You know New Yorkers. Everyone wants to be a trendsetter. Or at least, have the latest and greatest before anyone else. And why not accommodate them? Your die-hard customers are your best marketers, after all.
Great idea, and that’s exactly what PreeLine does. PreeLine is a digital platform where users see, share and socialize future merchandise with friends and experts. Through this engagement with forward products, brands and retailers gain tremendous insight to help them more effectively manage the placement of goods, how to best allocate inventory, and, of course, how to best market to their customers.
Cofounder and COO Julia Macalaster tells us about how they’re changing the dialog between brands and customers.
Tell us about the service.
PreeLine is an exciting new digital platform where members have the exclusive opportunityto see, share and socialize future merchandise with friends and experts – merchandise that has yet to arrive in stores. Through this engagement with forward products, brands and retailers gain tremendous foresight to help more effectively manage the placement of goods, the allocation of inventory, and the focus of in-season marketing campaigns.
How is it different?
PreeLine is changing the dialog between brands and their consumers. We have observed that many brands determine behind closed doors what consumers will want.. We want to re-imagine this business-to-consumer process and invite our members into the product creation discussion. By encouraging the interaction of friends, peers and experts people find their own voices and gain insights from people who matter most to them. This allows us to see what our members think, rather than just what they buy.We think this is a game-changing platform.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We’re harnessing the potential of getting people engaged in the product creation process earlier on, which can have an effect on any industry that has a lead time between sample creation and in-store placement. Our team comes from the fashion industry, which gives us tremendous insight intohow to kickstart this effort. Our platform launched featuring women’s and men’s apparel and accessories focused on the mass premium market, which is roughly a $100 billion market in the U.S.
What inspired the business?
PreeLine was inspired by our frustration with how brands and retailers engage with consumers. Our team has been inside the fashion industry for many years and has worked to build some very successful companies, including Kate Spade, Coach, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, and Cole Haan. What we see is an industry that has not kept pace with its consumer, and certainly not with technology. While many discuss whether brick-and-mortar stores will survive or how to create an omni-channel experience, we see that the consumer has moved to a completely new shopping dynamic. So while the industry talks about how to move the bus forward, we think the consumer has turned to a different mode of transportation.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our milestones are always centered on creating a place that excites and enables our users. That includes people coming to PreeLine to see future merchandise, as well as brands using our platform to learn from those early adopters. Thus, milestones we plan to achieve are increased user and brand adoption.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you got?
Ed Zschau, a brilliant entrepreneur and advisor told us, “don’t call them a cowboy until you’ve seen them ride.” That’s truly priceless advice.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We think there are a lot of super sharp investors in NYC and we’ve been fortunate to meet many of them as we build bridges with the people who see the potentialfor this platform. We pay a lot of attention to people like Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s passionate about technology, has a keen eye for entrepreneurs that know how to make things happen, and definitely goes to bat for the startups he works with. Those are ambitions that align with ours.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is our home turf. It’s where we live. It’s where we play. It’s where the energy is.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
Ugh, there are so many great places in the city, but we’ll certainly go with GallowGreen. It’s an awesome place. Anyone who knows us knows we are definitely a breakfast team, though, and we’re quite proud of being pancake connoisseurs. We haven’t found a place better than Bubby’s. You’ll find us there every Friday morning where we indulge in the best pancakes in NY.