Modalyst Co-Founders Jill Sherman (l) and Alain Miguel (r)
Modalyst, set to launch on November 26, 2012, is an online business-to-business market place, bringing together emerging designers and independent boutiques.
According to Jill Sherman, co-founder of Modalyst, “The idea is to reach far and beyond LA and New York – the very epicenters of fashion, and reach boutique owners throughout the country and give them more access to designers and vise versa because it’s very hard for these two markets to find each other,” said Sherman in a recent interview with Detroit Style Review.
With Modalyst, participating boutiques have the opportunity to join together in “buying circles” to collectively increase their buying power. “We’re grouping together the boutiques that collectively have purchasing power and by collaborating, they’re either able to reach minimum order requirements or receive wholesale discounts together. If a boutique in Detroit, San Francisco, Boston and San Antonio are servicing a similar demographic and have a similar customer base and selling similar brands, they’re pretty much like minded boutiques and they can not only help reach wholesale discounts together, but pretty much streamline the discovery process together. We create these buying circles on the site – and it’s a reciprocal relationship – you can agree to be in a buying circle with other boutiques and once you’re in a circle, if one of the boutiques should find something that [it] thinks is interesting, [it] can share it with the rest of the circle and if they think it’s interesting, the others can agree to participate in a collective buy,” said Sherman.
Sherman predicts that the Modalyst platform will essentially do away with the traditional selling seasons and create a more continuous selling season. “It also allows for buyers to buy after they’ve already seen the trends for the season. Right now, they buy in advance – they go to a trade show, they buy six months worth of inventory and hope they’ve guessed the trends for the season correctly. This way, [they] can buy closer to the seasonal trend; this way [they] can buy three weeks in advance as opposed to three to four months.”
“Modalyst,” said Sherman, “is a much more targeted way of shopping from the comfort of your home. Buyers can buy less – if it goes well, they can buy more later. This means less stock and less inventory to sell at a discount later.”
Modalyst will launch with accessories, then incorporate shoes and apparel down the line.
Modalyst seems to be a clear win-win for emerging designers and independent boutiques, but how does the consumer benefit in all of this? Here are two ways:
More Access: The Modalyst platform exposes participating independent boutiques to a broader range of emerging designers, without the limitations and expense of trade shows. A broader range of designers to choose from means a wider range of options boutiques can offer their customers.
More Exclusivity: Part of the charm of shopping at a boutique is the sense of exclusivity it lends by carrying only a few pieces of any one item. The Modalyst platform allows independent boutiques to participate in buying circles and collectively reach order minimums. With fewer pieces to buy, boutiques can offer an even more exclusive experience to their customers.
~Jessica R. Simmons