You may never have a mansion like Oprah’s, but now you can chat with her favorite interior designer, Nate Berkus—for a fee, of course.
a new app, identity, allows anyone to book face-to-face video calls with industry experts for advice in areas ranging from fashion and beauty to interior design, event planning and business development. While some users may book a session for a quick, specific question, the platform was also developed to allow users to replicate a complete consultation experience. Calls are offered in 15, 30, 45, and 60 minute increments; With some experts, such as Liana Levy, founder of Pharma Pilates, start at $100 per 15 minutes, while Berkus and other household names charge up to $500. (New users get $10 off their first session.)
Founded in late 2021 by Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Rad Mobrem, Intro was built on a desire for “democratic access” to industry experts—a goal that stemmed from a grim encounter with Paul Orphalia, founder of Mobrem’s copy-chain Kinko. was inspired when he was just 18 years old. Mobrem, who previously worked as a consultant for Delta Airlines and led the product team at Intuit, credits that brief conversation for much of his success. “In the 15 minutes we had, I asked him about entrepreneurship, and he shared some important lessons that inspired me and gave me the confidence to start my entrepreneurial journey,” Mobrem says. (Orfalea, by the way, is also available to chat via Intro; 15 minutes will cost you $275.)
Intro is not the first product of its kind; At this point, there’s practically an entire cottage industry of fan-to-celebrity communication. Feather master ClassAnnie Leibovitz teaches photography while Serena Williams coaches tennis. and on cameo, fans can commission personalized videos from Mark McGrath and David Kochner. The difference with introductions is usability: introductions are tangible, actionable, focused on feedback, not mingling with your idols and inspiration. (No offense to Serena et al., but those masterclass lessons aren’t really designed to turn you into a professional athlete; they’re more about general life advice. And most cameo sessions take just a few days.) Get lost in the internet ether.) Most of the experts at Intro don’t accept small-scale projects from new clients and aren’t bookable anywhere else online, so unless you’re Oprah or the Kardashians, this app is your go-to May be the only chance to reach such top-tier. Talent.
The platform is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Alexis Ohanian of Seven Seven Six (Ohanian, known for cofounding Reddit, is an expert on the platform), CAA founder Michael Ovitz and an anonymous network of celebrities, athletes and CEOs . On the homepage, there is a form to apply to become an expert, which states that experts have the opportunity to earn up to $500,000 annually using the platform. Intro charges 30% commission from experts.
I was given the opportunity to test out the service and opted in to chat with Sean Henderson, an interior designer. architectural digest Reputed AD100 List, with over 20 years of experience. On Intro, Henderson’s 15-minute sessions start at $199 (an hour runs you $765). Henderson tells me that he tries to do about six sessions a month, fitting them between larger-scale projects and summer travel. He has worked with clients over five or more sessions, renovating furniture according to their suggestions and examining the purchase form. After scheduling a weekday afternoon, we paused on the video conference within the Intro app and immediately began the chatting design. With a countdown on top of your video call, it’s not hard to make the most of every second.
I gave Henderson a tour of my home so he could understand my design style before showing the laundry area I wanted to focus on. I explained my problem: My washer and dryer were taking up too much space under my ladder; Since it was already an eye irritation problem, I felt encouraged to leave a pile of laundry around them. Henderson immediately got to work, outlining ideas for swapping alongside me. washer and dryer for a stackable unit, moving them against the back wall via a (possibly expensive) plumbing solution, and making room for cabinetry. They also housed options for the sink and drying rack or countertop for folding. Then he explained another option, where I could create an enclosed laundry room instead of an open one, using a pocket door. He wasn’t able to provide pricing quotes, but he cited specific websites and brands to check for wallpaper for back wall and durable floor paint to cover my crappy tile floors in the area.
None of the intro experts communicate with clients outside the app, including sending links or providing scans of sketches. When I asked Henderson how it worked, he quickly explained that his introductory clients take detailed notes. I found myself with some notes from our call and screenshots of his sketches; But more than anything, a sense of faith in ideas that were already vague to me. I can show a contractor the screenshots when I move forward on this renovation, but will need to make more formal drawings based on Henderson’s advice. Intro’s app does not allow chatting or exchanging images.
After exhausting all the details I got from the video call about my laundry room, I asked him about a strange idea I’d had in my mind for a long time: to have a freestanding bathtub in my bedroom. Here, in the last three minutes of our video conference, I was looking for a professional opinion and gut feedback, not a sketch or mockup. Henderson, who had already taken note of the style of the bathroom faucet and the decor of my overall home, urged me not to go for the traditional English telephone faucet. “You don’t want a themed room,” he explained. Something more transitional would be better in my location. I would have loved to scroll through the options with him and choose them all together, but this touching piece of advice was enough to take me back to the drawing board as I planned this addition.
If you’ve done your own research, and DIY-ed your Pinterest board as far as you can go, intros may be the last step you need to check out some ideas before starting on a renovation project, a new fitness routine. Is. Or a dramatic new hairstyle. Would I have paid Henderson $199 to confirm my suspicions about the bathtub? Probably not, but I appreciated his openness to deviate from the initial topic.
For business development, Intro directly mimics a consultation, giving business owners the opportunity to practice a pitch on Ohanian and other industry veterans. Who knows, in a few years, Intro will be using the success story of a young entrepreneur who used the app to promote his services. That, or they’ll need some compelling “before and after” photos of the kitchen remodel.