JOOR is using software to make the journey from runway to retail stores as smooth as walking down a catwalk.
JOOR is an online marketplace for wholesale fashion buying. The company is on track to do more than $350 million in transactions in 2013, which is more than three times the amount from 2012. More than 580 brands and designers and 30,000 buyers use the platform including many of the biggest names in fashion. JOOR recently opened up an office in Milan and is opening one soon in Sydney.
This is a prime example of a company applying technology to an industry that is predominantly offline, and succeeding. Founder Mona Bijoor said that most transactions in fashion wholesale happen at trade shows, market appointments, and with handwritten orders. JOOR’s business platform puts the sales process online so retailers and brands can connect in a more efficient way.
“This is a highly fragmented market where retailers can only source products from places they actually go and there is limited data available about the inventory,” she said in an interview. “If online sales of clothing makes sense for the consumer world, why shouldn’t it make sense for wholesale? Our job is to make retailers and brands better, smarter, and faster.”
Bijoor spent most of her career working in fashion with brands like Chanel, Elie Tahari, Cynthia Rowley, and in the buying departments of global retailers. She experienced the pain points on both sides and saw an opportunity to “pioneer wholesale evolution.”
The platform’s core technology connects brands and retailers. Brands create a profile page with marketing materials and retailers put up pages with information about their clients and inventory. Search capabilities are available on both sides using filters like price, trend, region, product etc… and the system finds relevant matches.
Buyers have access to real-time analytics about orders, notes, fulfillment, shipping and billing, as well as lead generation tools. Retailers can look at best selling items, discover new brands, and build and place orders on the platform.
The global fashion industry generates over a $1.5 trillion dollars a year and is growing. Most of the discussion surrounding about fashion tech focuses on consumers, but consumers are at one end of a very long and complicated supply chain that JOOR is trying to make “less archaic.” This is more important than ever as “fast-fashion” has caused consumers to expect rapid turnover.
Joor’s clients include fashion heavyweights Diane Von Furstenberg, Phillip Lim, Alexander McQueen, Rag & Bone, and Thakoon. Right now the platform is only available for women’s apparel and menswear but Bijoor said she is exploring opportunities in footwear and accessories. Competitors include NuOrder, Balluun, Brandboom, but none have the high profile clientele that JOOR does (although NuOrder raised money from Rachel Zoe).
JOOR is based in New York with offices in LA and Milan and has raised $5.5 million to date from Battery Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Great Oaks VC, Landis Capital, and Forerunner Ventures.