Swedish Startup Space

Here Is The Nelly-founder’s New E-Commerce Fashion Platform

Written by on January 8, 2016

Jarno Vanhatapio has gone completely under the radar and developed his new e-commerce fashion platform NA-KD [pronounced “naked”]. He is now lifting the lid and explains his plans to Breakit.

In December, the e-commerce site e-handel.se (article in Swedish) revealed Jarno Vanhatapio’s plans for NA-KD. Jarno Vanhatapio wants the site to be more that just a global e-commerce site. He’s planning a kind of collective of several sites.

Jarno Vanhatapio has bought a number of e-commerce sites like Country-Dreams, Rut & Circle, Inspo.nu and Imso.com. Those sites will all be a part of the new NA-KD collective, together with numerous other sites.

“It’s a white label solution for smaller and medium sized e-merchants. We can either set up an entirely new online store for them or migrate their preexisting store over to our platform. If the merchants want to they can keep the store as it is. The customers won’t see the difference anyway. We handle checkouts and customer service in their name. It’s still their own brand, we work behind the scenes”, Jarno Vanhatapio says.

The companies all share functionality, technology, warehouses and shipping costs with NA-KD, and there is no fixed recurring fee. The platform ships to 182 different countries. In returning, NA-KD takes a share of the profits.

“Only a few brands have managed to break big on the internet. 9 out of 10 struggles real bad and never manage to grow properly. I’ve already built a company from nothing to $100 million and I wish that I would have had the opportunity to piggy back on someone else’s infrastructure”, Jarno Vanhatapio says.

Judging from the response from some Swedish e-merchants, Jarno Vanhatapio seems to be right.

“For me personally, it’s bad timing because I have toddlers and can’t put in the hours necessary for a project like that. I’m sure we would have joined the platform if the circumstances were different. I’m confident that it will be a success”, Carin Carlberg, CEO of Kyssjohanna, says. Her online store has revenues of about $500,000 each year.

“If we were still in an early growth phase we would definitely be interested, because you can share costs like shipping. However, when the company reaches a certain size you want to control that part by yourself”, Ulf Kilberg, CEO of Bagaren och kocken, says. His company had revenues of over $10 million in 2015 and hopes to increase revenues by 50 percent this year.

Jarno Vahnatapio has alreay founded two successful e-commerce businesses. He started in the industry by launching the online fashion store Nelly, which is now owned by the Qliro Group, in 1999. He stayed at Nelly until he founded the animal food site Zoozoo in 2013. He sold his second company to Animali in August last year (article in Swedish).

“We’ve decided to keep a low profile so far. We’re only seven months old and I don’t really think you should start talking before you’ve reached $10 million in year-by-year revenue. We’re about to get to that point now”, Jarno Vanhatapio says.

When NA-KD launched its site the company also raised $2.3 million from 14 different IT-entrepreneurs and angel investors. The lead investor was the current chairman Mangus Emilsson, who has previously built Tradedoubler and Bookatable. The Happysocks-founder Mikael Söderlind, Brummer & Partners-founder Svante Elving and the IT-entrepreneur Roy Forslund were also among the investors.

“You might ask what the catch is, and I guess there’s a catch if you really want to create your company completely on your own. I know what e-commerce companies should be doing, and that’s to focus on the products and purchases, not the platform and IT-solutions. Whatever they build on their own will be outdated in six months. The technological development is just that fast, and we know how to build sites with great conversion rates”, Jarno Vanhatapio says.

Up until now, NA-KD has acquired four sites and got about ten e-commerce companies on board. So far, the company has kept its focus on fashion but is going into sports fashion this spring. The founder is not ruling out the possibility of going into furniture and lifestyle when the platform has developed further.

The company plans to launch a salesforce in the USA, release an app and its first full version of a desktop site (the current site is a beta version) within the coming months.

“Hopefully, we will get hundreds of retailers on board and help them with the digitization of their brands. Our structure allows us to build several brands under one roof, and to make it cost effective for stores that want to grow”, Jarno Vanhatapio says.

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