Noa Santos '06
Noa Santos '06
CEO and Founder of Homepolish
What is your favorite memory as a student at ‘Iolani?
AP Art class - behind those double doors was a total escape. I loved it.
Who was your most influential/favorite teacher at ‘Iolani?
Tie. Between Mr. Hackler of U.S. History and Ms. Longo of English. They celebrated being different and encouraged us to do the same.
In what ways has your ‘Iolani experience shaped your life after ‘Iolani?
‘Iolani made life afterwards seem easy in comparison! Academically, at least, it pushed me beyond the outer limits of my abilities - but then again I'm not altogether that bright.
What influences from your ‘Iolani experience do you bring to your business?
If you aren't smarter than everyone else, work longer and harder than they do.
What is the inspiration behind Homepolish? What differentiates you from a traditional design firm?
Too many people don't love what they see or how they feel when they walk through their own front door. That's simply unacceptable. There are thousands of talented emerging interior designers around the world eager to help and yet, for so long, they've been stuck working for only the wealthiest clientele because of a broken business model. Homepolish is changing the way people access design talent by changing the business itself.
Explain your philosophy that design should be thought of like personal fashion.
A room, just like a shirt or a dress, means something more when someone is in it. And just like the clothes we choose to put on everyday, the spaces we choose to live and work in say something about who we are. Just like our wardrobes, our spaces should never stop changing. They should evolve as we do.
What advice do you have for someone trying to redesign their space?
Use Homepolish! Just kidding (but not really).
What is the biggest lesson you've learned as an entrepreneur?
Completely unoriginal and coming from someone who has never swung a baseball bat in his life - the more swings you take and the more times you're willing to miss without giving up, the more hits you're going to have.
Noa Santos, the CEO and Founder of Homepolish, graduated from 'Iolani School in 2006 and went on to study architecture and business at Stanford. Shortly after, he began his career at a high-end interior design firm in New York City. Quickly becoming frustrated with what he observed about the industry, Santos struck out on his own to make interior design available to a wider audience. Taking on a Buzzfeed coder, Will Nathan, as an early client, the two re-designed Nathan’s Chelsea apartment on a budget and in the process reimagined the interior design experience to be accessible, personal, and fun.
Today, Homepolish works with more than 500 talented designers nationwide offering clients design services at flat hourly fees. Collectively the company has designed more than 10,000 homes and offices, ranging from accessorizing small studio apartments for renters to renovating $15M penthouses for homeowners. With more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram and a digital magazine featuring wholly original content, Homepolish has established itself as the go-to brand for daily inspiration and creative design ideas for today’s savvy consumer.