Inclusivity is everything in 2021 — so it’s no wonder why Italic, an online marketplace that connects consumers with products directly from carefully vetted manufacturers, is following suit.
Italic said today that its former members-only site is now open to the public, and consumers can freely shop from its newly appointed “Italic Marketplace” to browse through its fastidiously sourced, hand-picked portfolio of high-quality essentials at prices up to 80 percent lower than comparable fashion brands the likes of Prada, Miu Miu, Sandro or Burberry.
Its direct-from-manufacturer model involves Italic’s in-house team of category experts partnering with the same manufacturers of said brands to produce countless essentials from premium materials. Each product is designed and tested to meet or exceed the quality of like-minded luxury companies, but can be priced dramatically lower than competitors by removing the brand name — and retailer markups — from the equation. The end result is a lineup of covetable, luxury items at more affordable price points.
Jeremy Cai, founder and chief executive officer of Italic, said, “At Italic, we believe people are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled when they can afford to live well. And we’re committed to our mission of creating the highest quality products that everyone can afford.
“With the continued growth of our product assortment and customer base, we believe this is the right time to finally open our marketplace to everyone. This enables us to launch even more products, for even lower prices, for even more customers.”
Here, Cai talks to WWD about opening Italic to all shoppers, its highly unique direct-from-manufacturer model, and the new perks of perusing its platform.
WWD: Tell us a bit about Italic’s business model. How is it differentiated in the market and why does it work?
Jeremy Cai: Italic is a marketplace that offers high-quality products made by the same manufacturers behind top brands for 50 percent to 80 percent less. Our purpose is to fulfill the original mission of online commerce: higher-quality products, lower prices and fewer middlemen for everyone.
Unlike brands and retailers, we don’t buy our inventory: instead, we chose to build the technology and infrastructure to empower our manufacturers to produce and sell high-quality products directly to consumers. Because we bypass brands and retailers, we’re able to deliver the same level of quality and experience while offering unparalleled prices.
It’s a winning combination: Due to our unique model, we’ve been able to launch 600 products at speed, price and quality that’s unmatched in on our industry. As a result, the average customer orders five to six times a year and saves hundreds compared to the brands they used to shop from.
We believe we are on the cusp of a new era in retail and that Italic is perfectly positioned to become the predominant direct-from-manufacturer marketplace that millions of customers rely on to purchase their lifestyle essentials.
WWD: What led to Italic’s decision to open its formerly exclusive marketplace?
J.C.: Why open Italic for everyone? Two reasons: prices and access.
We price our products to be the most competitive in every category. Early on, that meant that taking a loss on nearly every product we sold, so we needed to charge a membership fee to make money. Now, our order volumes have grown to a scale where our unit costs can support our pricing and quality standards without the need to charge a membership fee.
From the start, our purpose is to enable everyone to live well. That means we need to deliver the highest quality of product, at the lowest price, to as many people as we can — a membership requirement prevents this. However, by changing the membership from a paywall to an upgrade, we can now offer a stellar experience to everyone while still rewarding our most loyal customers.
Ultimately, an open Italic benefits everyone. Customers can shop the same high-quality products at the same great prices, without a membership fee. Members who choose to upgrade to Italic Bold will earn more, save more and get more out of their Italic experience. Manufacturers receive higher order volumes and, thus, revenues from selling on Italic. And, with more customers and manufacturers, we’re able to offer more products at lower prices.
WWD: How does a Bold Membership surprise and delight consumers?
J.C.: Along with opening the marketplace, we wanted to upgrade our membership so that our most loyal customers could have a way to earn more, save more and get more out of their Italic experience. We wanted it to be so good that it almost felt like you were stealing from us. And, most importantly, we wanted it to be so obvious that it would be a no-brainer for anyone to join.
Put simply, the new Italic Bold membership will literally double your money, and then some. For $60 per year, the new Italic Bold Membership includes but is not limited to the following:
- $120 credit
- Double referral bonuses
- Earn credit for product reviews
- Exclusive sales and events
- Early access to new products
- On-demand shopping concierge
While shopping without a membership will also be a great experience, Italic Bold improves upon every single component of your shopping experience. We hope that our new membership demonstrates our commitment and appreciation to our most committed customers.
WWD: What’s next for Italic?
J.C.: The new financing and open marketplace will allow us to accelerate the expansion of our fast-growing product assortment while also improving the technology, fulfillment network and analytics we provide our manufacturers. The better infrastructure enables us to expand into product lines we previously couldn’t, including beauty, food and beverage, fitness and more.
Our goal is simple: We want our customers to be able to shop for everything they need — and plenty that they want — on Italic. We need our customers to love what we offer, and we need more customers to choose Italic for us to support more manufacturers on our marketplace.
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