We review all different types of products here at TQE; whether it’s jeans from Khloe Kardashian or the most elevated olive oil, the volume of beautiful new brands we’re tracking is mind boggling. It seems like every TikToker is coming out with their own beauty line and every athlete has their own protein blend.
Thanks to Shopify and Instagram, it has never been easier to sell and market products to customers all across the world, but without a team of dedicated managers, designers, and supply-chain specialists, would-be entrepreneurs can get stuck up in the product development stage. Procuring raw materials, finding a reliable manufacturer, and selecting the right packaging all add to the high barrier of actually bringing physical products to the real world. Pietra, a platform that recently came out of beta, is hoping to make product creation as easy as setting up a Shopify store.
Welcome To The Hub
Launching a new clothing line or sunglass brand used to look something like this: go to Alibaba and sort through hundreds if not thousands of factories in China, chat with them on WhatsApp, get a catalogue and quote through email, hire a designer in your personal network or an expensive agency, source packaging from a site like Packlane, place orders on Alibaba, Fiverr, and Packlane, ship the product and packaging to your fulfillment facility, set up a store on Shopify, get new orders, and then assemble and ship out packages or pay a third-party logistics provider.
While all of these services are extremely valuable on their own (and have lended way to plenty of advancements), the process is still fragmented. If you’re an A-list celebrity with a full-time team this isn’t as big of a deal, but most solo influencers’ time is better spent creating the content that gained them an audience in the first place.
“When we thought about Pietra we thought about how do we take all of the parts of starting and running an e-commerce brand and make it turnkey and accessible to everyone with an idea?,” Ronak Trivedi, co-founder and CEO of Pietra told me.
The result is the Pietra Creator Hub, a three-pronged approach to make building brands as seamless and efficient as possible. First is the marketplace, which gives anyone access to suppliers who work with the biggest brands including Adidas and Ralph Lauren. Some of the main categories are clothing, makeup, candy, and even supplements. Customers can start with a private label version or a completely customized product.
The second service is fulfillment: instead of worrying about how you’re going to photograph your new line and ship it out, Pietra will handle photography, storage, assembly, and worldwide shipping.
Finally, Pietra offers customers the ability to create their own storefront on the Pietra platform or connect an existing Shopify site.
Alibaba, But For Everyone
In addition to Pietra being perhaps the easiest way to create products, the company also offers assurance that the manufacturers are high quality. Every single supplier on the Pietra marketplace is hand picked, and they even have teams located around the world whose job it is to find the best producers from their location.
“When you’re working with a supply partner on Pietra, they are probably working with some of the brands that you already know about,” Trivedi says, versus Alibaba where your only litmus test is a handful of reviews and wishful thinking that your product will be delivered the way you ordered it.
is also straightforward: you can start browsing suppliers for free, pay a small fee for samples, and then depending on what services you use from Pietra (warehousing is $1 per unit for example), you could pay as little as $1 per order plus a 5% fee.
The Next Frontier In DTC
The so-called “Creator Economy” is only in its infancy, and the number of brands that will come out in the coming years will only increase. As social media apps, algorithms, and creator tools rapidly morph, the ability for those with the fewest resources to monetize their audience will be the differentiating factor in generational brands and one hit wonders.
The days of big stars partnering with big brands are by no means over, but the age of many microinfluencers profiting from authentic objects is being ushered in. Pietra is product populism.
“The rise of TikTok just shows that there are going to be more creators than ever over the next twenty years with audiences that can be monetized,” Trivedi states, “and our goal is to make it super, super easy for these people that have done a lot of work to build on top of that hard work and create businesses and brands and product lines that provide another monetization opportunity. And hopefully one that is more longer term and not susceptible to the changes of these social networks and their algorithms.”
If you’re looking to launch a brand but don’t have the same resources as Addison Rae or the D’Amelio sisters, Pietra might be the solution for you. Spend more time on creating and strategizing, and less time reinventing the wheel.