Re:Store concept mixes co-work and co-retail
Describing itself as “retail meets WeWork,” Re:Store is an early startup seeking to help online-only brands secure both co-working space and their first physical storefront.
Re:Store’s first location, expected to open in spring 2019 near Union Square in San Francisco, will house 60 brands.
Under the monthly pay structure:
- $350 plus a commission of 20 percent earns brands a storefront.
- $550 adds co-working space.
- $850 further secures inventory services, including stock management and fulfillment.
The company just received $1.7 million in pre-seed funding co-led by Sequoia and South Park Commons. The startup is one of the first to secure funding through Female Founder Office Hours, a mentorship program led by women venture capitalists.
Selene Cruz founded Re:Store after successfully launching a leather bags company online. In that D2C brand venture, she faced numerous challenges including having to store inventory in her home, regularly heading to the post office to mail shipments and being “extremely lonely” as a sole founder, according to a post on medium.com.
Customers would e-mail her with requests to touch and feel her bags, but finding physical space was a “grueling, expensive search.” The hurdles included demands for three- to five-year leases, large upfront cash commitments and six to eight months for scouting, build-out and staffing. The vision for Re:store came after Ms. Cruz turned her ground floor apartment into a showroom.
“You go on Shopify, you’re in business in one day,” Ms. Cruz told Fortune. “We wanted to replicate the ease of online to offline experiences.”
The concept appears similar to Public.Factory, which earned some attention when it launched in 2015 with a promise of providing furnishings, staffing services and flexible terms to start-ups to sell in shared spaces. Public.Factory’s first two locations in Manhattan have closed.
Re:store differs with the commission structure, inventory services and particularly the co-working structure that enables entrepreneurs to engage with shoppers. Wrote the company on its website, “We believe the future of retail is more than just a storefront but a sharable experience between makers and customers.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the expansion potential for the Re:Store concept? Does the co-working element boost the appeal of the arrangement for sellers and customers?