The Verticale, an e-commerce site that connects digitally native brands with consumers who are searching for products that align with their values, has redesigned its website.
The multibrand marketplace, which launched last November, features brands that meet such core values as sustainability, ethical production, female-owned or Black-owned companies, among other criteria. The company launched with 50 brand partners, and will have 77 brands with the relaunch today, according to Michelle Silverstein, cofounder and chief operating officer of The Verticale, who created the site with Jaclyn Grauman, cofounder and chief executive officer.
“We’re on track to hit 150 brands by the end of this year,” said Silverstein.
TheVerticale.com has updated its navigation system, product display pages, icon integration and founder awareness. The product display pages will now include editorialized content and show value icons above each product so consumers can quickly see which value that item represents. In addition, the navigation will be updated to more easily allow customers to shop the brands that meet the values they stand for.
Grauman said they made an investment in the product pages and building out the storytelling.
The brands’ founders stories will be prominently featured on the product pages so when you click any product, the founder story, along with Verticale’s vetting criteria for that brand, will be featured at the bottom of the product page. The intention is to give customers easy access to the brand founders, and allow them to fully understand the story behind the brands they are purchasing from.
“We believe in the power of brand ethos and the story behind each founder. Their unique identity is what connects us with their products in a deeper and more impactful way. Before starting The Verticale, my background is in the fashion retail industry and I have seen that loss of brand equity and consumer understanding when brands are stripped of their stories. We set out to challenge what a multibrand retail environment looks like,” said Grauman, who previously worked at Lord + Taylor at Hudson’s Bay.
The Vetted By The Verticale stamp of approval certifies that the founders have worked closely with their brand partners to ensure the product meets at least one of the 10 core Verticale Values, all pertaining to the pillars of sustainability, ethics, equality and health.
“Something we enjoy most about working with our brand partners is bringing their story to our Verticale world. We strive for transparency with our shoppers, and we believe conscious consumerism starts with understanding what our brand founders stand for, what keeps them coming back to their work, and what is inspiring the products they are producing,” said Silverstein, who previously worked at several consumer start-ups such as Class Pass.
The Verticale features products in the women’s, men’s accessories, personal care, wellness and home categories. The lion’s share of the business in the first year was driven by women’s apparel, accessories and personal care, said Silverstein.
Among some of the best-selling women’s brands are Industry Standard, Knickey, Everybody & Everyone, Graceful District and Yes And, while top footwear brands include Oliver Cabell and Nisolo. In the personal care category, the site offers bath & body, hair care, makeup, skin care and sun care. Home includes linens, candles and diffusers, bins and baskets and tech accessories.
The average price point is $80, and there are some personal care items below $50 and other items over $200.
The partners noted that each brand has to go through a very specific vetting process in order to be able to come onto the site. The partners scout new brands through their community — customers’ recommending products — and products they themselves use. When they launched, there were 250 brands on the wait list. Today there are over 400 brands on the wait list.
The site works by drop ship, and The Verticale doesn’t hold any inventory. Most of the brands are digitally native and are built on Shopify platforms. The consumer places the order on The Verticale site and it’s shipped from the brand partners. The Verticale handles returns.
According to Grauman, “The reason that we exist and are evolving our site in this way is because there’s so much confusion in the market, there are so many new brands, there are brands that are launching every single day. We have seen an incredible amount of confusion and fog, and just as far as finding the right brands and whether you can trust them, from a values perspective. People want to shop consciously, but if they’re confused, they’re not able to do so.”
Since the launch, the business is performing well, said Silverstein. “We launched last holiday season and had just the two of us on the team, and we’ve been able to expand the team to six employees,” she said. “We’re very happy with sales across the board and are looking to grow aggressively for the holiday season.”
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