Bulletin — described as “WeWork for retail” — opened its second New York City retail space this week while also raising funds in anticipation of opening additional NYC locations as well as eventually branching out to other cities.
According to TechCrunch, the company is a way for retailers to sell their products in physical stores without committing to long-term leases and super high rents in urban areas. In SoHo, for example, the average rental price on Broadway between Houston and Broome Streets is $824 per square foot, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.
Bulletin takes a physical location and divides it into different sections of varying sizes — some are just shelf space, while others area are bigger. Each of those sections can be rented out by different businesses on a month-by-month basis as a way to test their products out in a brick-and-mortar space, launch a new product or simply sell off the rest of their inventory.
Retailers run the retail space as if it was their own store, and there is even a salesperson on-hand who works for Bulletin, but each brand gets to train them. Bulletin has also released an early version of software to make it easy to book a space and access sales numbers, and it will continue to improve upon that technology.
With that in mind, the company has secured funding from YC, Notation Capital, Halogen Ventures and Jesse Draper. Bulletin actually joined YC’s fellowship program for founders last year and initially wanted to create a “shoppable magazine” online for up-and-coming brands. Bulletin’s founders, COO Ali Kriegsman and CEO Alana Branston, also opened pop-up shops around New York at the same time and found those to be much more lucrative.
“We quickly figured out all of these brands didn’t really need another online sales channel,” Branston said. What they benefited from instead was access to retail space in areas with lots of foot traffic and “a turnkey way to launch their products.”
The company launched last November with a store in Williamsburg focusing on home goods, while the new store in SoHo is stocked with products for women. There are also plans for Bulletin Pantry, Bulletin Baby and Bulletin Wellness, as well as another store in NYC and an eventual expansion to Los Angeles.