Inside the Home of Twenty-Something App Creators (with a Closet That Will Blow Your Mind)
Do you ever find yourself sending photos to friends and asking them for help decorating? And then they take too long and you are awkwardly strolling the HomeGoods aisles, completely perplexed on whether or not that trunk would work as a coffee table. Well, Beatrice and Lizzie are co-founders at Hutch, an app that will answer your decor questions, anytime. Simply take a picture of your room, upload it to the app, select your style, and a designed room (complete with product links) is sent to you in moments. With such a cool business model, it's no surprise that these two exude all the laid-back California cool-girl vibes that we want to emulate so badly.
Today we are stepping inside their colorful West Hollywood home and getting the low down on everything from where they got their eclectic accent pieces to what it's like being a CEO and living with your co-founder. (Speaking of, we know another pair of business partners that lived together.)
Name: Beatrice Fischel-Bock, Co-Founder & CEO at Hutch
Education: BA Fine Art & Interior Design & Architecture
Name: Lizzie Grover, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Hutch
Education: BA Interior Design & Architecture
Square Footage: 1,200
Rent or Own: Rent
City: Los Angeles, CA
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you meet?
We met our freshman year of college in our first Architectural Drafting class. That’s when we met our third partner Madeline as well (our co-founder and CMO). We became friends quickly and started collaborating on many creative projects. During our junior year, we came up with the concept for our first business, ZOOM interiors, an online interior design service.
We came up with the idea while we were abroad because all of our friends were asking for our design help when they were moving into their first apartments after college. We quickly realized that we didn’t have to see a space in person to design it! We did everything through photographs. We saw a clear need for a service that was affordable and fast. We started our first business that junior year of college and have continued on that path ever since!
What inspired you to start Hutch?
We saw a very clear need for a mobile design platform to add even more efficiency and ease to the interior design process. We evolved into Hutch when we met our partners Ben Broca (our CTO) and Ethan Gromet (our head of design) to take the experience to the next level and really disrupt the interior design and furniture space.
Our mantra with growing our businesses has always been "Fail fast. Fix fast. Learn fast."
How did you know it was the right time to dive in headfirst and launch your own company?
The time is now; it will never be right if you wait for it! We have always jumped head first into starting our businesses, and through all of the hardships we have faced, they have been worth it for how much we have learned and grown along the way. We do feel that having a team you trust that can bring support when needed is vital to our ability to just go for it. Our mantra with growing our businesses has always been "Fail fast. Fix fast. Learn fast."
Talk us through the process of starting Hutch. As a start-up, what steps did you need to take to set the business up for success?
The team you create is so important! We have been incredibly lucky with starting Hutch because we felt that we added the missing key players — Ben and Ethan. Having a well-rounded team with different strengths is everything when it comes to success! It’s also important to have a team that you trust and love. We are family at Hutch. We don’t even feel like business partners anymore, we feel like siblings.
The client is always No. 1. At Hutch we value our clients and make sure that every member of our team works to make them happy 100 percent of the time.
How did you market Hutch at the beginning?
From the very beginning, we have marketed Hutch for the ease and speed that we are bringing to the world of interior design. Everyone can relate to the fact that furnishing your space is not easy! Using technology to connect you directly with experts that take care of the entire home furnishing process, Hutch eliminates the need for you to do any of the heavy lifting.
What does a typical day on the job look like? Is it different/the same for both of you?
Bea: I am our CEO, so my typical day is managing our team. I keep us on track for the bigger vision and am constantly making sure that every department is doing the right work to get us there.
Lizzie: I am our creative director, so my typical day is making sure every design that goes out to our clients is beautiful and on point. I am also in charge of our brand!
What about advice for two business partners looking to launch a company together? What has been essential to your successful partnership?
Never lose your sense of humor! Running a business is stressful but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It’s so important to enjoy the ride and see the humor in things, no matter how hard the situation can get. Also, be passionate. Love what you do and you will never feel like you are at work. We have always been honest with each other and ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses, which is why we fit into our individual roles in the company so well. We each focus on what we are great at and that’s how we will continue to experience success.
You work and live together, which is rare. How do you strike a work/life balance and maintain a healthy relationship — personally and professionally?
It helps that we were friends first and business partners second. We get along really well as friends, which makes it easier at the end of the day to live and work together. We have a mutual respect for one another that has always been important to both of us and is definitely one of the reasons we are able to be so close all the time. We give each other space when we need it!
You currently reside in West Hollywood. How did you find your place? What was on your wish list?
We got really lucky with our place. We are in LOVE with it. Our offices are also in West Hollywood and we knew that we wanted to be somewhat close to work because we are there all the time. We were in the right place at the right time and it was the right price so we went for it!
What drew you to LA and your West Hollywood neighborhood specifically?
We are actually both originally not from LA [Bea grew up between Miami and London and Lizzie is from Richmond, VA]. As we were expanding our business, we realized LA was the place to be to raise funding and meet the right people, so a little over a year ago we moved out here. West Hollywood was a good transition from the East Coast because it’s one of the only LA areas that is walkable. We absolutely love LA now and think we will be here for a long time.
How would you describe your personal decorating styles? How have you combined these personal styles to create this amazing space?
Lizzie: I have a contemporary style with an eclectic edge. I love mixing and matching textures, colors, and shapes as well as items that are vintage and have a story with items that are brand new. I really love the juxtaposition of the old and the new coming together. I am a huge fan of pink (if you couldn’t tell!) and like to add that in anywhere I can — both in my interior style and my fashion sense. I have an addiction to coffee table books as well and have collected so many over the years, because I really think they add so much to any space.
Bea: I have a modern, minimal style and am a huge fan of mid-century modern. I love cowhides and accent walls and tend to be more drawn to a neutral black and white palette. The one color that I love is pink, which is where Lizzie and I really get along. Together we have managed to create a contemporary space with very clean and elegant lines that plays a lot with color and eccentricity which we both appreciate.
Did you decorate on a budget? Tell us your favorite places to shop for furniture and home decor. Is there anything in the apartment that you splurged on?
We definitely decorated on a budget! We like shopping with affordability in mind, so that we can swap things out guilt-free for the newest trends and latest must-haves! We love Target and H&M home sections for affordable finds, and we love Furbish for more special pieces like our vintage Turkish area rug. Another piece that we splurged on that really makes the space is the oversize table lamp with a queen’s face and crown carved and painted. So unique— we’re in love with it!
Lizzie: The recovered armchair is a great piece with an even better story. I got that chair for free. My next door neighbor was moving out of their mid-century house that hadn’t been touched since they built the place. It was like a museum in there, and I got to pick any piece! I chose this simple armchair and recovered it in a nubby cream fabric.
Bea: The pillows are where we brought in a lot of color and visual interest. The pillows are all different patterns and prints — Frida Kahlo, flowers, cowhide, a parrot, fur, and velvet and tassels. We really went for it!
I am instantly calmer and happy to be there. It’s a feeling that made us start our business in the first place.
What’s your favorite thing about your home?
Lizzie: The feeling I get when I come home from work. It feels like home. I am instantly calmer and happy to be there. It’s a feeling that made us start our business in the first place. Having a space you love to come home to matters!
Bea: I love that our space has style. It makes me way more tidy, and generally happier to come home and look at something that I think looks great!
What advice do you have for others living with roommates?
Compromise and personal space! It’s so important to respect your roommate. If you each give a little, everyone will be happier in the long run. Find a middle ground and give each other space when necessary! Also, make sure you KNOW the person. Living together can really make or break a relationship, so it’s important to choose to live with someone that you feel compatible with. Do your personalities balance each other out? Would you be happy seeing them every day?
Where do you see Hutch in five years?
We have big plans for the future scale and growth of Hutch. In five years we see Hutch as the ‘go-to’ way to furnish any space!
What advice would you give your 21-year-old selves?
1. Fail fast. Fix fast. Learn fast: Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of the journey. Learn from your failures and fix them so that you keep moving forward, growing, and evolving.
2. Take things one step at a time. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. By maintaining that stamina through the good and bad times, you will always come out ahead.
3. Work together. Few things in life are accomplished alone, it takes a team. Find people you trust, admire, and love to work with and make your visions a reality!
Lizzie Grover Is The Everygirl...
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order?
I’d love to take Diana Vreeland to lunch. I’d order champagne and listen to her fanciful storytelling.
I wish I knew how to…
Sew. I’d make my own clothes or put a personal touch on my favorite pieces.
Ideal day off in LA?
My ideal day off in LA would be going to all the antique furniture stores around the city that aren’t open on the weekends.
I have crazy good spatial awareness and can guess the dimensions of pretty much anything from a photo.
Beatrice Fischel-Bock Is The Everygirl...
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order?
I would have lunch with Sheryl Sandberg and I would probably order a salad.
People would be surprised to know that I…
...am a major homebody.
Spending all day in bed watching Netflix.
Favorite brunch spot in LA?
LPQ in Weho.