AT THE HELM: Launched last year as a venture fund that focuses on female-founded businesses, the Helm has introduced an e-commerce component today.
For the past nine months, founder Lindsey Taylor Wood has been bolstering her team and the site. “This was always on the roadmap,” she said. “Basically, we’re trying to build the largest economic engine for women, which will include a constellation of different products that meet women where they are. If you can write a five, six, seven, eight-figure check, you can put money into the fund and make direct investments into women-led companies through the fund. But for most people, that is non-accessible for an entry point. Given that we’re all consumers, we feel that every dollar invested is a dollar invested in something.”
The Helm’s aim is to attract people to one platform where they can invest or spend their money on companies built and led by women. The Helm is raising $2 million on a $7 million cap with $500,000 left in the round, she said. More than 80 women-led brands will be featured on the e-commerce site. Rosetta Getty, Mansur Gavriel, Chloe Gosselin, Araks, Nili Lotan, Joanna Vargas and Anna Karlin are among the brands that are being sold.
Wood declined to comment on the projected average purchase or the first-year projected volume. As for what Helm will glean from individual sales, she said, “We are tracking against a 35 percent margin on average. That is across four categories — fashion, wellness, home and beauty.”
The trickiest part of adding e-commerce was the technological part. “We are using a drop-ship model to achieve our goals, so not an affiliate or a wholesale model. The majority of the companies that we have identified that are using a drop-ship model had to build that technology from the ground up,” said Wood, declining to identify the company that helped Helm build its drop-ship model.
Additional companies that use other e-commerce solutions like Magento were unable to work with Helm, due to their systems being incompatible. The Helm is working on that and aims to roll out those brands in the upcoming quarters, Wood said.