After experiencing the joys of cooking with a meal kit one day, Adrian Dagli had an epiphany – this guided experience that allowed a cooking novice to achieve professional-level results was exactly what was missing from the interior design world. What followed was a year of intense planning, testing, strategizing, and curating – ultimately resulting in the birth of Interior Wanderer.
The concept resembles that of the meal kit: Select a carefully pre-curated box to elevate and complete any space in your home, then receive the contents along with handy instructions on how to style them. Want to swap something out to make the mix uniquely your own? No problem. They provide suggested, complementary add ons for each Kit. Pretty brilliant, right? It’s literally a full-proof recipe for the most Instagrammable design vignettes, whether you’re short on time or in need of that final, professional touch.
Learn more about Adrian’s still-in-the-works launch story in her own words, plus exciting ways the brand plans to expand in 2021.
What sparked the idea behind Interior Wanderer and curating interior styling kits?
Styling is usually the last step of designing a home, and we’re born from the belief that good design is in these exact details. We know this can be a difficult task and long journey for many with several pain points along the way — whether it’s lack of time, energy, or just missing that designer-eye to shop. (We’ve heard all the gripes from our design clients.)
Funny enough, this is not dissimilar to how we’ve felt about cooking. I know, slightly revealing, but we (ahem, I) don’t have the touch! We’re grateful for that now — we were gifted meal kits a couple of years ago after my husband, the family chef, suffered an injury. The cooking experience was wonderful. From the one-box delivery to the ingredient shopping and prep to the easy-to-follow directions and gourmet-level output, it was in that moment I knew I wanted to solve the angst around interior styling in a similar way.
You founded a retail department for Audi of America, VBP Retail Ops, and succeeded in earning Audi the #1 spot in luxury brand consideration. What learnings from your 10 year career at Audi help you today?
There’s a process of getting to effective creative work in advertising, and leading that process is how I spent my former years (including for other brands like MINI Cooper). Often, this begins with identifying critical tensions in a path to purchase. Once you know these barriers, you can solve them. And solving them is where the magic happens — forging a product-market match.
When we set out to create Interior Wanderer, we took a similar approach. We studied tensions in the interior styling journey to learn what spaces, items, and needs were unmet. We launched a beta program to gain feedback and then extended a soft launch to improve our offering further.
During the beta program, one of the key learnings was that all items needed to arrive together to achieve the feeling of a full makeover (not dissimilar to an install day). We had noticed individual boxes pile up in homes while everything arrived — the experience was less than desirable and took up too much space. Now all items ship at once, and we’ve made the experience even more enjoyable with how-tos and tips, all maker-made literature intact, plus a surprise package to kick-off prep before the transformation. It’s now an unparalleled, one-delivery unboxing experience.
During the soft launch, we learned that there was a desire for partial Kit purchases. In March of 2020, we launched “Shop the Kit,” where items became available for individual purchase. We saw our sales skyrocket. Our orders became either full Kits or 90% of a Kit with 1-3 pieces from a different Kit(s). We loved seeing that the Kits continued to function as designed but now with room for customization.
To date, we haven’t fully launched the brand and its offering as it’s still evolving. We have organically grown our audience and sales, and we feel great about what we’ve learned thus far. We do feel ready to put some more significant muscle behind it, though! Our 2nd edition will mark the first paid launch. We have our operations down, understand our customer needs much more, and truly feel ready to scale.
What was the impetus behind quitting Audi and setting out on your own?
Oh, this is a tough one! In short, there’s success on paper, and then there’s the feeling of success. For me, these became wildly different and, at the time, quite confusing to sort. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, before the Audi experience, I had an online women’s boutique, Two Crow Sunday, that celebrated Cali makers through curation of home décor, clothing, and accessories. This passion project naturally fell to the wayside as VBP RetailOps grew, but I knew I wanted to get back to the heart of that one day.
After the success with Audi, a swell of both external and internal forces begged the question of what was next. Through exec and women’s coaching, I was asked a series of the most important questions in my life — what would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail? What would you do if you could do anything in this world (and money was not an object)? What’s the worst that can happen if you try?
This ultimately reminded me to dream — and to dream big. I embarked on a sabbatical in September 2018 to answer these very questions. Six months in, I had the light-bulb-meal-kit-moment, and nearly one-year-to-date, Interior Wanderer launched.
How do you form relationships with your global, artisanal partners? What qualities are you looking for when selecting who to partner with?
This is honestly the most rewarding part of IW. Having come from a creative background, I’ve always loved the making-of and place creativity as a top value. Being part of that while connecting with the world is even more special. When evaluating partners, we look for artisans that have a rich culture and a point-of-view. The collaboration and the authenticity they bring to the table is key to making pieces feel storied and unique. We want them to be excited about creating, and you can often get a feel for that pretty quickly. It’s a long relationship, so it’s important that the partners are selected wisely.
Every piece included in your styling kits undergoes rounds of quality checks. What types of testing do the products undergo? Have you ever had a product “fail” the test?
So many tests! There are drop tests, functionality tests, versatility tests, and styling tests. Oh yes – we’ve had several failed items that never made it into the Kits. We also have items that are in an extended prototype phase that will be pushed for the next edition so we can take the time to perfect them. Fortunately, we’re able to adjust specs and colors more often than not, but we have no problem moving on if something doesn’t work. One day we’ll have a warehouse sale for these items, but we’ve just been too busy perfecting Kits instead!
Who are these styling kits for?
Anyone with an appetite for good design and not enough time/energy to shop, or simply wanting that creative eye. During COVID, we’ve seen a jump in sales from those looking to make their space more beautiful, but we’re also an excellent source for stagers, interior designers, and new homeowners.
This might be like asking a parent who her favorite child is, but is there a particular kit that holds a special place in your heart?
The Earthy Affair Tableware Kit was one of the first Kits we concepted, and the first to include IW designed items crafted with global artisans (in Uganda). It’s also one we use regularly in our own home. It so beautifully reflects all that IW offers — global, artisan-made, unique items that make a space cohesively beautiful while providing a level of thoughtful utility.
For someone who needs to tackle more than one space, are there kits that pair well together to create a cohesive look throughout the home?
Yes — all of them! Each edition is actually crafted to work together in one home. This is so people can buy multiple Kits at once or mix and match items without fear. We’ve listed add-on recommendations at the bottom of each Kit page to help the pairing process, too. Our Kits within each edition will remain cohesive, but each edition will vary slightly in style. For example, our next edition will take on more of an earthy vibe.
What does the future of Interior Wanderer look like?
We have so many dreams, yet so little time! We’ve found that while many people pursue our Kits, they also want access to our overall aesthetic, whether it’s through finishing or furniture selections. After renovating and designing several homes over the past year, we decided to make it more official with the announcement of IW | Studio, our full-service interior design arm. It’s incredible to see how interconnected everything has become. We love it and are thrilled to see IW become a Shop + Studio.
To help us handle our evolved offering of both Styled Home Kits and now, interior design services, we’ll be growing our team in 2021. Once we’re staffed, we’ll begin to evolve our IW line further. We also plan to debut an IW furniture line in early 2022.
So many more good things in store that we can’t share yet, too!
What fuels your creativity?
All the details in this world. No, but really.
Does Interior Wanderer focus on a specific design sensibility or do your kits complement a variety of aesthetics?
That’s the beautiful thing about styling. It’s an added layer that complements and elevates a space. Our Kits function in the same way. They’re carefully curated with focal points and details that work harmoniously together, so when layered over an existing canvas, they bring that final, polished touch no matter the base aesthetic.
What does a well-lived home mean to you?
If we’ve learned anything during COVID, it’s to be grateful for what we have. A well-lived home is simply a happy, healthy home. And if it can look beautiful, too, then that’s the cherry on top. (We just happen to really love cherries!)
Love what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Styling + Kits: Interior Wanderer