DALLAS — Build.com cofounder David Boctor wants his next business act to have a positive impact.
That’s the genesis behind Monger.com, a disruptive shopping club that promises to dedicate all profit from each sale to pay off a loan of the shopper’s choice. Monger plans to make money by charging annual membership fees starting at $95.
Boctor and seven investors and techies have been developing the site for three years and are set to begin beta testing July 15, when about 500 friends and associates will start shopping Monger’s selection of 300,000 home furnishings items.
“It’s about buying the things you need in the most successful way possible,” he said last week at the Dallas Market Center. “We plan to carry everything – all of the major categories of food, home, clothing, entertainment.”
Boctor hopes Monger will be live a few months later.
“Our break-even point is 5,000 members,” he noted.
Between meetings with fashion vendors, Boctor and cofounder Erica Happy explained that Monger will forward orders to manufacturers for shipment. He estimated that the return to consumers on each purchase would be 15 to 50 percent. Some fashion vendors have expressed reluctance about their goods appearing discounted, he acknowledged.
The entrepreneurs aim to reach a broad demographic – anyone who has debt. Holders of student loans are a natural target and partly inspired Monger, Boctor said.
Still, Happy admitted Monger’s customer base is unknown as they are building a Web site with a polished look, editorial content and merchandise with prices and style akin to Nordstrom.
Ramey Faulkner, sales director at Finley Shirts, met with the duo and concluded the concept needs further development.
“I think it’s quite interesting that they’re doing it so you can pay back your loans,” Faulkner said. “But I asked a lot of questions that he didn’t know.”
For instance, Faulkner said Boctor wasn’t sure if a manufacturer would be responsible for keeping a specific number of units on hand for Monger.
“Absolutely I would participate,” Faulkner said, “but not quite yet because it’s really early stages for that thing.”