Over the past couple decades, retail has fundamentally changed. Amazon has swept in and devoured mom and pop stores, while incumbent brands face increased competition from a new crop of digital-first companies.
But not everything changes. People still want to see and feel the goods they’ll purchase, and most brands still see huge benefits from having a physical outpost.
At Disrupt SF 2019, we’ll hear from three founders and CEOs who have managed to not only build successful D2C brands, but also take those brands into the physical world.
So without any further ado, we’re delighted to announce that Brooklinen cofounder and CEO Rich Fulop, Framebridge founder and CEO Susan Tynan, and thredUP founder and CEO James Reinhart will join us at Disrupt SF 2019, which runs October 2 – October 4.
Brooklinen launched in 2014 with a straightforward value proposition: luxury sheets for a relatively affordable price. The company was founded by Rich and Vicki Fulop, a married couple, who have expanded the brand to encompass not only bed linens but towels, bath mats, and even loungewear. Through a combination of word of mouth and fantastic brand design, the products have grown in popularity over the years. But one of the real breakthroughs of the company was the decision to move forward with a physical space.
The Fulops thought carefully about timing, location, whether or not to hold inventory, how to design the space, and some of the other details that might seem like minutiae but that make a meaningful difference in the success of the store. We’re amped to hear more from Fulop about how he made these decisions and which ones worked out.
Framebridge, founded by Susan Tynan, launched in 2014 and has raised a whopping $82 million to dramatically simplify the process of getting things framed. Framebridge helps users visualize how their items will look in different style frames, and then sends shipping labels to the user. By letting users shop online, and centralizing the framing process in a single location, the company has been able to offer customers lower prices than traditional framers. Lower prices then translates to users getting more things framed.
Earlier this year, however, Framebridge shook things up with the introduction of two physical stores: one in Bethesda, MD and one in downtown Washington D.C. According to Tynan, average order volumes are 40 percent higher in store than they were online. Tynan brings a unique perspective to the panel in that the stores are built specifically to mimic the process of buying through Framebridge’s website, with the hope to turn physical buyers into online buyers. Plus, Framebridge operates two stores in very different markets, with one location in a concentrated metropolitan area and one in a more suburban neighborhood.
Meanwhile, thredUP founder and CEO James Reinhart has paved his own way in the offline retail world. The company claims to be the largest online marketplace for secondhand clothing, and is looking to take that same dominance into brick-and-mortar. But not without a certain level of calculation.
thredUP is using its troves of consumer behavior data to make decisions in offline, including the locations of the stores. The first store, for example, was launched in San Marcos, TX because the company has an unusually high concentration of shoppers in that area. Moreover, thredUP uses data about what types of clothing shoppers in a certain geographical area are interested in, and stock their stores accordingly. Plus, the company has built technology to let offline shoppers browse the entire online inventory based on the things they like in the stores.
Obviously, there is plenty to learn from these founders about all the finer points of taking a digital-first brand into the real world. We’re thrilled to have them all in the same room, and hope you’ll join us.
Disrupt SF runs October 2 – October 4 at the Moscone Center in the heart of San Francisco. Tickets are available here.
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