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FAIRE - an Angel to small businesses?

  • Faire, founded in 2017, is an online marketplace aimed at empowering independent retailers, artisans, and small-scale businesses in the handicrafts and e-commerce industry.
  • The platform connects retailers with brands from around the world, offering a credit-based inventory system with zero-interest loans and flexible payment terms to help retailers acquire and manage their inventory efficiently.
  • Faire has gained significant traction, reaching over $1 billion in transactions in 2021 and attracting funding from top investors. It focuses on fostering a sense of community by hosting virtual Faire Markets and promoting the "Future is Local" vision, providing retailers with a diverse range of products and the opportunity to grow their businesses on a fair and equitable platform.

In this growing e-commerce industry, the value of handicrafts and artisans is deteriorating due to the lack of representation. My mom is into this field of making handmade products and selling them door to door - although she isn't comfortable with the sale methodology, she isn't left with much of a choice.

I mean what more she could do other than to put WhatsApp status, promote on Instagram, and be a part of a few neighborhood-level exhibitions? Websites like Amazon, and Flipkart ask for a lot on an entry-level itself just for the products to be seen on the page; which is financially depressing for small-scale retailers. We all know that retailers avoid going to wholesalers because of the huge commission intake by the other party and honestly, that is not much less than a loss.  

This is just one story that I could connect but there are millions of more entrepreneurs, small-scale retailers, artisans, and artists who are unable to grow in their respective fields due to reasons of representations, finance, and many more. Now, what if I say that there is an angel in this business industry world who is willing to take care of the community? Luckily it’s called Faire. 

What is Faire?

Faire was founded in 2017 by Max Rhodes, Marcelo Cortes, and Jeff Kolvoson, but before Faire, these three musketeers worked together at Square as well. This also means that the bond between the foundational members of this company goes a long way back ensuring trust and faith in each other.

It's no secret that the global handicrafts market size reached US$ 752.2 Billion in 2022. (Source: Imarc) This growing number in the industry was anticipated by the trio who decided to make a change such that it transforms wholesale through an online marketplace along with the notion of providing relief to the retailers. 

Faire’s mission is quite simple - to empower independent retailers. Well, at one point this does look like a community project, right? But what is the process of being a part of the community project? (Source: Forbes)

Faire - the angel, has given $20,000 as inventory credit for qualified applicants which majorly included North American firms under the program ‘Open with Faire’ in May 2021. In accordance with the program, Faire pays the wholesaler immediately, but the retail start-up receives what amounts to a zero-interest loan for the acquisition of inventory and 60 days to pay for the merchandise. (Source: Forbes)

Personally, it’s a fair and square game for both ends! Isn’t it? But we all know, in this ‘Kalyug’ / world, fairy tales are too hypothetical to be true, so here’s the catch - Brands pay a commission of 25% to Faire on new account orders and 15% on reorders.  (Source: Faire

Do you all remember the pandemic days? The ones where we actually got dwelled into online shopping and can't resist it anymore? Yes, that's exactly the time when platforms like Faire, Etsy, etc. gained huge profits and made a name for themselves in this industry.

Statistics

The company currently has topped the $1 billion mark in transactions in 2021. The company also says more than 500,000 individual international retailers are now using its service to connect with some 70,000 brands from 150 countries.

According to Crunchbase - Faire has raised a total of $1.7B in funding over 12 rounds in its Series G round. It is funded by 19 investors. Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator are the most recent investors. It has a post-money valuation in the range of $10B+ as of May 10, 2022, according to PrivCo. 

The team of Faire has been following and spreading their vision of “Future is Local” through Virtual Faire Markets since 2017. This year, they have it from July 18 to 20, where one can shop from the largest wholesale trade show just by sitting and chilling at their home.

Their previous market events have saved retailers over $12 million and built new relationships between brands and retailers. It's like Faire’s Fair but VIRTUALLY. Yes, before you ask, I have registered for it because who doesn't like to visit a fashion and lifestyle fair which is completely free? No doubt, such initiatives of expansion for their business are totally working out as a community project by giving more customers and approaches. 

This also brings me to another point of Faire and its expansion which is its diversity in products. Let’s have a look at their product page which makes me believe that I am on an Amazon platform but specifically in terms of fashion, home decor, and lifestyle. The irony is, that the website has a special section called “Brands not sold on Amazon.” Funny!

Source: Faire

Faire is a great platform to elevate the home business to a brand, as the customers of Faire are quite happy with the qualitative approach done by the company. But, I do believe that there is a scope for IPO (Initial Public Offering) although Jennifer Burke, head of sales for Faire, tells Business of Home. (Source: BusinessofHome

 “We are focused on building a stand-alone business. We’ve been fortunate to partner with world-class investors that believe in Faire’s mission and allow us to fund our own growth." 

This indeed is a great way of giving my mom confidence in herself and her art which she seems to be missing lately. Faire might not be an angel to me but can definitely be a good platform for small retail businesses. 


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Edited by Shruti Thapa

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