NuOrder, the online and mobile marketplace linking retailers and fashion wholesalers, has four new investors bringing money and expertise to the enterprise.
This story first appeared in the January 28, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The investor group now includes Adam Bernhard, chief executive officer of HauteLook; Sam Ben-Avraham, founder and former president of the Project trade show, and owner of the Atrium specialty stores; Betsee Isenberg, owner of the 10eleven Showroom, and Khajak Keledjian, co-founder of Intermix. According to NuOrder, the investments are all from the individuals, not from the companies they are associated with.
“We will have a weekly dialogue with these new investors. They will be proactively involved,” said Heath Wells who, along with his wife Olivia Skuza, launched NuOrder in August 2011. The two previously ran a digital advertising agency.
NuOrder officials said the equity infusion will enable them to staff up for growth, improve customer service, increase marketing, advertising and sponsorships of trade shows, and expand its marketplace of products. Currently, the company has 32 employees in its Los Angeles and New York offices.
“Women’s fashion has obviously been a very strong area for us and a key focus especially after opening our New York City office,” Wells said. “People like Betsee, Adam and Khajak understand this segment better than anyone. This support ensures we don’t just deliver the best solution but continue to drive way beyond the competition.”
It’s not the only digital marketplace out there, but NuOrder seems to be gaining momentum. Last fall, NuOrder secured over $3 million in growth capital from GRP Partners, Creative Artists Agency and Rachel Zoe Inc. The investor list also includes Greycroft, Aileen Lee, David Tisch, Bonobus’ Brian Spaly and Marvin Traub Associates chief executive officer Mortimer Singer.
Since the launch, the system has handled about 50,000 orders from many retailers, representing 1.35 million items, according to Wells and Skuza. Retailers are not charged for utilizing NuOrder, while brands are charged fees based on how many people use the system.
Listed on the Web site are about 200 labels, including Levi Strauss, Adidas, Helmut Lang, Elizabeth & James, Milly, Parker, Ted Baker, Citizens of Humanity, Hurley and Supra, representing a range of fashion from basic denim to cutting edge contemporary styles to surf wear.
The system is geared to save retailers paperwork, trips to showrooms and trade shows, and to speed the ordering and reordering process. Retailers can see products online and learn what sizes and styles are available immediately and when they would be available. Buyers typically take their own photos of products when they visit showrooms, but NuOrder provides professional shots. It helps buyers organize their buys and store information. “This is a two-way exchange,” Wells said. “It allows sales reps to sell more effectively and retailers to buy more effectively. The number-one goal is to eliminate pen and paper. If you look at how much e-commerce has changed the way consumers spend, we are going through the same revolution in wholesale.”
“NuOrder is the only way brands and retailers should conduct wholesale. Anyone stuck using paper is living in the dark ages,” said Sam Ben- Avraham. According to Adam Bernhard, “NuOrder is a smart technology that is going to streamline the wholesale marketplace of the fashion industry.” Retailers that are using or have used NuOrder include Bloomingdale’s, Fred Segal, Opening Ceremony, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters.