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How Marketplaces are Empowering Future Designers, Creatives, and Manufacturers

Most of my career has focused on building, implementing, and sourcing software. So when I started business school in 2019, I wanted to learn how actual physical goods like apparel or CPG products moved through a supply chain and created a strong brand.

While several classes provided insight into how a good goes from inception to sale, I have learned even more through my work with Silicon Road Ventures. Today, emerging brands can tap into a network of marketplaces to bring their products to market and create lasting brands.

Before, the process of location and finding a manufacturer for goods abroad was difficult and expensive for emerging designers with minimum order quantities and scouting trips. Now, startups like N.a.bld allow emerging designers to key into quickturn manufacturing and inventory-free retail. Other marketplaces like Dhakai and Thr3efold connect designers with manufacturers abroad without the need to board an airplane. Designers and emerging brands can now virtually tour factories in other parts of the world and verify licenses and reviews from the comfort of their own home office.

Once a product is manufactured, the designer can then use a marketplace like Pivot to find shelf-space in boutiques for apparel and accessories. For CPG goods, WeStock’s crowdstocking platform harnesses a brand’s loyal customers to unlock shelf space in grocery stores.

As a brand grows, marketplaces like Wripple match the best freelance creative teams with businesses to supercharge a company’s ecommerce and digital marketing efforts for a fraction of the price of a traditional agency.

Gone are the days where heavy capital and industry relationships were critical to an emerging brand’s success. Are there other ways marketplaces or early-stage startups are creating more access to a global supply chain? Let us know your thoughts below.

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