home podcast. “You learn what kind of an entrepreneur you are, and I like the build.”
The Inside marks the third furniture brand Lemieux has founded. She sold her first, DwellStudio, to Wayfair in 2013, but stayed on for more than two years as an executive. She then launched Cloth & Company, a wholesale brand offering quick-ship custom furniture. The custom and quick aspects of this business led her to the direct-to-consumer (and direct-to-designer) idea. She secured funding for The Inside from venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, headed by Kirsten Green, who is known for investments such as Warby Parker and Bonobos. “I love to create brands, and I saw this vast landscape in front of me,” she says. “If there is going to be [something] new, I would like to be the new.”
The Inside offers affordable upholstery pieces made with customizable, digitally printed fabrics. Wallpaper and case goods are also in the pipeline. Lemieux says consumers want the ability to put their own stamp on their home and what they buy—without having to wait the traditional six-to-eight-week lead time.
“What we really want to do is be able to assist the trade in having fast custom,” she says, noting that designers are among her biggest clients. (Capsule collections with designers are another perk for members of the trade.) “Being able to offer your client custom furniture at a great price is a huge advantage to any designer.”