Sramana Mitra: At what point did you introduce alternate channels like eBay and Amazon?
Katie Echeverry: I brought eBay into the mix in 2003. We were doing so well in 2006 to 2007 that I stopped, because I couldn’t manage two platforms. This was before there were a lot of connector tools that can keep track of your inventory. Since then, we’ve been able to get on to a web platform that is able to feed through eBay with a connector tool.
Sramana Mitra: Is that Channel Advisor?
Katie Echeverry: Yes, we use them. We’re doing that for Amazon and eBay.
Sramana Mitra: How does the business split now? How much of it is direct? How much of it is in the retail store? How does the business distribute?
Katie Echeverry: I also sell the Unique Vintage brand wholesale as well. 80% of the business is e-commerce or direct to consumers. 10% is in the store and 10% is wholesale.
Sramana Mitra: Direct to consumers includes eBay and Amazon channels?
Katie Echeverry: Yes, eBay has not done that well for us. Amazon has done better.
Sramana Mitra: Is that a big chunk, or is most of your business on your own website?
Katie Echeverry: On our own website. Amazon is very small now.
Sramana Mitra: That’s good actually. You don’t have all those dependencies.
Katie Echeverry: Yes, that’s right.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of scaling the operation, you said you have 35 people working for you now?
Katie Echeverry: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of functional areas, how does that distribute?
Katie Echeverry: We have about five people in the retail store, two people in wholesale. Then, we have about five people in the marketing department, two merchandisers, two buyers, two developers, and then warehouse. We also have three people in our design department as well.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of the wholesale business, what kind of retailers do you sell through?
Katie Echeverry: Our biggest account right now is Zappos. First of all, I love Zappos. I’ve been ordering from them myself since before I started my own business. I saw online that they were holding an emerging designer contest. I had my 18-month-old daughter sitting next to me on the couch on a Saturday morning. She was watching Dora the Explorer. I said, “I have 15 minutes to knock this application out.” I applied. I didn’t even edit or spell check.
Long story short, I won. They picked up my line for a very small part of their website, which was the emerging vendor. I did so well that they re-ordered. I said, “Maybe, we’re a good fit for you guys. Why don’t you pick me up to be on your regular Zappos site?” Lo and behold, they did. I flew out to Las Vegas and was greeted by the warmest people I’ve ever met in this industry. They picked up my line. We do quite a bit of business with them now.