Effectuation Chronicle #31: LILM, On-Demand Furniture

April 29, 2019

Personalizing your home often requires the use of a unique combination of furniture, yet one by one made in a chain. For creative people looking for uniqueness, but without any DIY talent, there is still the solution of custom-made furniture made by a craftsman. But who to choose, where, how, and for how much? To do this, Anthony Garcia and the LILM team want to put the craftsmen back at the centre of the sale.

In a nutshell. Matching for craftsmen.

Lilm is a solution that simplifies the relationship between the customer and the craftsman. It is mainly aimed at interior designers and professionals with a furniture project (shop, restaurant, office). The main reasons why they choose the tailor-made solution? Practical, with the choice of dimensions to the nearest centimetre and aesthetic, with the choice of style and materials. Using a form, the user submits his project. For a table for example, it will include the style of the furniture, the type of wood, the shape of the legs, the finish and of course the dimensions. With a database of more than 1200 craftsmen, the team effectively matches the request with the offer, and even offers several quotes.

In addition to this service, Lilm acts as an online trading platform for other craftsmen’s products, although it derives its main added value from contact. Added value that is not only commercial, because one of Lilm’s values is to give visibility to French craftsmen. “Crafts in themselves tend to be neglected, and in particular some atypical trades such as glassblowers, ceramists or mosaic artists,” Anthony tells us. It is therefore high time to help them realize their potential.

The problem is to make access to crafts practical.

When we want to support local crafts, it is obvious that nothing makes our job easier. “No one is going to come to the Creuze to visit a workshop and explain his project to a craftsman he didn’t know before,” Anthony says ironically.

Ordering online can also quickly prove difficult. A customer – and in particular a company – needs to be able to compare the possible offers. However, both to find the craftsmen and to compare the estimates, the process is very restrictive. It can take up to two weeks for a craftsman to calculate a quote. Thanks to the data that Lilm accumulates on its community, the platform is able to estimate the price generally asked by its craftsmen for a service, and saves precious time to its customers.

This is enough to intelligently digitise the furniture and decoration market, which represents more than 100 billion euros in Europe. Without this solution, it would be up to the craftsmen to make the effort to make themselves known and market their products, but as Anthony says, “it’s not their job”! It seemed inconceivable to him that in the custom furniture market, even if it were less important, there would not be a global platform to simplify the relationship between customers and producers.

Article to be found in full on Forbes