A Look Inside Clubhouse

The audio-only app offers networking and educational benefits for retailers and interior designers.

Amy McIntosh
05/26/2021
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Photo by Dmitry Mashkin on Unsplash
Photo by Dmitry Mashkin on Unsplash

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably heard talk of Clubhouse. This invite-only social networking app hit the scene in April 2020, and as the COVID-19 pandemic picked up, so did its membership. But what is this exclusive app that everyone from Elon Musk to Oprah seems to be a part of? 

In basic terms, the audio-only app lets users listen in on conversations between users on nearly any topic under the sun, and even join in themselves. There are no cameras, just your phone’s microphone, which makes the platform less intimidating and more accessible than a video call.

How Does Clubhouse Work?

As part of Clubhouse’s controlled rollout, currently the app is only available on Apple’s iOS, and new members must be invited by an existing member; each user receives two invitations when they sign up and more as they continue to use the app. If you have an iPhone and manage to snag an invite, you’re ready to get started. 

The app can be tricky to navigate, as there are no images beyond profile pictures and emojis, but once you get the hang of it, the premise is quite simple. Users can join or create “rooms” on a topic of their choosing and listen in on a conference call-style conversation with others on the topic. Users can opt to passively listen to the conversation taking place, and if they have something to contribute they can ask to come to the virtual stage by raising their hand at the push of a button. 

Active users can also create their own clubs, amassing a collection of experts on a particular topic as members. Anyone can follow a club geared toward the particular interest and be notified when a room is starting. Simply join the room, turn up the volume and listen to the conversation in progress.

Clubhouse Membership Benefits

Clubhouse is all about connection. The app launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to grow in the following months. At a time when people were stuck at home, missing social interactions, Clubhouse provided an outlet for communication and meeting new people. With in-person conferences and markets canceled, Clubhouse became a way for professionals to network and learn from each other about their specific areas of interest. That connection continues today, even as life slowly returns to normal.

Without the pressure video sometimes places on virtual interactions, the audio-only platform makes networking less intimidating than chiming in on a Zoom call. Often compared to live podcasting, the app’s live audio content is easy to access on the go. There’s no equipment to buy or software to install, and participation is as easy as raising your virtual hand and using your voice.

The topics are vast, ranging from hobbies to professional interests and everything in between. Scrolling through the app at presstime, the homepage is promoting trending rooms on Shopify SEO, Bitcoin, Kanye West and first-time home buying. There’s plenty of opportunity for design pros at any level to learn and grow their network. See the list on the right for some of our top club picks. 

Clubs to Join

Design and home furnishings pros are flocking to the app for networking and education. Below are some clubs we’ve been following. Search for their names on the app, click “follow” and get notified about their upcoming discussion rooms.

Designers Talk 

With a weekly schedule of discussion topics, this club’s experts chat daily about interior design branding, profitability, trends and more. The weekly schedule of events and speakers is posted on the club’s main page.

Retail Store Owners

This club is designed to bring together owners of both brick-and-mortar and online retail businesses. Find discussions and tips on marketing, funding, commercial real estate, digital tools and more. 

Design Coffee Chat

Led by design business expert Leslie Carothers, this club meets every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. EST to discuss the interior design business, share news and network.

LED Lighting & Design

This forum for lighting industry professionals is designed to discuss the energy-saving opportunities LED lighting provides in an effort to educate each other as well as the wider Clubhouse audience.

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