Jen proudly earned a degree in interior design from the International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT) and has over 15 years of experience in the industry.
Before she created DoorFoto, Jen worked for various home builders and design agencies, before the industry was restructured back in 2008 during The Great Recession.
During that time, she assisted in the designing of interior finishes (i.e. flooring, paint, bathroom tile, as well as furniture, window treatments, and decor) of model homes all across Florida.
Jen has also served as a furniture sales associate at Crate and Barrel when she earned “million dollar seller” in 2010 before becoming a part of the showroom design team.
Through her innovative business, DoorFoto, Jen’s helped find a way to revolutionize the idea of door decorating and we’re excited to learn more about her story with our brand-new Q&A
What inspired you to start DoorFoto? How has your product evolved from the first iteration?
Growing up, I always had an interest in design. My degree is in interior design from IADT, and after working for various home builders and agencies, I found myself out of a job when the industry was restructured back in 2008-2009 during The Great Recession. Around that time, my husband and I had our first child and I decided to stay home and raise our children for a couple of years.
We live in South Tampa, and back in January of 2017, I started to notice people decorating their doors with more expensive and elaborate Gasparilla wreaths during the season. For someone like me with a passion for design and decor, it inspired me.
While my friends were excited to decorate their doors for Gasparilla, I wanted something more than just a wreath—something exotic and customizable!
After failing miserably at finding a Gasparilla door cover on Amazon and Etsy and becoming price shocked when we went to a local printer to get something customized, we decided we would make a door cover on our own.
This led to the creation of DoorFoto.
Today our site has over 50+ categories from Christmas to Hanukkah, Halloween to Juneteenth, and of course amazing images for Gasparilla.
We give customers over 1,800+ designs to choose from or they can create their own with our online design tools.
But, it didn’t start out like this.
In the beginning, we had very few designs and no tools to allow customers to personalize or make their own DoorFoto. We created what some people call an “MVP” or Minimum Viable Product, to see if people would actually buy what we were creating.
The site was very bare, and the original images were not very good, but people did buy and started to leave amazing reviews.
That’s when I knew we were onto something special.
What’s your long-term vision/goal(s) for the brand?
To own the high-end door décor space.
We want DoorFoto to be synonymous with beautiful and simple door decorations. DoorFotos are not stickers, they are made from athletic fabric that is washable and reusable. Installation takes just 28-seconds. The simplicity is what makes the product so unique as anyone can now become a superstar decorator in less than a minute. Our HUGE selection of images keeps our customers coming back to decorate for all holidays or special occasions like weddings or graduation.
Our next big goals are to go after the licensing market. We just got approval to partner with the NCAA so you will see some amazing new products coming out in the next two to three months.
We will then focus on the professional sports markets like the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and of course, the entertainment industry like Disney. We want our brand to transcend the consumer’s thought process.
Instead of them asking for a door cover, they will just ask for a DoorFoto. Similar to what Kleenex did to the tissue market so many years ago.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
I have learned to celebrate the little victories. Being a new startup can be extremely rewarding and extremely depressing all on the same day. By looking for the small “win” every day and celebrating all the little victories, I find that it keeps our momentum going. It could be a new five-star review. A nice email that a customer sends telling us how our product made their neighbors smile. The light on all the kid’s faces in the cancer center when a doctor decided to decorate all the kid’s doors in their medical facility last Christmas season. These little wins have been instrumental in balancing the obstacles that are constantly popping up.
Can you share your favorite DoorFoto design? Why is it your favorite?
Wow, it’s hard to pick just one as we have so many designs now. We keep our door decorated, pretty much the entire year, and let our kids pick the images or create their own designs. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be our “Santa Claus with Gifts.” This is an old-fashioned picture of Santa sitting in a chair with gifts and the design filter makes the image look like an old oil painting. It is a very popular image and is so transformative when you hang it up on your front door. It immediately makes me smile and puts me in the Christmas spirit!
What do you love most about owning a business in Tampa?
There are so many things I love about Tampa. It is a small city with big, ambitious plans. We recently got accepted into a startup incubator program at Embarc Collective, so it’s great to see that Tampa is truly embracing and helping startup companies across all industries.
You also can’t beat our city’s proximity to the water. We visit Pass-A-Grille beach often, which is our favorite, so once a month we feel like we are taking a mini vacation. And the weather is great too… at least for nine months out of the year.