The average woman in the US is a size 14. Yet, there is a dearth of style-conscious choices for these women as the size 14+ segment has traditionally been underserved by brands and retailers, accounting for only 18% of clothing sold. CoEdition, launched by four former Gilt executives including Kevin Ryan, is a marketplace that offers a curated selection of sought after brands for women that are sizes 10-26. The startup recently launched with brands like Stuart Weitzman and Rachel Roy as initial partners with plans to offer 150+ brands on the site this year alone across various fashion categories including intimates, active, swimwear, accessories, and apparel as well as planned exclusive collaborations.
AlleyWatch sat down with cofounder and CEO Keith George to learn more about the company’s launch, its future plans, and its seed round of funding led by NEA.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
CoEdition raised a $4 million Seed round funding led by NEA, with participation from General Catalyst, Primary Venture Partners, and BBG Ventures.
CoEdition is a new site dedicated to savvy, style conscious women who have been under-served in the traditional retail landscape. The website aims to change the way women shop by curating the best in contemporary fashion in sizes 10 to 26, while also building an inclusive community for style and product discovery.
What inspired you to start the company?
The average woman in the U.S. is a size 14, and traditionally she has not had many fashion options available to her. CoEdition is putting this woman front and center by bringing together all the best brands for one incredible incredible shopping experience.
How is it different?
CoEdition is the first company to create a contemporary multi-brand site dedicated to women size 10 and above. We’re putting this woman front and center in everything we do – from our size and fit to our amazing editorials. We’re providing style inspiration and an inclusive community through an exciting group of influencers and like-minded shoppers. We’re also partnering with brands who have never been in this space before, such as Splendid, for exclusive collaborations
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
CoEdition is targeting the women’s plus-size market. Plus-size U.S. sales are growing twice as fast as the overall apparel industry, according to NPD Group, with sales up 6% to $21.4 billion in 2016.
Why do you think there has been a disconnect between brands ability to connect with consumers who are looking for size 10-26 when it such a large part of the market?
Women sizes 10-26 have been underserved in the retail market because brands were typically unsure about how to correctly reach them. However, CoEdition is here to break down the barriers and allow brands to connect directly with these women – all in one place.
What’s your business model?
The site focuses on a full-price offering and marketplace model, which is unified through CoEdition’s brand guidelines, packaging and service proposition. All orders will be shipped in branded CoEdition packaging in the US, and ultimately to international destinations around the globe.
What was the funding process like?
We were very fortunate. We began the raise two weeks before the December holidays and wrapped up most of the process within 6 weeks. All of our fundraising was done in New York. The venture teams here have a great deal of experience with consumer brands and were very responsive to the opportunity.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We wanted to make sure that it was the right long-term partnership for everyone involved. Different funds have different philosophies. It was just as important for us to understand how they operate as it was for them to understand our business model and team.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The venture community was very consistent. They look for two things: the right team and the right market opportunity. The market opportunity is significant because our customer has been ignored for far too long. Our team also brings a great deal of direct experience to the challenge.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In 2018, CoEdition plans to grow to more than 150 brands. We also have a handful of exclusive collaborations in the works, which we’ll reveal as they’re ready to launch. We’re also focused on expanding our team.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
My parents always say, “It isn’t how much money you make, it’s how much you keep.” Everyone loves to focus on revenue and engagement but tight product margins and high expenses can quickly sink a company. It’s critical to balance early stage revenues with a keen eye on your business model.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We think CoEdition will become the retail destination for women sizes 10-26, and we’re thrilled about this.
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Is Seamless After Hours a restaurant?