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Friendvestor Update #2: Money

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Publishing in case helpful to other very early-stage founders.

Your purpose with these updates is to help me calibrate decision-making.

  1. Please offer critical feedback/insights, prompted by “Requests for feedback” & “Requests for help”
  2. When you believe we are going astray, please be vocal and tell me.

Italic is a platform that empowers the world's best quality goods manufacturers to sell unbranded, private-label products directly to a global market

Read the following asks to keep in mind while reading the rest of the update. To respond to a RFH or a RFF, respond to the email or text me.

Request for help

Urgent

  • Cannot promise you an allocation but if you'd to invest, please message me as soon as possible.
  • Finance + ops
    • REDACTED
  • Absolute top priority right now is speaking with apparel & leather goods manufacturers. airtable
    • REDACTED
  • Engineering - I'd love to spend an evening or weekend w/ someone to walk through the architecture.
    • REDACTED
  • Design - do you know anyone who has experience in apparel design?
    • REDACTED
  • Creatives - are there individual graphic designers (not agencies) whom you would recommend?
    • REDACTED

Request for Feedback

  • What are the glaring holes you see, questions you would like answered, or risks you'd like to see addressed?
    • A number of you are angels, VCs, or operators & have already expressed interest or directly committed to investing - I'm grateful for the support! That said, I want to passively prepare to be in a great position when fundraising actually starts.
  • Take a look at the designs provided. If you have any comments, share it on the Figma document or in an email response.
  • Check the list of names at the bottom of this update - any names that you particularly love / don't love?

Shout Outs

  • Thank you to REDACTED

Business

General Updates

  • China
  • Legal structure
  • Manufacturer acquisition
  • Fundraising
  • Amazon comparison

Core Metric

REDACTED

EPD

Engineering

We have 3 products:

  1. The consumer storefront - what consumers see and shop from
  2. The manufacturer console - the dashboard where manufacturers manage inventory, products, orders, and payouts
  3. The internal admin console - this is where we manage D2C orders, shipments, inventory, and complaints

Consumer Storefront + Internal Console

For the sake of speed, I am persuaded to build the consumer storefront on Shopify and also incur the benefit of using the Shopify admin console.

Because we do not do anything unique with payment structures (i.e. subscription), it's a fairly straightforward implementation.

The only major consideration for building on Shopify is that we will need to use the manufacturer console API to push inventory status over to Shopify inventory on a daily cron job.

We will also have to poll the Shopify API for the sake of getting revenue per product to ensure payouts are made appropriately to manufacturers.

Not rocket science, but the linking of the two systems will take work.

Manufacturer Console

After procuring existing solutions, I have determined that we must build a custom manufacturer console. Ironically, much of the functionality is similar to Shopify's console. However, being able to payout, monitor inventory transfers, and provide adequate vendor support necessitates a custom-built solution.

The goal of the manufacturer product is to make it as easy as possible to monitor and update the following:

  1. Inventory transfers (shipments to the warehouse to replenish inventory)
  2. New product development and monitor product listings
  3. Manage their payouts seamlessly and without failure. This is of utmost importance to build rapport w/ manufacturers

Product

Between myself and several friends, the current plan is to build the storefront and the manufacturer console concurrently as the design process finishes up. If I can work really hard and fast, I expect that to possibly start early February (which is perfect timing as Chinese manufacturers are on holiday that month).

More on this in weeks to come.

Names

*Current favorites

*Fat Cat *Envy Solitaire Propaganda Alter Ego Generic Commonwealth Bebop *Italic Boo *Namesake