Tech startup Pietra’s new platform is ready to help influencers become product brands.
Now out of beta and flush with funding by Andreessen Horowitz, the startup aims to help online creators spin their social media profiles into legit retail offerings, hooking them up with product designers, suppliers, warehouses and fulfillment companies.
“Pietra is a step-by-step platform that allows you to connect with some of the world’s best suppliers, set up warehouse and fulfillment, and even set up your own website for free, and start selling,” Pietra chief executive officer Ronak Trivedi explained to WWD. “What does this mean? It means we’re bringing the power back to the people.”
The technology and fashion crowds might already be familiar with the startup, as its founders came from places like Uber and Moda Operandi, and it’s backed by celebrities including Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr.. In 2019, the company also rolled out tools for the fine jewelry sector that enabled hyper-realistic digital renderings of premium stones.
Now Pietra is targeting the influencer set, offering to match creators with vendor-partners. It will even help with negotiations around issues like minimum order volume, deposits and cross-border logistics.
“You no longer have to fly around the world and beg factories to work with you at low minimums. You no longer have to navigate the complexities of warehousing, fulfillment, logistics,” he continued. “Pietra makes it so that any single person can create the next best-selling brand.”
Users can communicate with vendors through the platform, as well as design products alongside them through features like real-time chat.
While convenience may be key — Trivedi describes the offering as “intuitive” — ease of use is only one facet. The greater appeal lies in the platform’s roster of vendor contacts: Pietra promises to connect indie creators with the same high-value professionals who work with large, well-known companies.
Through Creator Hub, a budding brand can hire a photographer who worked with Theory, Opening Ceremony and Helmut Lang to shoot its own product line, or the package designer of another renowned label. One vendor even helped Kim Kardashian launch her Kris Jenner-inspired candle line, Trivedi continued, while another manufacturer in the platform produces clothing for Pangaia.
And when Pietra users have products that are ready to sell, they don’t have to fuss with building out a new e-commerce channel or website. They can sell their products through the company’s Creator Marketplace.
Altogether, the platform comes off like a one-stop shop for brand- and product-building. In that way, it sounds somewhat equivalent to star-making Old Hollywood studios that turned wide-eyed hopefuls into glamorous celebrities, only now built for e-commerce in the digital age.
So far, creators seem to be finding the concept irresistible. According to Pietra, as many as 15,000 signed up to launch a product line while the platform was still in the beta stage. Most of these users are women, at about 80 percent, and their followings range from the tens of thousands to millions. That’s a wide net encompassing both micro-influencers and major stars — which is notable, considering the product game tends to favor the latter.
“We’ve seen a 20 percent month-over-month growth since January, and we continue to accelerate and see tremendous demand for this product,” said Trivedi. “This, in turn, is attracting unique manufacturing partners from around the world who are lining up to be accepted to start powering the next generation of consumer brands.”