How 6 founders navigate which e-commerce sales channels to invest in & which to ignore.
Join panelists Jen Zeano: CEO & Founder of Jen Zeano Designs, Randi Seltzer Bonica: CEO & Founder of Rockaway Gypsea, Ashley Molesso & and Chess Needham: Founders of Ach+Chess, Valerie Wray: CEO & Founder of The 125 Collection, & Lea Ridenour: CEO & Founder of Made Au Gold for a candid conversation about navigating DTC channels & selling on third-party platforms.
We'll explore the following: Does it make sense for your brand to sell on Etsy? Or Amazon? What are the pros & cons of working with these different third-party marketplaces? How do you know when to switch from just a third-party marketplace, to your own fancy e-commerce site? And why have certain brands, like The 125 Collection, decided to avoid third party marketplaces & stay fully direct-to-consumer?
Ashley Molesso & Chess Needham make up the powerhouse queer & trans couple behind Ash+Chess, the beloved lifestyle & stationary brand that's taken the US - & the world, honestly - by storm! This worldwide brand sells direct-to-consumer & wholesale, & was launched after Ashley & Chess fell in love, & decided to turn their love story into a full-on business. Their company made its debut at the National Stationery Show in May 2017, & since then over 150 retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, & Asia sell their art & stationery. In the short time they've been in business, Ash + Chess have worked on many collaborations including artwork for Belletrist, a book club run by actress Emma Roberts & Karah Preiss; book illustrations for HarperCollins & Workman Publishing; t-shirt designs for The Style Club x Forever 21; exclusive designs & patterns for Plaza Style, a Japanese retail brand; & Nooworks, a clothing company based out of San Francisco, CA. They are the authors of their own illustrated book about LGBTQ+ history, published April 2020 by Morrow Gift/HarperCollins called The Gay Agenda: A Modern Queer History & Handbook, & are currently working on Queer Tarot: An Inclusive Deck & Guidebook to be published with Running Press/Hachette in Spring 2022.
Valerie Wray is the Founder & CEO of The 125 Collection, a candle company beloved by Oprah, Tiffany Haddish & customers all around the country. The 125 does not sell on third party marketplaces & is focused on building direct relationships with its customers. This luxury quote candle brand was born in Harlem, NY, & Valerie ia constantly inspired by New York City & pop culture. These candles are designed to empower, inspire & entertain, & Valerie pulls inspiration from life's tough & exciting moments to produce relatable candles you'll use & love every day. The 125 Collection name celebrates the legendary "125th Street" located in the heart of Harlem's amazing community. You can learn more about The 125 Collection in Apartment Therapy or Marie Claire!
Jen Zeano is the Founder & CEO of Jen Zeano Designs, a Latina empowerment lifestyle & apparel company with celebrity fans like Jessica Alba. Jen is on a mission to create products that make Latina women feel represented, & she believes in kindness, girl power, adventure, Latina magic, & celebrating every tiny victory. Jen started JZD after feeling unfilled in her full-time job, taking a spontaneous trip to Disneyland, & realizing she could build her own business & live life on her own terms. Jen Zeano sells on Etsy as well as DTC!
Lea Ridenour is the Founder & CEO of Made Au Gold, a colorful lifestyle brand based in Nashville. Lea emigrated to the United States & was limited in where she could work, so she started selling wedding invitation & menu designs on Etsy, & used profits from that early business to expand into new product categories & become the powerhouse lifestyle brand Made Au Gold is today. Inspired by everything 70's & the current social climate, Made Au Gold is seeking to show that an ironic sense of humor, as well as thoughtful design, can spread positivity. Their mission is to design & provide goods that can lead to meaningful conversations that will bring us closer together as a community, tackling social & political issues, as well as self love & mental health. Made Au Gold sells on Etsy as well as DTC.
Randi Seltzer Bonica is the Founder & CEO of Rockaway Gypsea, a jewelry & gift brand that donates sales proceeds to animal rescue. This mom & business owner started Rockaway Gypsea organically out of her love for personalized jewelry & the jewelry making process. Randi is constantly trying to make her business as cruelty free as possible & purchases the vast majority of her materials from other women-owned small businesses all over the country. Rockaway Gypsea sells DTC as well as on Etsy & Amazon Handmade.