Podcasts   //   July 22, 2021  ■  3 min read

‘Building a business that will last’: AptDeco’s Reham Fagiri on scaling economically

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Furniture became a hot item in 2020, and resale platform AptDeco was ready for that demand.

The company’s sales grew more than 300% last year, and is trying to ride that wave through this year. According to co-founder and CEO Reham Fagiri, the company’s emphasis is now on expansion. AptDeco began in New York in 2014, and has been slowly growing ever since. Over the years, it added delivery to Northern New Jersey as well as Washington D.C. Now, more cities are being added. “We launched in Philadelphia earlier this year, and now — literally two weeks ago — just launched in the San Francisco Bay Area,” she said on the Modern Retail Podcast. “We’re seeing a lot of opportunity.”

Part of the reason for this growth is because AptDeco was able to capitalize on big consumer shifts. More people were stuck at home in 2020 and were buying nicer furniture. “We also saw people selling their products and looking to upgrade to more higher-end pieces,” she said.

While many furniture companies have had supply chain issues due to logistics bottlenecks, AptDeco owns its fulfillment network and was able to mitigate much of that thanks to its delivery network. “We are logistics,” said Fagiri. “The reason why we own [delivery] is because we want to make sure we control the experience.”

It’s these elements that have helped AptDeco grow. Now, with expansion on the horizon, the plan is to have it become more of a household name.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

A focus on profitability
“What we’ve really focused on is making sure that we have positivity in [our] economics and making sure that when we want to fuel our growth, we can add more cash. But, let’s use a pandemic as an example. When the whole world came to a stop, we were fortunate enough to really have great economics from a business perspective that we were able to change a few levers there and we became profitable fairly fast. So that’s something for us that has always been very important as business owners — to make sure that we’re building a business that will last.”

Building customer trust
“On the buying and selling side, it’s really about the trust factor. For us, building the brand and building technology are just as important because we’re people are used to shopping on Craigslist, or more recently even Facebook marketplace. So [it’s about] really focusing on the value prop, which is: we offer logistics, payments online, everything is done through us, we do the curation ourselves. It’s really a one-stop shop.”

Pandemic-led trends
“During the pandemic, we definitely saw an immediate shift to desks and office chairs consumers trying to upgrade their [spaces] or make room for an office in their homes. So that was one of the very obvious [trends] that we’ve seen. But, over time, we also saw people selling their products and looking to upgrade to more higher-end pieces, because they’re spending a lot more time at home — especially in the New York market where I think most people are used to spending very little time at home… They were forced to really rethink investing in their homes and making it very cozy and homey.”