January 10, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—108th Interview: When Designing Heartfelt Spaces Together, Co-Founders Miri Buckland & Ellie Buckingham are Sticking The Landing

The proverb “Home is where the heart is” rings true. Miri Buckland (left) and Ellie Buckingham (right) do take seriously this declaration. Together, they founded a furnishing service—completely reimagined and aptly called the Landing. Here, they share their thoughts and experiences on creating a company, collaborating on projects, making ideas happen and more.

How did you become collaborators turned business founders?

We met at graduate school, where we realized that becoming entrepreneurs meant just doing it. We weren’t looking for the next huge market to disrupt. We were just convinced that the furnishing experience was still a nightmare for our generation and there had to be a better way. Once we started diving into the problem, we could not shake the desire to solve it ourselves. We realized our combined deep personal obsessions with design and synthesizing complex processes meant we were uniquely positioned to approach the problem from a different angle. We get excited by how messy the problem is!

When and how did you arrive at the idea of the Landing?

We started out by doing hundreds of customer interviews and listening to what people said about their design and furnishing experiences. We became obsessed with the emotional components of the process—this thing that starts out with hope, excitement and anticipation that so frequently ends in distress. We noticed that no existing solution actually listened to the emotional expression of its customers. So, we spent the summer of 2019 physically moving customers into their apartments and providing every component of the furnishing experience ourselves from design to logistics management to truck driving to furniture building. We built over 200 pieces of furniture by hand (!) but what we spent the most time doing was listening really closely to what our customers said AND didn’t say … when their eyebrows raised in concern or when they ‘secretly’ took a sneak peak photo to text to their sister in excitement.

Through this hands-on experience, we learned about the type of platform we wanted to build—a design experience that teaches you how, rather than tells you what. Since launching our online design platform in June 2020, we also learnt that our users wanted the experience to be social, rather than single player—they wanted to see other users’ designs and have the ability to engage with one another. With those learnings, the Landing has evolved. We’re now building a design platform that empowers everyone to design together. Importantly, we believe that the future of design and product discovery is social, experiential, and creator-led. We provide our community with the tools to discover, remix, and create shoppable designs, starting with the home vertical..

Fundamentally, we strongly believe our spaces are deeply personal, and uniquely human. Everything we do—from our design approach, to how we choose to communicate, to our unwavering loyalty to quality and long-term orientation—is dedicated to creating heartfelt spaces with endless joy.

How did you document your idea? Did you write it down? Doodle it?

Whiteboards were our thing! And they still are, even virtually. We’re big fans of Miro. We love to get all our thoughts out there, use color, erase, re-do, and ask people for feedback.

Was the Landing competing with other ideas at the time? What made the Landing dominate as the idea to realize?

Our biggest learning was that ...

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