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Shopping, be it in the real or virtual world, generally requires browsing a number of stores, poring over multiple products to compare prices and features in order to bag the best deal. Trudging from one shop to another, be it physical or online, is tiring. Now you can post a picture of what you want and nousDÉCOR will find it for you…and present an array of options and prices. Or, peruse design inspirations and how to recreate looks on a budget.

This nifty décor shopping app adds a novel twist to the experience by letting you move from the real to the virtual world seamlessly as if you were clicking through the pages of a website. The app connects you to millions of crowd-sourced collections of décor items. If you stumble upon a décor item in a real shop, upload an image of it on nousDÉCOR. Then let its “Same Look Different Price” tool take over.

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The tool will try to find matching styles from amongst 8 million items in the app library, so you can compare prices. The app lets you find affordable versions of décor pieces that you may come across offline.

It also helps you find décor pieces similar to the ones that you may have stumbled upon in the real world but couldn’t buy them because those were not for sale, say an out-of-the-world and unique coffee table in your friend’s house. The app did so for nousDÉCOR co-founder and CMO Dorothee Fisher.

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Fisher discovered an antique walnut card table with inlay from the 1800s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Obviously she couldn’t buy it, but her heart was on it. So she uploaded an image of it and was pleasantly surprised to discover an identical piece in nousDÉCOR’s top search results.

The brain behind nousDÉCOR is Heather Gillette, also the CEO of the start-up. From her stint in YouTube where she founded and headed up the copyright enforcement, content review and user support teams, Heather realized that the only way start-ups can keep up with growing user demands is to integrate numerous “smarts” into their operational models. Automation was a no-brainer. Heather was also inspired by the YouTube model to build a platform that would eventually grow as the number of users grew and would feed on community-generated content.

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She hit the nail right on the head with her business ideas, and nousDÉCOR is already creating its success story like wanelo and lover.ly. Its basket of novel features and offerings is an important contributing factor behind its success.

But Gillette also attributes the success to her talented team that includes Mark Cutler, the Chief Designer who is also a renowned designer in his own right, and a CTO who holds a Masters degree in User Experience Design. Together they have surmounted challenges like streamlining the app to provide a more seamless mobile experience and are on their way to build more “smarts” into the design. In the pipeline are projects like incorporating a feature that will let users compare offline items in locations near them.

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According to Michela O’Connor Abrams, President and CEO of Dwell Media, a partner of nousDÉCOR, Gillette’s idea has tapped into an emerging idea that is soon going to transform into a movement. With the prevalence and popularity of sundry social media channels and virtual communities, online shopping is set to turn into a social event, just like going to a mall with your friends or asking around for ideas before making a purchase. By integrating this “social” experience and providing contextual content from an active and vibrant online community, nousDÉCOR is blazing the trail.

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