Ideas for start-up ventures come in all shapes and sizes. Kate Duff and Alexi Mintz hit upon their own miniature concept when struggling to pack for flights.
Alexi Mintz and Kate Duff began travelling together when working for their previous employer. Although the two businesswomen made an unlikely pair on the road, their experience did lend them the inspiration they needed to found their own start-up venture, 3Floz.com.
Their concept was born in June 2009 and by November that year they had already vacated their homes in Los Angeles and set up ‘shop’ in Manhattan. Their plan: to sell high-end and name brand beauty, grooming and personal care items in containers no larger than three fluid ounce capacity.
“Kate and I had spent a lot of time traveling together for our previous employer,” Mintz says. “As we traveled, we realised that we had very different travel styles; I tended to skimp on my beauty routine in an effort to always carry-on, while Kate checked her luggage so she never had to forgo her beauty routine.”
At the point that Mintz had to start borrowing Duff’s products in order to ‘keep up appearances’, the pair realised there wasn’t any one-stop-shop for travel-sized beauty products on the market.
“Our mission is to make it convenient to look and feel good wherever a person’s travels take them. We are for those who travel, those who are curious and those can’t commit,” says Mintz.
A Model that Plays to its Leaders’ Strengths
By this stage, the Co-founders already had 11 years experience in the beauty industry between them and were already familiar with the processes and technologies involved with an e-commerce site. While neither of the pair were confident enough to develop their own technology in-house, they’ve demonstrated their nous in their ability to choose the correct solutions to partner with.
“3Floz.com is an online boutique specialising in travel-size beauty, grooming and wellness products committed to helping women and men look and feel their best, wherever they are,” Mintz explains.
In that sense, the focus has never been on having the most bells-and-whistles on-site as possible, but rather featuring good, curated selections of product while also marketing it to the best of the pair’s not inconsiderable abilities.
In previous organisations, Duff had held the roles of Customer Service and Sales Liaison, Sales and Marketing Manager and Sales Manager for several beauty brands. Mintz, on the other hand, had worked her way up from intern to Brand Manager in just one organisation, for which she launched and designed an e-commerce site.
It is this experience that has given the entrepreneurial pair an edge in taking their business to market. Their networks and know-how has lead 3Floz.com to attract plenty of attention, even before the webstore had gotten off the ground.
“We’ve garnered a lot of attention over the past two years from the press, with over two hundred placements,” explains Mintz. “This is also due to the business name, which resonates and depicts exactly what we do. We’ve also been able to cultivate a number of key partnerships with vendors, ‘celebrities’, editors, bloggers and also co-branding kits for retail locations.”
In that sense, 3Floz.com fits the mould in terms of what a modern ‘omnichannel’ brand is capable of. Their products aren’t just sold as products. Rather, this is ‘product as a service’ that can be easily packaged with marketing tailored for whatever space their customer happens to be shopping in.
Aerodynamically Designed for Optimal Marketing Presence
Due to the uniqueness of their offering, 3Floz.com can also partner with other affiliates, easily fitting into a variety of retail models without being viewed as competition.
Beyond this, the pair market themselves as the face of their offering, explains Mintz.
“Kate and I are at the heart and soul of 3Floz.com. Not only are we the faces of the brand, we are the experts in this arena. We have curated the assortment, aesthetic and intention of 3Floz.com,” she says. “With television appearances and multiple interviews under our belts, we consider ourselves to be the key component in setting the brand apart.”
According to Mintz, 3Floz.com is enabled via a unique mix of marketing attributes, including:
- Strategic public relations
- Mobile shopping
- Branded ‘3Floz’ campaigns
- Editorial partnerships
- Airline and travel partnerships
- Hospitality partnerships
This combination of marketing attributes appears uniquely available to the business model 3Floz.com operates under and is indicative of a company with a strong omnichannel retail strategy.
Travelling Light with In-house Tech and Focus on Luggage
Despite outsourcing all of their technology requirements, 3Floz.com surprisingly doesn’t rely on third-party logistics or warehousing solutions. In this critical area of an online business, the duo prefer to maintain close control over the storage and fulfilment of their products in order to ensure customer satisfaction – and the results are telling.
“We still handle all fulfillment in house! Our return rate is under one percent,” Mintz tells us. “We ship all over the world.”
However the story doesn’t end there for Duff and Mintz. The pair are always looking ahead in order to be able to offer their customers more and better products, to be able to reach those consumers in as many ways as possible while also improving their digital offerings where possible.
After just a couple of years online, the pair realise their webstore is due for an overhaul.
“As far as our future plans are concerned, we want to focus on brand expansion, as well as an upcoming relaunch of the 3Floz.com site,” Mintz says.
Seeking more information on how to get an online retail venture off to a flying start? See our complete A-Z guide, Power Up: The Online Retail Entrepreneur’s Guide.