A new interior design firm burst on the scene in 2020, specializing in helping executives avoid the eyesore of junior employees’ desolate apartments on Zoom calls.
The Manhattan-based startup, “Decor for the Poor”, was born out of necessity. Founder Ricardo Masterson worked as a VP of Human Resources for Amazon when he stumbled upon a common problem. During the beginning of the Pandemic, Masterson held countless Zoom calls with junior level employees for company orientations.
“I would be on a call with 20 or so new hires, fresh out of college, and at least 18 of them would be calling from what looked like a crack house,” Masterson said.
That’s when it hit him.
He promptly quit his job and started Decor for the Poor in June of 2020. He signed contracts with Amazon, Target, Wells Fargo, and several other companies to furnish one wall in the homes of poor junior employees.
“We give each junior employee a fresh coat of paint on one section of the wall in the room they take video calls from,” Masterson explained. “We’ll also hang a nice piece of art on the wall so they can at least pretend to be cultured, and add some plants and a lamp not purchased from Goodwill for $5.”
The concept has taken the corporate world by storm, with venture capital funds clamoring to get into the $50 million Series A funding.
The service has been worth every penny for corporate executives, who spend an average of about $9,000 furnishing each employee’s “Zoom Zone”.
“We could pay those employees the money we spend on this service, but they would likely just blow it all on student loan payments and out-of-pocket medical expenses, and we’d be back to square one,” said loyal customer Steve Jones, VP of Union Suppression at Bank of America.