John Scrofano went from helping plan weddings to helping boutiques make more money.
The Seattle-based entrepreneur, who previously co-founded a wedding planner startup called OneWed, is now CEO of Garmentory.
Garmentory is a TechStars Seattle 2014 graduate which hosts a marketplace that connects small brick-and-mortar boutiques with customers online around the world.
Scrofano left OneWed earlier this year when the eight-year-old startup sold to two small private companies in Texas and Victoria, British Columbia. OneWed, which hosted wedding-related content in a Pinterest-like interface, had impressive traffic metrics and its app ranked highly in the App Store, but the company couldn’t close a second round of funding.
“A lot of folks said to walk away, but people had given us their money, so we spent a year in the sales processes trying to return capital to the best of our ability,” Scrofano said.
OneWed split into two entities — Nearlyweds.com and OneWed.com — and sold the parts individually. Scrofano said the buyers were excited about the recurring revenue and technology.
“They are decidedly not pursuing a VC-funded growth strategy — and that’s the right thing for the businesses,” he added. “The wedding market is too niche to pursue a VC-funded growth strategy — a lesson I learned the hard way.”
Scrofano added that OneWed’s employees all landed at “great Seattle startups” like Tune, Zulily, and Azuqua.
“We had a really fantastic small group of employees,” he said. “We were transparent about the process and encouraged them to find full time jobs while still on payroll.”
Scrofano now heads up a small team at Garmentory, which was co-founded by Adele Tetangco and Sunil Gowda, a veteran of Microsoft, Expedia, and Zillow who became Garmentory’s CTO when Scrofano joined the team in February.
Garmentory features a large collection of sale items from a marketplace of curated boutiques. Customers browse online and if they like a piece, Garmentory allows them to make an offer. If the boutique accepts, it ships the item to the customer for free.
The company now has more than 130 stores in three continents on its platform and is seeing 40 percent month-over-month sales growth. Scrofano said the early success is the result of liquidity — buyers can find what they are looking for on the platform at a reasonable price, and sellers can make a reasonable profit.
“We’ve got an exceptional collection of boutiques and their merchandise now,” he said. “There is a much higher chance that a female shopper who likes contemporary fashion can find something — or many, many things — that they want, in their size, in the right color, on our site now. That simple wasn’t true six months ago.”
Garmentory employs less than 10. The company’s investors include Founders Co-op General Partner Chris Devore, who also invested in OneWed, and Seattle angel Gary Rubens.