Design Disruptor: Noa Santos, Homepolish

Interior design, redefined.

Noa Santos, Homepolish
Photographed by Maria del Rio for Lonny.

Okay, this one may need no introduction, but in case (for some reason?) you haven’t caught wind of the online interior design service site Homepolish, we'll fill you in. Founder and CEO Noa Santos has rapidly democratized the design space by creating an open online platform with easy access to affordable interior talent at the commercial and residential level. Whether you are a designer looking to expand your business or your abode just needs a little sprucing, Homepolish makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to feel great about the space they’re in.

Give us the short story on how you got your big break in the design space.

"If there was a single big break it was meeting my now-fiance. He pushed me to leave my job at a traditional firm — to take the leap — and create my first company, the seed of which became Homepolish."

 What do you offer that other brands or sites don’t?

"We offer a luxury experience — for our clients and our designers. The chance to start a design journey that we hope lasts a lifetime. For our clients, that means a full-service, end-to-end design experience and the chance to meet the designer who might work with you on your first, second, third home, and beyond — without the traditional price tag. For designers, we build careers, whether you’re fresh out of University or want to take your business to the next level. Our clientele — clients and designers alike — don’t 'use' Homepolish, they join a community of people who want to feel incredible about the way they live and work." 

What does a typical day look like for you?

"No such thing.  Every day is different which is what I love about Homepolish!"

What’s been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on to date?

"Building our Homepolish family. We’re a business of people at our core and it’s been a privilege to watch employees, designers, clients grow."

How do you define success?

"Making a positive impact on someone else, even if it’s just one person."  

Tell us about a recent challenge and how you worked through it.

"Hiring members of your leadership team is always a challenge because you’re not only inviting someone into your family but asking for their guidance. Patience, not one of my better qualities, is key — as is persistence. For me, making such an important decision meant involving all the people I trust most. Asking for the right help is not novel or insightful but it’s effective."

Noa Santos, Homepolish
Photographed by Maria del Rio for Lonny.

What’s one thing about the design industry you’d like to change?

"I’d like more renters to consider design. Start early. Start small. Learn what you love and what you don’t. So when you’re ready to invest, you make better decisions."

On the flip side, what do you find really refreshing about the space?

"The sheer amount of young, raw, design talent is exhilarating."

Do you have any pre-work rituals and if so, what are they?

"My life is a ritual, much to my fiance’s dismay. Gym, meditation, what I eat for lunch. I surround the unpredictability of my day with routine."

 How would you describe what you do to someone who's never seen your site?

"Match.com for interior design. Come to Homepolish and we’re going to find you your life-long design partner."

Who are your design icons?

"Tony Duquette. Iris Apfel. Wendy Goodman."

Developing your voice is key today.

What other professions did you consider and why?

"I thought I was going to be an anesthesiologist!"

What advice do you have for people trying to enter the design space?

"Social media is such an asset for interior designers. Focusing on your social media presence and developing your voice is key today."

Is college needed — yes or no?

"College, no. Learning, yes. Find it wherever you can."

What’s next for Homepolish?

"We’re heads down focused on doing what we’re good at — helping our clients live and work better and building designers’ careers."

See the full list of Lonny’s design disruptors here.

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