This may surprise you, but for new fashion brands, running a direct-to-consumer (DTC) fashion store is becoming more and more difficult, due in part to the increasing costs of customer acquisition. In short, one of the biggest areas of conflict as we continue to operate business during the pandemic it sales. In fact, the onset of the pandemic has signaled the tremendous rise of direct to consumer sales for the fashion industry overall.
Mavely is an eCommerce platform that is making product discovery and customer acquisition easy for women-owned fashion brands. Thanks to what they tagged “communal commerce,” they are gradually helping thousands of female entrepreneurs reach their sales goals, without having to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.
When I analyze the financial situation on fashions market segmentation, I use a simple rule of thumb to determine whether new opportunities are the right choice for them. If they have the key factors required to increase sales, then it is worth taking a serious look at the opportunity.
The DTC fashion industry is divided into three categories: fashion taking 75% shares, cosmetics at 17%, and jewelry at 8%. I am sure you have all kinds of questions. This is what I found out.
The competition is high— in any of the above mentioned categories. At present, there are over 22,000 companies in total operating in the DTC industry. If you solely focus on the traditional paid ads, you’ll most likely get frustrated because of the hefty saturation in the fashion market place. More to the point, with so many DTC fashion brands such as Chanel, Anine Bing, Shinola, SummerSalt, in addition to many others aiming to be creative in their marketing strategies, you have to do something particularly unique to stand out of the fashion crowed.
Mavely is an e-commerce platform that is making product discovery and customer acquisition easy for women-owned fashion brands around the globe. Even though it may be done quite consciously, it puts people in the process of learning to master the process and set their fashion goals.
Thanks to what the brand tagged “communal commerce,” it seems that they are gradually helping thousands of female entrepreneurs reach their sales goals, without having to spend a fortune on customer acquisition. In a sense it lends female fashion entrepreneurs to begin identifying the sales goal purpose which accelerates the journey to good financial bottom lines.
The company, founded by Evan Wray, Peggy O’Flaherty, and Sean O’Brien in 2019, has seen numerous successes since then. In 2019, they raised $1 million in funding from PivotNorth Capital, a Silicon Valley VC firm invested in companies such as Looker, Chime, and Sun Basket. And currently has 15,000 users (sellers) on their app and 200+ direct to consumer brands, including Allbirds, Everlane, and Brooklinen, and upstairs like Blume, Magic Spoon, and Vrai.
How their business works is, they allow their users (85% women) to earn cash from home by shopping and selling female-founded and sustainable brands with their friends. The Co-founder of Mavely, Evan Wray, says, “Instead of all those dollars going to Facebook, we’re seeing those dollars actually go into the pockets of families all across the United States.”
It’s a thoughtful business idea that has attracted many brands and buyers on their platform. There are no doubts that they will see more success in the future because as their Co-founder, Peggy O’Flaherty, said: “People naturally want to share the products they love to friends and family; in fact, 60% of consumers and 70% of millennials say social content from friends and family impact their purchasing decisions. We created a platform that allows them to easily tap into an established network of new and exciting brands to earn cash.” It’s a win-win for everybody.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Evan Wray, the Cofounder of Mavely, to talk to us about how the business functions, the inspiration for launching the company, and their aim to reach great success within the fashion marketplace and beyond!
Joseph DeAcetis: Tell Forbes about your the brands history and DNA and how it relates to the fashion marketplace today?
Evan Wray: We founded Mavely with the goal of helping millions of users and families earn additional income by shopping and sharing products they love. We saw so many amazing startup companies and big brands that were struggling to attract more customers in cost effective ways. We also saw millions of women (85% of our user base is female) who were authentically recommending products to their friends and shopping for themselves. At Mavely, we decided to build a platform that matched these two groups up in a way that is a win-win for our brand partners and users. From our very founding, we have been focused on building an inclusive community of ultimately millions of users across the globe, where everyone is earning a little extra income by promoting products that are female-founded, sustainable, and/or good for the world. Our motto is “Do Good. Get Paid.”
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about Mavely launched?
Evan Wray: Mavely was founded in early 2019 when both myself and Sean O’Brien, who previously started and exited two companies together, teamed up with Peggy O’Flaherty, who had previously exited a startup of her own, to launch their “communal commerce” model to millions of people. We collectively had a vision that people are naturally sharing their favorite products with friends and family, and thousands of brands are eager to get authentic product recommendations. After running several small tests, the team settled on our “communal commerce” model, which allows users to earn income each time a friend, family member, or social following purchases from their unique links. While driving an income for the Mavely users was key, this was just one of the reasons Mavely was founded. The second was that the team wanted to make an impact on the lives of thousands of business owners and millions of families by connecting them through technology.
Joseph DeAcetis: How did you manage to raise $1M in funding in this day and age?
Evan Wray: The first financing round came from Tim Connors at Pivot North Capital. This is the same firm that is behind success stories such as Looker, Sun Basket, and Chime. Tim has been a coach and mentor to me, Peggy and Sean for several years in our previous companies, and recognized the same problem that the we did…brands need a new way to acquire customers authentically and cost effectively, and people are excited to recommend products/brands that they love to their friends and family.
Joseph DeAcetis: What’s the unique solution Mavely solves within the fashion and e-commerce space?
Evan Wray: At Mavely, we are pioneering a model that we call “communal commerce.” This is where users are able to discover hundreds of D2C brands, and then earn income by recommending their favorites to their friends, family, and social networks. Our technology allows our brand partners to integrate their entire product catalog, which then becomes available to our users across the world. The App serves as a toolset for these users to then share or buy their favorite products and earn income for each sale. Mavely users discover amazing products and earn a commission, while the brand partners drive loyal customers at a lower acquisition cost. It’s a win-win.
Joseph DeAcetis: Why did you choose to support women-only brands? Are there limitations women face in the eCommerce space?
Evan Wray: Evan Wray: As a founding team at Mavely, we decided that if we were going to build a massive company with the goal of reaching millions of users, we wanted that to have a positive impact on the world in the process. For these reasons, we have a strong focus on female-founded, sustainable, and good for the world brands. Our goal is to ultimately have millions of users across the globe earning a little extra income by recommending their favorite products to friends, family, and social networks. We want these products to be a net positive to the world and we think that female-founded, sustainable, and good for the world brands do this. This has been a founding principle for Mavely from day one and something that consumers are really resonating with.
Joseph DeAcetis: How can users earn income from Mavely?
Evan Wray: Users can earn in 3 different ways through our “communal commerce” model:
- They share a product that results in a sale. That sale is credited to the Mavely user who shared that product and they can earn up to 25% cash commission on the retail price. Users can share to friends, family or across their social networks with our unique links.
- If a Mavely user buys a product for themselves (we all need to splurge once in a while!) then they will earn cashback on that purchase.
- Periodically we have contests and bonuses for Mavely users that allow them to earn additional cash and prizes, along with behind the scenes access to top brand founders and the Mavely team.
Mavely users are earning up to $5,000+ extra per year just by sharing and shopping their favorite products with their friends.
Joseph DeAcetis: How has the innovation helped improve product sales for the brands on Mavely in the fashion marketplace?
Evan Wray: At Mavely, we are helping e-commerce brands drive new customer acquisition at 50% or less of what they are currently paying on traditional digital channels like Facebook, Google, and Instagram. Our communal commerce model captures the power of word of mouth recommendations at scale. The Mavely App provides an easy to use the toolbox for our users to discover hundreds of top brands as well as up and coming startups, share them with friends, and also buy for themselves. Every sale a user drives results in the user earning some additional cash. Brands end up with an army of loyal brand advocates, all driving new customers through product recommendations at better economics than they get by spending ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Joseph DeAcetis: What’s the future of D2C brands in terms of customer acquisition?
Evan Wray: We think that the e-commerce landscape is in the middle of two major shifts:
First, more and more brands are going direct to consumers through digital channels. Everyone from startup brands to major retailers such as Unilever and P&G. This is driving the cost to acquire customers on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms up significantly. Given this, brands will need to find alternative customer acquisition channels if they want to stay competitive and grow at a high rate. We think Mavely can be one of those alternative channels.
Secondly, we believe that we are in the beginning stages of a major shift in how consumers discover and purchase products. Historically, e-commerce has been searching based, individual shopping (i.e. you go on Amazon, search TV, and buy a TV). In the future, this will be discovery, communal based shopping. Customers will be getting real-time recommendations from friends, family, and their social networks about products, actively discovering and buying them together. This fundamental shift is something that all D2C brands need to be paying attention to and something that we are helping accelerate through the Mavely platform.