I read about Hamlet a couple of months ago. Having procrastinated on a ceiling light search because I had a specific aesthetic in mind yet technical limitations to conquer, I decided the time was ripe to try my "personal home stylist, from the comfort of my phone". I'm so glad I did.
Hamlet has a conveniently low barrier for consumer entry because it's just a number to text -- not an app, not even Facebook Messenger. I dove right in to describe my lighting need. A bot responded with two basic questions about the type of item I was shopping for and how much I wanted to spend (both multiple choice). Then, a human stylist stepped in to ask the more subjective, style-oriented questions I don't envision a machine asking or understanding anytime soon.
Impressively, my stylist grasped my taste and technical needs quickly. She came back with a number of options. They weren't exhaustive, but they were well-curated. Nothing was so off-the-mark that I felt like I was talking to a bot or hadn't been heard. My stylist corresponded with me over several days and was patient with my questions about measurements and wiring. It was clear she wanted to make the sale, which was appropriate, and sought real-time feedback from me as she sent options.
In the end, my favorite light was going to be made-to-order of hand-spun steel in Portland. While the longer lead time and final sale policy was a deal-breaker for me, I appreciated the storytelling glimpse into one of Hamlet's smaller scale suppliers.
A month later, I returned to Hamlet for a table lamp. A stylist asked me for pictures of the room it would be gracing or some Pinterest inspiration, neither of which I had. But I described the room as well as possible and broadly described what I had in mind. The stylist came back in about 20 minutes with eight options. None was off-base relative to what I asked for, and there was one I really liked for the space I had in mind.
Bonus: The price was about half of the budget I had set. I asked a couple of follow-up questions, my stylist sent me a transaction link (through Bottles, which is actually the vendor that charged my credit card), and I quickly paid.
This entire experience happened on my phone while I was doing a few tasks on other devices, eating lunch, and carrying on a conversation. I didn't have to click out to see anything until it was time to pay (a similar service might provide a browser link rather than an in-message photo). It was faster and easier than searching every decor web site that comes to mind. Similar to finding an item in a boutique without having done a ton of my own research, I don't know whether there's a better lamp out there or whether I could find mine at a lower price. But I'm really happy with the product I ordered, the experience I had, and the efficiency of it all.
I'm happy to report Hamlet's now in my contacts. At the end of my experience, I got an auto-text asking me to share the good word about my experience on Twitter or Facebook (for 10% off a future purchase, though I'm not sure how my sharing is tracked since I wasn't given a unique link or referral code -- in other words, I'm not being paid to write this). The system message was followed up by a sweet and chattier text from my stylist. A beautiful tech+human combination.
The top image was my welcome message after I texted Hamlet. Note: They're not open on weekends, but if you reach out you'll get an on-brand message letting you know you'll hear from someone on Monday.