Luxury wholesale marketplace The Main Tab is redesigning its platform following a $1 million pre-seed raise earlier this year from serial entrepreneur Jason Bright, who is now the company’s CTO.
The New York-based company is poised to launch the new website and app this fall with about 200 retailers, but has a waiting list of approximately 1,000 retailers, Liseda Shelegu, The Main Tab’s founder, told TechCrunch.
“We have deployed a significant amount of the funding to the technology side to completely replatform our website from scratch,” she said. “We are the only marketplace that is sales rep-friendly. Sales reps write all of the orders and were initially one of our biggest roadblocks because of contracts, so we brought them on board and made them part of the company.”
Additional funding will go toward adding to its team of three, and sales and marketing, something Shelegu, who has a background in sales, was cautious about — not wanting to throw a bunch of money into advertising, so she connected with retailers, brands and sales reps the “old-school way” by reaching out directly.
One of the challenges the company is anticipating is inventory, she added. Inventory shortages and supply chain slowdowns that are plaguing e-commerce right now are affecting her retailers. For example, one owner said inventory of candles would be about 20% of the normal units due to not being able to source glass.
“When you are running a business, this will hugely impact us if we normally do $20,000 a month in October, but may do $5,000 because they don’t have the stock,” Shelegu said.
Shelegu jokes that much of The Main Tab’s product sourcing comes from her being a “shopaholic” and her background in brands. She also gets many targeted ads on social media and will connect with the owners, but she looks for retail price point, packaging and owner story.
Though there are 1,000 retailers vying to get on The Main Tab, the company approves about 30% of them, saving retail buyers time from sifting through thousands of SKUs. Brands are charged a commission when they receive orders from retailers and pay zero commission on any retailers they refer and currently work with. Retailers can also buy now and pay later and take advantage of other rewards based on their business status, Shelegu said.
The website features curated luxury brands, like Agraria and Bodewell Living, and enables them, independent sales reps and retailers to connect and conduct business from one website, Bright said via email.
“The way retail stores discover their products has changed in response to the global health crisis,” he added. “I am always looking to invest in companies that solve issues and was thrilled to invest and join the team as CTO.”
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