Do-it-yourself painters know the drill: in advance of tackling a home painting project, you go to the paint store or big box retailer with an idea in mind, come back home armed with paint swatches, hold them up against the wall and then try to imagine what that wall would look like in a new color.
Hardly a scientific approach.
But what if you could take a picture of a wall or surface you want to paint, upload the photo into an app on your smartphone, then apply several different brands and colors of paint to the selected area, letting you see how the room, with your own furniture and fabrics already in it, would look in a completely new color?
St. Louis entrepreneur Nathan Riner has taken the “what if” out of the equation. His new app, called MyWay Paint, promises to make your home painting project less painful – by offering you the chance to see your room’s new look without going to the effort of painting it first.
“I was watching family members go through the process of redesigning some space — picking colors and working with a designer who was holding up paint swatches next to the wall,” says Riner. “I thought, ‘surely there must be an app for this. There’s an app for everything.'” When he found apps that came close to what he wanted to do, but did not quickly allow customers to view how a space would look in a new color, he says, “I decided to try to solve the problem.”
After downloading the app, Riner says the process of using MyWay Paint is as simple as taking a photo, selecting a paint color from among the more than 7,000 options currently available within the tool, and then simply touching the appropriate area of the screen (usually a wall) that you want to paint. “You have the option to paint by color, by brand or by store,” says Riner. “Most do-it-yourselfers have a color in mind they want to pursue. But a painter using the app may use a particular brand of paint, so he may want to paint by brand first. Other people might have a particular store, say a Home Depot, located close by, so they’ll search for paints only available there. So it’s available three ways.” Riner indicates the app will soon let consumers search by color name and paint chip color codes as well.
In his research, Riner found platforms that aim, in concept, to do what MyWay Paint does, but don’t offer as many conveniences.
For example, one of those other platforms – a feature found on a large paint manufacturer’s website — requires users to upload photos to their desktop computer. “Since MyWay Paint isn’t desktop bound, designers can take their iPads to client sites instead of large paint fan decks, take a picture of their space, and then show the client that space in multiple colors quickly while onsite,” says Riner.
Also, “in order to paint the walls like MyWay Paint, their visualizer requires customers to use different types of tools like paint brushes or tracing tools that are time consuming and not intuitive. MyWay Paint’s algorithm allows the user to simply touch the wall they’d like painted, and the program will paint around furniture and other objects in the room while maintaining shadows and lighting. MyWay Paint is instantaneous, intuitive, mobile, and will soon be offering more solutions to make the process even more hassle free.”
He adds MyWay Paint has social sharing capabilities, so if do-it-yourself painters want to ask friends, via social media, if their room looks better in green or blue, they can.
Riner initiated the project by bootstrapping MyWay Paint, having taken what he calls the “friends and family route” for financing, but is now speaking with angel investors to secure additional funding. Beyond financing, Riner says he’s looking for painters and designers who are interested in sourcing jobs through a future update of MyWay Paint.
It’s important to know what MyWay Paint will NOT do. Customers can’t purchase paint through the app, and the app doesn’t include a mechanism for having that paint delivered to your home at this time. The goals of MyWay Paint, says Riner, are to simplify the customer experience, then to drive customers to the paint store for purchase. “I’ve built a mapping system which has all of the Home Depot, Lowes, Sherwin-Williams, and True Value stores in the nation where these paints are available, and the app directs you to the store closest to you where the paints are – you can geolocate to the nearest store and go pick it up.”
That’s just one of several ways he plans to monetize MyWay Paint – by partnering with manufacturers and retailers in driving traffic to their paint products, and their stores, all while enhancing the customer experience. The app is free to consumers.
“Let’s talk about the average individual during the paint testing processes. They go with their significant other to the store and pick up paint samples. They come home and move the furniture around. They go back to the store and spend money on test paints, brushes, and other products. You may have an argument with your significant other, and at this point you’ve wasted three or four hours of your Saturday. All the while you’ve only seen your room in little painted squares – not your entire room. Oh, and by the way, cleanup time hasn’t even started. Here, you can quickly see what your whole room looks like against your furniture and fabrics in a matter of seconds.”
“I’m helping do-it-your-selfers narrow their selection process more quickly.”
In other words, taking a bit of the pain, out of painting.