Every entrepreneur has a story. To understand their passion, we must look to their past. This is the second episode of From There to Here, a three-part series on how entrepreneurs came to build their brand.
Meet Shanna Tellerman. She’s the founder of Modsy, an online interior design company that combines virtual design with e-shopping, all curated by a team of creatives. Gone are the days of guesstimating how large your space is or what pieces of furniture will pair well together. Now you can see in 3D how that new velvet couch will look in your living room and then actually buy it– all within a few clicks.
We spoke to Tellerman on her entrepreneur story and how Modsy is on a mission to reimagine the way we design our homes.
When did you decide that art was going to be a path that you were going to take?
I ended up getting accepted into Carnegie Mellon School of Art. At Carnegie Mellon, my interest in art changed dramatically. I was originally there just for large scale oil paintings. The biggest change was discovering virtual reality. And starting to create art in 3D. There was something so powerful that drew me in. In this idea that you could put somebody in this entire experience and that they could experience something that doesn’t exist in the real world. And so, there was a point in the journey when I was in graduate school and building these kind of early tools and experiences, that I just felt like the future is in something in this realm. And something interdisciplinary. And whatever that future is, I really want to be a part of it.
Why did you decide to start Modsy?
The startup Modsy was really building off of my own consumer insight. But then also knowing from a technology perspective, we had hit two really important inflection points. One was the ability to take photos and then to reconstruct 3D models out of photographs. And the second big one was this ability to render out 3D in a way that looks completely photorealistic. I thought, “What if I could create a photo, but it was a rendered photo where it was actually my real space?” And it was designed as beautifully as this catalog image. And then it used all real furniture. And I literally could just look at that image and go, “Click, click, click. Buy.” And then it all comes to life.
What have you learned most from running Modsy?
I think what I’ve learned most about while running Modsy has really been how to bring people along in a very large team. So we’ve grown a lot and there’s a lot of moving parts. But at the end of the day with clarity, and focus, and belief, and vision, you can do the impossible. You can do it every single day. And for me, the journey has really been how to effectively communicate and bring a team along, and have us drive towards that incredible vision.
What do you see for the future with Modsy?
I hope that the future for Modsy means that we have basically created an industry. Historically, there was no such thing as online interior design. There was let me find a designer, they come to my home. They go through you know, a process of mood boards etc. Often times, it’s really expensive and I don’t know if I’m going to get something that I can really use. We are defining a new industry here, which is this idea of online interior design combined with the ability to visualize a space. At the end of the day, your spaces matter so much. It’s where you live, it’s where you sleep, it’s where you eat, it’s where you gather. Living in a space that like everything comes together and clicks for you, it just brings so much daily happiness and joy– that’s really what we want to do in the world.