If you find Etsy overly vast and craft-oriented, and typical online retail too mainstream, WonderMode might be just the independent-minded middle ground you’re looking for. By connecting designers directly with customers, the New York-based start-up presents emerging high-end talent in such a way that fosters young brands and helps them grow.
Similar to Etsy, WonderMode gives potential sellers the agency to get their goods online. Though they have to apply and be approved to join WonderMode, once they have done so, fledgling luxury designers are able to use the site as their own e-commerce platform. They set their prices, handle shipping, and are encouraged to communicate directly with their customers. They also have the option to use their own product photography, though this has to adhere to certain guidelines (otherwise, the site offers a photo shoot service).
The guidelines set by WonderMode are part of what makes the site’s consumer experience totally coherent. Though some designers are fresh out of school and others have been in business for a few years, ideally, shoppers shouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Besides vetting the quality of all applicants’ designs and finished products, WonderMode makes a point of presenting a unified, navigable online retail storefront. Similar to any multi-brand retailer, the site’s goods are broken down by designer, by category, and by sale items. Also on the homepage, however, are curated editor’s picks — these range from futuristic fashion to technicolor accessories — and a featured designers category. This section helps educate customers on the young brands, providing interviews with the designers and an in-depth look at their inspiration and creative process.
Beyond providing a retail platform and social media exposure, WonderMode also offers a financially rewarding package to its young talent. Uploading images is inexpensive (fifty cents for up to four images per item), and the site takes only a 20% commission on items sold. At a typical brick-and-mortar retailer, that percentage would be at least 50%.
WonderMode already offers over a hundred designers from around the world, and the site is still fundraising and in beta. While we expect it’ll continue to evolve in the months to come, we can’t wait to see if WonderMode ultimately becomes a one-stop shop for global fresh talent.