Alison Andrews Reyes ’94 is a New York-based startup executive and founder of several different companies, including her most recent, Dezignable, a services and product marketplace for businesses to find interior designs and furnishings. At Dartmouth, Reyes majored in engineering sciences with a concentration in biomedical engineering. She was recruited by her first startup, MicroStrategy, in 1994, and never looked back. You can learn more about Reyes on her LinkedIn page.
Was there a class at Dartmouth that especially helped prepare you for founding your own companies?
ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering was a fantastic primer. The end-to-end team project work, from problem definition to final presentation, is a one-term glimpse at what it's like to build a company from idea to a profitably operating organization.
Dezignable provides customers with a services and product marketplace to find custom interior designs and furnishings. Your previous work was also in the tech arena, but this is your first foray into the design world. How did you come up with the idea for the business?
In mid-2016, we actually pivoted Dezignable to focus on business clients rather than consumers. It has turned out to be a savvy move and we've been growing fairly rapidly since. Having said that, my interest in founding Dezignable came from my personal experience doing a rather large renovation on our home. I had just sold my previous company, and out of frustration, began researching the home renovation and design industries for technology solutions. My cofounder and I decided to focus on the interior design and furnishings space when we saw how big the challenge was to modernize the furniture supply chain using a tech-enabled services platform.
Dezignable has a feature called VIBES, a group of 16 manageable styles—like “modern,” “coastal,” or “old world”—that act as a cornerstone of design for your clients as they search the site. Which style most speaks to you and why?
Well, we are the sum of our experiences, and my design style reflects that. I grew up on the ocean in Connecticut and spent my formative years in DC and Manhattan, so our coastal vibe speaks to my happy place, but I like to mix it up with a modern, city edge.