The Launch and Growth of TOTSY
When my co-founders and I first began sharing the idea of launching this company in the throes of the recession, some of the feedback could have been classified as disheartening. I have to applaud our founding team for maintaining the course in the face of the many obstacles we encountered, the most daunting being the volatile financial markets and dearth of financing. In one of the most the economically challenging environments in US history, we were able to secure enough seed financing from friends and family to launch, which we saw as a great vote of confidence in both the model and the opportunity.
I was very much aware of the success achievable through the private sale model long before the category was introduced to the US market. Vente-Privée, the category originator, has been the subject of multi-billion dollar valuation rumors for several years. So when my partners and I saw the quickly growing popularity of the model in the US through companies such as Gilt, Ideeli and Ruelala, we knew we needed to act quickly to become the first private sale site exclusively dedicated to moms in the US.
We’ve been asked many times why we chose to serve moms as our core demographic, when we are all men. It seems to puzzle some but it was very clear to us:
We all have mothers, are related to other mothers and some of us are even married to mothers. In our experience, these mothers and mothers-to-be make most of the important decisions, especially when it comes to shopping for us, the family, each other or themselves.
Of course, we had some additional knowledge from the many years of our collective experience in retail, marketing and digital media, further verified with endless reams market data, which show that the vast majority of moms are using some form of social media and influence approximately 85% of household purchases. That’s trillions of dollars and a significant portion of the US GDP. Some studies suggest nearly a quarter of moms shop online at least once a day so it was clear there was tremendous opportunity and need for our service.
Since our launch in late 2009 when we started with five people, we’ve grown swiftly, recently receiving the honor of being named one of Forbes Most Promising American Companies. In the last year alone, we have grown 3000% YOY and we will always remember that we have moms to thank for this, both ours and those TOTSY Moms that have supported us throughout this journey. Based on the recommendations we received from moms directly, we dedicated this company to values that are important to them: high quality, competitive pricing, a community-based marketing strategy that aims to deliver knowledge, support and value, not just sell product, and a commitment to social responsibility and environmental conservation. We believe that our adherence to these values and our talented team of professionals have been integral to our success and as we look forward to continuing our growth, we plan on only getting better at supporting moms and applying these core values.
We’ll share some stories on the development of TOTSY in future posts as well. In the meantime, do you have any questions about TOTSY’s launch and growth? Don’t hesitate to post them on the comment thread.