The Crunch: Independent brands around the world are embracing the Tictail community and using the e-commerce platform to connect to each other as well as to consumers. Tictail is popular with designers and consumers because of its ease of use and dedication to craftsmanship. The platform makes it simple for a serious entrepreneur to open a shop and sell, but also gives those store owners access to a wealth of marketing tools and a sense of community that bigger retailers just can’t deliver. With Tictail, store owners also gain access to a bustling marketplace and are given a shot at selling their products at Tictail’s New York City storefront.
The unlikely journey of Deadwood Leather began in 2010 when two friends decided to open a thrift store in Stockholm, Sweden. The pair wanted to sell vintage clothing and even began to experiment with repurposing old clothes into newer styles. The thrift store didn’t work out, but before it closed in 2012, the friends found the next great idea: using recycled leather to fashion vintage remakes.
Their first idea was to craft a leather biker jacket. They felt it was one of the most iconic and timeless articles of clothing a person could own. It was a symbol of rebellion, had a classic look, and gave off a hint of mystery.
They also believed that making the jackets using sustainable leather — which allowed for a lower price point — would have great appeal to consumers. While Deadwood’s owners were very fashion-savvy, they weren’t web designers, so they trusted the sale of their products to the tailored e-commerce platform of Tictail.
It was a decision that transformed the company into a sought-after brand with global reach, which is exactly what Tictail sets out to accomplish with all of its brands.
Tictail was founded in 2012, also in Stockholm, by a group of designers and engineers who saw a need for a retail platform that could help creative entrepreneurs build businesses. What they created was a way for emerging designers to easily create a beautiful, sleek, easy-to-use online shop without needing to take any focus away from their craft to run it.
The response has been nothing short of astounding.
Within a couple of weeks, the site had over 1,000 stores. Today, more than 100,000 brands are on Tictail. The company has prospered because it empowers artists to succeed at e-commerce by connecting with consumers on a level that many businesses can’t.
“What our brands can do — that giant retailers cannot — is build a real relationship with every single shopper,” Tictail Global PR Manager Briana Feigon told us.
In the case of Deadwood Leather, Tictail transformed its product from niche novelty to an international brand, admired by consumers far outside of Stockholm.
Tictail is able to connect those brands to consumers because it is trusted by both. From the beginning, Tictail applied a designer view to e-commerce. From the sleek platform to its retail space in New York, Tictail provides independent brands with new ways to tell their stories and connect with consumers who feel just as passionately.
Building a Community Out of Authentic Craftsmanship and Creativity
When Co-Founder Carl Waldekranz helped start Tictail, he was surrounded by a community of creative entrepreneurs in Sweden. Some of his friends were starting music labels, fashion brands, and working on other passion projects. His mother even made the decision to leave her day job to pursue making pottery and ceramics full time.
He also noticed a common need in the community.
“A lot of people were asking him to build websites for them,” Briana said. “He quickly realized there was a need for a platform that could help creative entrepreneurs who wanted to build global businesses and sell online, but who didn’t have the tech skills or knowledge to build a site on their own.”
The platform that emerged was Tictail, and it needed to produce websites and shopping experiences that designers would be proud of. The goal was to meld simplicity of use, beautiful design, and a personal bond between artist and patron. Of the four Tictail founders, two had a background in design and the other two were computer engineers. That balance of their visions led to Tictail being a perfect combination of artistry and technology.
When Tictail launched, one of Carl’s most-admired artists was the first to sign up: his mom.
Her shop, called By Mutti, contains porcelain goods with Americana-style overlays inspired by the ocean and its colors. The store embodied Tictail’s mission, which is to make it simple for any artist to get involved in e-commerce and connect with consumers around the globe.
Allowing Creators to Easily Build E-Commerce Sites
Tictail allows an entrepreneur to focus on the product by offering simple, but stunning, designs. A designer can open a store in under five minutes and begin selling. Creating a Tictail custom shop is free, with no fees for signup, subscription, listing, or selling on orders placed in your custom shop.
This differs greatly from many other sites that take a commission on every item sold or charge fees for listing items.
After opening a custom shop, everything from social media links to an about page can be added to connect more deeply with consumers. That connection is particularly important to Tictail because they want customers to relate to entrepreneurs.
“We want to make sure that when a shopper comes to your brand, they are shopping for you,” said Briana.
From one dashboard, a shop owner can add products, fulfill orders, offer discounts and even keep in touch with customers. Tictail also gives shop owners access to a wide array of paid upgrades and add-ons for tracking, marketing, and promoting their materials. They even have analytics apps that can help an owner glean information from the data the store generates.
“Shop owners like the design and usability of Tictail, plus they like to see that other brands they personally admire are part of the community,” Briana told us. She then recalled the story of a Brooklyn-based painter who approached her recently.
“An artist told me, ‘I’m thinking of building my online shop and every single artist that I admire in the Brooklyn community uses Tictail to sell,’ so that made her excited about Tictail.”
Briana added that the best feeling is when an artist sees brands they admire using Tictail, then they choose to follow.
Using Tictail’s Own Online Marketplace to Extend a Creator’s Reach
Beyond allowing an emerging designer to craft a website that reflects the uniqueness of their brand, Tictail wants to give entrepreneurs more access to consumers around the world.
Enter the Tictail marketplace and a new feature-rich mobile app.
Each company that opens a store gets an opportunity to have items featured in a curated marketplace. Tictail found out very quickly that consumers had a strong desire to visit one place to find everything.
“We found a lot of people wanting to find all of the Tictail brands in one place, so they could shop everything at once,” said Briana. Consumer sentiment led directly to the reinvention of Tictail.com, she added.
“Now, rather than the landing page saying, ‘Start your online store,’ it is a shopping destination where you can discover really amazing fashion, home decor, art, and jewelry brands.”
Items in the marketplace are charged only a 10% commission, which is a small price to pay for having access to a global community of design-oriented customers.
Tictail’s app is another sign of the commitment to connecting consumers with great brands. The app is already helping to replicate the boutique experience with Tictail Talk, a direct in-app messaging tool for shoppers.
“A consumer can look at a shop and directly message a brand and ask a question like, ‘I really like this, do you have it in green?’ ” Briana explained. The company can also message its customers with answers to questions, details on promotions, or information on new items in the store. That back-and-forth between a shopper and designer is exactly what Tictail, as a company, wants to engender.
Not only are they accomplishing that connection through their recent expansions in the marketplace and mobile technology, but Tictail has gone beyond virtual interactions by giving their community access to a brick-and-mortar storefront in New York City.
A Curated New York Store Brings the Online Market Into Vivid Reality
In December 2015, Tictail opened pop-up shops in New York, Paris, and Stockholm, its three biggest markets for both sellers and consumers. The New York store was so successful that the company decided to open a permanent storefront called Tictail Market on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Tictail helped Deadwood Leather travel the incredible path from a thrift store to an internationally recognized brand, and now, Tictail Market can’t even keep Deadwood’s jackets on the shelves because they are so popular.
“Their jackets sell like crazy,” Briana raved. “We get a shipment of 40, and, within the week, they are sold out. We have a waiting list of people who covet their leather jackets. Deadwood is an example of a brand that will always be in our storefront.”
The storefront is stocked with items from Tictail stores around the world, and it is curated to showcase some of the best brands.
“It is like a living, breathing gallery, but it doesn’t feel starchy,” she said. “We want it to be a place where you feel comfortable hanging out. We even have after hours events a couple of times a week.”
Part of the store’s back wall is devoted to displaying biography cards of the artists with items in the store so that customers can get to know more about the brands they are buying. Tictail even selects some designers to paint a mural on the side of the building. This all goes with Tictail’s mission of connecting the consumer with something that is unique.
“The whole idea of Tictail is ‘Discover Something New,’ Briana said. “Discover emerging designers before anyone else, and having access to amazing brands that you otherwise wouldn’t find in the city that you live in.”
With an emerging designer-focused platform and a culture of craftsmanship, Tictail is hoping to cultivate much more of that discovery.