They’re totally cool with you calling them that – and is there such thing as a triple entendre? Bezar is the latest from founder Bradford Shellhammer, cofounder and visionary creative genius behind Fab.com and dubbed the ‘King of Quirk’ by Forbes. Bezar is his launchpad for the world’s best designs, and he has already got quite a following, and $2.25 million in seed funding from LererHippeau Ventures.
Then again, it’s Bezar: it’s totally design-centric. Everything you see on the site is authentic and has a story. And – OK – everything is just a little bit bizarre. But special. And done with heart.
Every day, there are newonline Pop-Up Shops that typically last for three days, and cover four categories – Art, House, Jewelry, and Accessories – all curated by handpicked “globally in-house” Design Scouts.
Shellhammer tells us more about his vision, and stay tuned: there’s more to come.
Tell us about the service.
Bezar is The Design Marketplace where we connect people who design special things with people who desire special things. Bezar’s platform solves for the fragmented base of designers and creative entrepreneurs that lack an online destination with a large audience that they are proud to be associated with. Similarly, Bezar provides millennials, millennial-minded, and design enthusiasts a curated design marketplace that quenches their desire for products that are special and unique, allows them to connect directly with makers, and to shop with an element of fun, discovery, and whimsy.
How is it different?
Bezar is uniquely positioned to address the white space that exists for design online. Our Design Scouts search the globe for products thatare not available anywhere. We also have an instantly recognizableaesthetic and brand and an unapologetic optimism.
You recently raised a round of funding. Which round, who were your investors, and how much did you raise?
We raised a $2.25M seed round, lead by LererHippeauVentures. We have 20 investors, including some retail and design heavyweights like Mindy Grossman,
Chris Burch, Yves Behar, and Hiroshi Mikitani.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Bezar is attacking the design vertical that represents $60B+ incurrent annual ecommerce revenue. We have also found there is a $28B buying gap in the home market, because consumers cannot find the products they want. The consumer market is similarly large, with over130M potential consumers in the United States across millennials, the millennial-minded, and design enthusiasts.
What is the business model?
Bezar launched with curated pop-up shops. Each day, several new designers are showcased and their products celebrated. This model proves successful for working with a large number of sellers, keeping merchandise selection fresh daily, removing inventory risk, and creating significant demand generation. We have ambitious plans to grow Bezar through layering additional business models onto the platform. Stay tuned!
What were the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It was important for us us to work with investors that understood ourvision, brought valuable experience, and are members of the design community themselves. Fortunately, we found the perfect partners.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Bezar’s investors believe in the dream. They also understood there was a huge white space in design online that our experienced team is uniquely experienced to own.
Tell us about the pop-up shops.
Bezar’s pop-up shops launch every day and feature unique products from special designers, for a limited time. This model offers several strategic advantages:
(1) Bezar sells products that are not available elsewhere,
(2) we take no inventory risk,
(3) designers with limited inventory can reach a larger audience,
(4) consumers have access to unique and made-to-order items with comparably short lead times, and
(5) consumers must act fast to buy before it’s gone!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Bezar launched on an aggressive three-month timeline. Since launch,we’ve experienced tremendous positive momentum. We’re currently heads down, working on the next phases of the Bezar platform that will go live within the next six months.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is the ideal location for a technology-enabled lifestyle brand at the intersection of media and content. Plus it’s the best city in the world!
Which is your favorite NY area beach?
Funny. It used to be Fire Island, but I’ll be lucky if I have anytime this summer to see a beach