Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard

By Designer Marketplace
Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard

In the fast-growing area of e-design, Olioboard is one of the most appealing—and addictive—tools available to the design community. Hear how Olioboard's CEO, Sheilah MacSporran developed this exciting tool to create and share design inspiration.

What inspired you to create Olioboard?

Prior to starting Olioboard, I was (and still am) running a web design company called Keele UX Inc. Our focus is mainly on large-scale community sites and web and mobile apps. We have been fortunate to work with many of the top online brands such as InStyle, DailyBurn, Pond5 and Geeknet. Some of the apps that we helped our clients create started to really take off so we thought we would jump into the game and create our own app. I have always had a strong interest in experimenting with interior design and Olioboard was a way for us to bring our web design skills and my passion for interior design together.

Where does the name Olioboard come from?

We must have gone through dozens of names to find something that wasn't already taken. Then we came across the word "olio" which means a collection or hodgepodge of miscellaneous items. It seemed like such a perfect fit. We tacked "board" onto the end of it to tie back to terms that users are more familiar with like style boards, mood boards, inspiration boards etc.

Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard
"sunset" by kari2011

Did you develop the site to attract the professional design community or the home enthusiast?

Olioboard has always been open to anyone who has an interest in interior design and home décor. We have a large community of DIYers and design enthusiasts. We also have a large community of professional designers who have begun to use Olioboard as a standard tool in their businesses. Olioboard can be an incredibly helpful tool in sourcing items, creating quick concepts, collaborating easily with your client and even used as a presentation tool.


How can designers use Olioboard to promote their work?

A number of designers have decided to use Olioboard to create e-design platforms as a way to expand their business. This opens up a new revenue stream for them as well as expanding their clientele outside of their local area.

Many designers now create their boards on Olioboard and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Leveraging the huge audience from these social sharing sites allows them to access the massive site traffic and drive awareness for their brand.

Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard
"kitchen & dining organization" by Designasauris

How can design bloggers use Olioboard?

Olioboard is a fantastic tool for creating blog content. You can create beautiful 3D visuals of your designs that showcase your ability and services and the best part is that there is no cost for photography.

I especially love watching a design's progression. I love seeing the "before" shot of the space, then the mood board that was approved by the client and, finally, the "after" shot of the room. It's amazing to see a visual concept truly come to life with Olioboard.

How do you select the vendors whose products make up the image library at Olioboard?

Our main goal is to provide a library with a wide variety of quality products. In creating the library, we actually opened it up to the community and asked them to submit brands that they wanted to have on Olioboard. A number of brands were continually being requested and so we approached these brands about sharing their lines on Olioboard.

Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard
"soothing, relaxing sunroom" by alliephillips38

Design Challenges seem to be a popular feature of the site. Why the interest in contests?

Design challenges are a great way for people to practice their skills. The contests are a mix of exploring creativity and having fun. Our goal has always been to encourage a positive, uplifting site that breaks down barriers.

We offer a badge to the top three winning boards in each challenge and showcase those boards on our Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as on and the Olioboard blog. This can be great added exposure for designers that are looking to promote their businesses.

Professionally Speaking: Interview with Sheilah MacSporran, CEO of Olioboard
"nursery" by marialuisalim

Where do you personally find design inspiration? How does this impact the design options on Olioboard?

I've always been interested in interior design. I browse design magazines, design blogs and home decor stores. When it comes to inspiration for Olioboard, I look to the Olioboard community.

When we first started Olioboard, I created 2D boards that I thought were pretty good. Then our members started to create the most amazing 3D room designs. Their work inspired us to create new features like the "empty room" image library to provide backdrops for their designs. We then added a collection of texture images that include stone and brick walls, barn board, stainless steel and much more for further customization. The text tool, color tool and budget tool were all developed in response to requests from our members. Ultimately this is a tool for the community and we believe they should have a say in the direction the site takes.

Here are a few more resources for you to get started with Olioboard today:


[Top photo credit: "fireplace charm" by cherylelizabeth; All photos courtesy of Olioboard]

Olioboard is an easy and intuitive application for creating digital mood boards. It is also a community of interior designers and creative thinkers coming together to share inspiration and offer feedback. Tailor-made with interior designers in mind, Olioboard integrates a huge library of interior design related images, neatly organized by category and ready to be dropped into your creation.