I dropped into the office to chat with co-founder, E. Brian Johnson, and was smitten by both the concept and their Gastown digs.
Kabuni delves into the experience of living, both from the standpoint of championing great design and giving back where you live. After a decade in real estate in the UK and fired with a passion for creating tech solutions for the home space, Kabuni’s founder, Neil Patel, set out to create a business with home at its center – and ‘doing some good’ at its heart. Their mission is better homes for everyone.
Kabuni is a client/ designer matching app that forges connections between local artists, artisans and designers and people who love home design. It takes the “elite” and “exclusive” out of interior design, because its always free to collaborate with a designer on Kabuni. The app allows users to build custom inspiration boards and then share them with professional designers for advice and product matching.
For designers and makers, Kabuni creates a digital marketplace where they can collaborate, showcase their work and get matched with new clients. The company is opening a Community Design Studio this spring to further support the local design community.
When a connection bears fruit, as in someone buys that amazing sofa, Kabuni provides a percentage of their profits to organizations that tackle homelessness. Clients using the app to make a purchase are able to direct the donation to a local agency engaged in housing, making an impact where they live.
“I lived in Gastown ten years ago, this was a different neighbourhood then and that has shaped our mission,” noted Johnson. “Better homes for everyone means everyone has a space to call their own.”
Kabuni is part of the growing tech industry in Vancouver, many of whom are setting up shop in Gastown. The company started from a single cubicle in the Landmark Building’s co-working space – The Profile.
“The founders are basically Brits, so Gastown’s history and heavy brick buildings instantly appealed to us.”
When a space opened up on the first level, overlooking the water and train tracks below, they took it. The brick walls and stellar view are part of the charm of the neighbourhood both for the owners and new recruits. Kabuni now employ about 30 people who appreciate all that the neighbourhood has to offer.
“We’re competing against other tech companies for talent,” Johnson notes. “I can offer them a work environment with one of the best views in the city, not to mention great restaurants and nightlife. It’s where people want to be.”
You can find Kabuni in the app store.