1) Faire raises $150 million to grow its wholesale marketplace, a solution for independent retailers to connect with creators.

WHAT HAPPENED: Faire is a marketplace similar to Etsy but it’s focused on wholesale orders, as evidenced by its minimum order quantity requirement. The company raised the money from venture capitalists including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, valuing Faire at $1 billion. WHY IT MATTERS
  • Amazon has put small businesses out of business while Faire helps keep them in business. Faire’s platform makes it easy for thousands of local stores to sample products from craftspeople around the world with no risk. It alleviates the buying process for small retailers by allowing them to not pay for new products upfront and return inventory that didn’t work at no cost. Ultimately, Faire helps to reverse the impact Amazon has had on small businesses by enabling them to develop their business online and attract new audiences with enhanced exposure and product assortments. Amazon, on the other hand, puts the burden on small businesses and is more focused on itself than its vendors.
  • Although Faire has shown early signs of success, it needs to invest more in tools to make its vendors successful if they want to truly impact their businesses. While Etsy helps power businesses in the long tail, Faire will need to turn its small-time vendors into bigger and more powerful brands to continue powering the platform. To do this, it will need to invest in more tools to grow its vendor’s sales—something Amazon is very good at. At the same time, Faire needs to insure that independent retailers are thriving as well, as they generate the demand that pays for the supply. This might be a long-term challenge as many independent retailers continue to struggle and giving them access to better products alone will not be enough. Instead, Faire should move further into the retailers themselves grow their business so the brands Faire serves still have outlets to sell their products in.