Jalem Getz’s Latest Retail Startup Wantable Targets Women, Fast Growth
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23 from just a handful of people a year ago. In a few weeks, the company will begin renting additional office space three floors above its current space, which will more than double its physical footprint to 7,800 square feet, Getz says.
Wantable raised $800,000 in seed funds last year, with Getz among the company’s investors. He declined to comment on the prospect of additional fundraising.
Getz recognizes that Wantable’s business concept isn’t unique and it wasn’t the first to try this model. But he pointed out that BuySeasons wasn’t the first costume company, yet it gained substantial market share through execution and focusing on the “details” and “nuances” of the business.
Unlike Birchbox, which launched in 2010 with a focus on women and has since expanded to include men’s products, Getz says Wantable is targeting one specific demographic: women aged 24 to 35.
“We compete on emotion,” Getz says. “If a customer knows what she wants [to buy], she can go to Amazon, or go somewhere else. If she wants value, she wants to discover new products that she didn’t know existed, she wants to develop a relationship, that’s where Wantable is.”
One tactic that has helped Wantable grow, Getz says, is its “one-roof model” in which it does everything in-house, from order fulfillment to customer service to technology development. The personalized cards that go in every box are printed and cut in Wantable’s office, most of which is currently taken up by several rows of cardboard bins, stacked six shelves high, that hold the clothing and accessories. On a recent morning, staff members busily picked items and packed them into boxes to be shipped to women around the world.
“Everything about this business is in our control” except the shipping, Getz says. “If you want to control the experience and create an incredible value proposition to your customer, you have to own every single nuance…Every employee here is committed to filling the needs of the customer and is accountable to it.”
So why start Wantable in Wisconsin, as opposed to a bigger startup community like northern California, where Getz was raised? For one thing, Getz knows the Milwaukee-area business community well.
And after BuySeasons, he spent some time living with a friend in San Francisco. Getz realized that he was “essentially a nobody in California,” where there’s a lot more entrepreneurs who have achieved successful exits.
“I was a little fish in a big pond,” Getz says. “Here they still talk about the company that I sold eight years ago. I’m a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Ego aside, the value of that is attracting talent, having your local network.”
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