In 2017, out of the combination of many brilliant and seemingly unrealistic ideas, iron consistency and lack of experience within the field, two charismatic and energetic partners founded noo.ma. Since that time, they have been working continuously to make it the most recognizable and fastest growing company in the home & living industry in Europe. Read about their big and small dreams, find out what values stand behind noo.ma’s success and learn why we didn’t start in a garage, like most successful start-ups, but on the fourth floor of a town house.
Outsiders with a clean slate
The idea to create noo.ma was born during studies – architecture, in the case of Damian Goliński and economic, in the case of Cyprian Bieniarz. None of them had ever worked in the interior design field before, and none had knowledge of the market. As external observers, they could therefore take a fresh look at how the industry works and decide which practices to apply and which to change completely.
noo.ma was created at the end of 2017, out of a combination of many seemingly unrealistic ideas, born in the minds of Cyprian and Damian. The founders greatly appreciate the fact that from the very beginning they could approach design, production, logistics and marketing issues with a clean slate, constantly questioning widely accepted practices. They don’t take anything as a standard or a permanent rule, because they believe that everything can always be done better. They learned over time and, as they emphasize, mainly through trial and error. Sounds rational? Nothing could be more wrong!
“The beginnings were just wild, we had absolutely no clue how to produce, pack or sell our products.” says Cyprian. "In the constant race from task to task, we have been loosing ourselves in the here and now” adds Damian.
“Every successful business starts in a garage. When creating a furniture company, we started in an apartment based on the fourth floor of a town house, without an elevator. Not very smart, is it?” - says Cyprian.
For the first few months, they did not see any spectacular results, let alone any profits. They minimized all expenses, except for development costs: they did not receive any salaries, their office was based in a room in Damian’s apartment. They carried out each element of their activity on their own, learning everything from scratch: they created a website, developed their first collection, packed products, built a network of suppliers. The list of things to do was never-ending. As time passed, small successes began to appear. They were the real effects of their hard work and gave hope that they could build something really big.
“Our goal has always been to create a giant enterprise – the best-developing European brand in this field. We had no idea how long it would take or what measures to take, but we are consistently striving for it.”
- Damian Goliński – Co-founder
The right decisions
Damian and Cyprian agree that it’s the combination of drawing conclusions, their iron consistency and a set of well-made decisions, which are behind the success of noo.ma. Contrary to the generally accepted approach in the industry, they focused primarily on technology: fast and advanced e-commerce, integrated with innovative applications that automate all purchasing, production, warehouse and shipping processes. They also focused strongly on production and price transparency, because they believe that running a modern brand requires honest and open communication. The effects of their work began to be visible after the first few months, when a sales strategy began to emerge from some random transactions. As the scale of their venture increased, additional duties were systematically taken over by new employees.
The growing team began to discover new markets, sales channels, methods of production, distribution, logistics improvements and much more. Along the way, they achieved sales results which were several times higher than originally assumed. At the same time the scale of the enterprise kept increasing at a tremendous pace, month by month. Currently, the company employs over 20 people, and they complete over 1,000 orders per month. The development of noo.ma is very organic. So far, no external financing has been involved, and everything that was achieved in three years, has been possible thanks to the continuously generated profits.
“We are extremely lucky when it comes to people we work with - a team of ambitious and talented individuals who want to constantly fulfil themselves. Without them, noo.ma would have never developed.”
- Cyprian Bieniarz – Co-founder
Problem solving is our speciality
The reality was not always so colourful. The company grew in a slightly unpredictable manner, which forced the need to transfer production from smaller subcontractors to larger, mechanized factories. It was also necessary to rethink the methods of production, packaging and shipping, adjusting the processes adequately to the new scale. The company experienced bottlenecks and production delays, had to deal with unreliable contractors and unprofessional outsourcing. But even the biggest problems were always solved very quickly. Both Damian and Cyprian experienced moments of doubt and panic, but fortunately they never happened at the same time to both of them, so the partners could always support each other. They both have a set of complementary predispositions, skills and character traits, which enable them to manage the company in a comprehensive manner. Damian is responsible for the design and communication, while Cyprian is responsible for the production and operations. They emphasize that the separation of duties resulted only from the need for such a division: they both know all areas of the company’s operations and always take strategic decisions together.
”noo.ma is a brand offering high-quality products that people instantly fell in love. It just works!”
- Cyprian Bieniarz – Co-founder
Short and long-distance plans
Among the plans for the next year, they mention the comprehensive development of the offer (including upholstered furniture and lighting), the introduction of a completely new brand, expansion to the American market, multiplication of this year’s sales results and the gradual expansion of the team, adequately to the growing scale of the company. Above all, however, they want to ensure efficiency, which stays at the forefront of noo.ma.
In the long term, they intend to open stores in major European cities. Although so far noo.ma has grown solely from its own profits, the founders are considering the involvement of external funding as part of the A series and are already in talks with several interested funds.
Big and small dreams
In recent years, clients’ environmental and production awareness has changed significantly. Customers began to pay more attention to the quality and durability of products, buying less frequently and more responsibly. It is based on these changes that noo.ma wants to keep developing. All activities planned in connection with expanding the portfolio, increasing the scale, opening new offices, warehouses or stores will always be closely related to this philosophy. Damian and Cyprian agree that if you do love what you do and feel that it is special, you can build anything with persistence and consistency, even in difficult conditions.
“We are truly lucky,
because we really like what we do!”
- Cyprian Bieniarz & Damian Goliński