Cover Story: Nonya Collier, Founder of Cozily Home

Mar 12, 2018

Meet Nonya Collier, the Founder of Cozily Home and winner of the 2017 AWE Pitch Competition.

A relatively new company, Cozily Home curates modern furniture and decor for quality, price, and quick delivery. Items require no or minimal assembly. The idea is to gear the right item to the customer’s taste to save the hassle of endlessly searching. Customers choose a look that represents their style or request a custom design. They can then swap products in the design for similar ones and, finally, buy the furniture and decor they love.

Here's what she had to say when we spoke with her:

Why did you found this company? I found that people really struggled in finding furniture and décor that meets their needs. We already had a company serving as concierges for people who are moving and we had a number of people who asked us to connect them with someone who could eliminate decisions. Can you find us the three top headboards under $1,000? I realized that there was a much greater market for this. There is a trend around the paradox of choice and making shopping easier, such as StitchFix for clothes and curating recommendations for restaurants. We take away decision fatigue for people buying furniture and decor.  

What’s your core business philosophy? We understand our customer, that there are people who love having a great home but don’t want to spend hours and hours pinning things. Ease is the main thing we think about. How do we make shopping easier for people?  

How did you fund the company when you first started, and why?  When I first started it was as an add-on to our existing company, which operated only in the Philadelphia market. When we decided to try this under a different platform and take it nationally, I bootstrapped it. Bootstrapping allows you to obtain validation from customers instead of investors. Fundraising is something we will do when we are further down the road. 

How do you keep a competitive edge as your company grows? When I think about our competition, companies like Wayfair and Joss & Main, they are really more geared to selling the service and the furniture is an add-on. Our customers aren’t paying us money upfront just to get advice. We offer better value. 

How do you measure success? Ultimately, sales is a measure of success. So is traffic to our website, how many people are responding to this idea? Every piece of feedback we get from customers is a gift. 

What motivates you? As an entrepreneur, I created Cozily because I think business is service and we are helping people who are reaching milestones in life and making their homes better. As a woman, a person on this earth, I’m motivated by what God has led me to do to make a difference in this life. 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?  To define the small steps I can take to take this journey to the end.  

How the AWE network has impacted you and your business? At the AWE competition, I was deeply touched and excited by the support I received, at the great opportunity to be mentored. The workshops in preparation for the competition showed me what an awesome opportunity interacting with AWE members is. 

What’s the most influential book you’ve read in the last five years? I have read so many good ones. I am a big reader. Profit First by Michael Michalowicz, a start-up accounting book, is an influential book about the mindset of being an entrepreneur and pushed me toward a lean startup approach. I read my Bible every day and that makes an impact on my day-to-day decisions.  

If you weren’t involved with your current venture, you would be: I would probably use the time to do other community service, such as volunteering at nonprofits and serving Philadelphia.  

The goal of the Cover Stories series is to profile female founders scaling companies to counterbalance the constant flow of cover stories that only focus on 20-year old men dressed in jeans and hoodies. High-growth women founders exist, and their stories should take a leading role in shaping how we see entrepreneurship. If you know a female founder we should cover, please contact us.

Thank you to 2017 Founders' Pitch Prize Donors 

Kathleen Bellwoar, Founder and CEO, PPT Consulting
Vicki Burkhart, Founder and CEO, The Burkhart Group 
Rose Cook, Founder and CEO, The FlexPro Group 
Denise Devine, Founder and CEO, RTM Vital Signs, LLC 
Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO, Monetate 
Jane Hollingsworth, Partner, Militia Hill Ventures 
Angela Nadeau, CEO, CompuData, Inc. 
Allison O'Kelly, Founder and CEO, MomCorps 
Ellen Stang, Founder and CEO, Progeny Health