Online marketplace Tictail went from selling one merchant on its platform in May 2012, cofounder and chief executive officer Carl Waldekranz’s mother’s porcelain company By Mutti, to selling 100,000 — without spending a dollar in acquisition marketing.
“We grew completely organically. We went from one to 10,000 stores in 10 months,” Waldekranz said. “The way we grew is that people who use the product really love it and share it with their friends. It just spread through word of mouth.”
The marketplace, home to emerging brands spanning 140 countries and two million products, raised $22 million in July. Since 2012, the venture has raised almost $33 million from Acton Capital Partners, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Red Swan Ventures and Project A Ventures.
Tictail was founded in Stolkholm (an office there has 45 employees who work on engineering and data science) but the company counts its recently opened New York office as its headquarters, where finance, strategy and marketing is managed. The U.S. is the fastest-growing market, seeing 420 percent growth year over year, Waldekranz noted. It also commands about 20 percent of merchants and 26 percent of orders, and is where the company is focusing much of its energy going forward.
He declined to give projections of sales that would be made on Tictail for 2015, but said that millions of dollars go through the marketplace each month. Sales have tripled year over year and key markets have seen 200 percent year over year growth.
“On one side you have Etsy, which is so focused on crafty goods and the DIY community — something that is made by hand,” Waldekranz said. “On the other side you have marketplaces like eBay that are just so focused on selling commoditized goods and gadgets.”
This week, Amazon said it would introduce Handmade at Amazon as a competitor of sorts to Etsy, but the focus will be more on crafts and less on independent fashion. Fashion is the most popular category on Tictail.com, followed by home, jewelry and art.
Waldekranz further differentiated Tictail from Etsy. He said brands that Tictail is home have “graduated from the kitchen table,” with many having their own stores. His ambition is to become the online home to the “greatest independent brands in fashion and home interior design.” Romeo Hunte, Cornelia Webb and Deadwood Leather are three brands who have seen notable success on the platform. Sweden-based Deadwood Leather was one of the first brands to join Tictail, and now has a freestanding door in Stockholm.