In today’s retail landscape, finding talent is harder than ever, forcing brands and retailers to spend higher volumes of resources and several weeks of time. That’s where Poured comes in.
Founded by Jonny Tucker and Joe Roberts in 2016, Poured, the app that connects retailers and brands with freelance professionals, was created to attract fresh talent into retail, understanding the autonomy that the new generation values. According to data from Poured, companies have saved 197,000 hours by efficiently connecting them to vetted talent for temporary, seasonal or even permanent positions.
Today, Poured is a go-to for luxury brands working with several brands from both the LVMH and Kering Group portfolios, including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Celine, among others. Contemporary brand partners also include Golden Goose, Zadig et Voltaire and Rag & Bone.
“They are hungry for innovation and labor is quickly becoming the most difficult aspect of businesses across the retail/service industry,” said Tucker and Roberts. “We feel honored they trust us and want to take part in solving the industry’s biggest problem.”
Here, Tucker and Roberts share updates from the last few years as they worked with brands facing challenges brought on by the pandemic and what’s next for the company.
WWD: What’s new at Poured? How did you fare during the pandemic?
Jonny Tucker and Joe Roberts: A lot has changed at Poured. At first, the pandemic completely cut off all our business and the momentum that we had been building. We literally went to zero hours being worked per day due to lockdowns. At first, it was shocking and discouraging but we quickly shifted our mind-sets to look at the positive side of things.
We took the time to rebuild the technology without the compression of users working on it. We started a podcast to encourage people in our industry during a time when there was a lot of uncertainty. Ultimately, we knew stores would come back and things would look different so we also had to prepare for those new protocols and positions that would be needed.
WWD: How have workforce issues evolved since the pandemic?
J.T. and J.R.: The issue is unfortunately more difficult than ever. A lot of people took the experience to reflect and decide what they really want to do and many people left retail at all levels. People are not applying in stores, staff is leaving for a dollar or two more per hour at the brand across the street, and then deciding to leave that brand for another month later.
Managers can’t get out and recruit like they used to because of the lack of coverage and responsibilities in-store so the issue perpetuates. The challenge remains and, in large, gets worse because talent wants the pay they feel they should make and [flexibility] they can’t live without.
Traditionally brands are unwilling to see that as a viable model for their payroll but at Poured we manage all of that inbound and outbound, no friction and we hold the accountability so the talent performs at the level that warrants the pay and flexibility.
WWD: What are the trends you are seeing, and how does your app help luxury brands manage these changes?
J.T. and J.R.: The main trends are talent want to be paid what they feel they’re worth and the flexibility they desire. Stores are struggling with fulfilling coverage on the sales floor and in the stockroom, some businesses are even left not opening stores due to staffing shortages and being fined by the property managers.
We source, vet and train a population of talent that is eager to prove their worth and get valuable new experiences when they’re available. Our ambassador program ensures all stores and talent are onboarded for the best results while on our platform and our ratings are an extra gatekeeper for our brand partners to help us sustain top-level standards we currently see about 99 percent four- or five-star ratings from managers on our platform. That is a North Star for us at Poured.
WWD: And where does the company stand in terms of funding?
J.T. and J.R.: We have only currently raised a small friends and family round that included Christophe DePous [of Gucci and Clarins], who has also been an incredible mentor.
WWD: What’s next for Poured?
J.T. and J.R.: We are seeking investment for a series A round of [$10 million to $15 million] funding that will help us tackle a new strategic partnership with the goal of having a physical presence in top markets across the U.S. and beyond.
We can’t share too much about the strategy…we don’t want to tip our hand, but I promise you it is brilliant.