really, it’s that good.
photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK
produced by ALYSSA CLOUGH
Everything about Tictail is just plain cool. This includes, but is not limited to, the products sold (both online and in-store), the employees (seriously, follow them), the Scandinavian-inspired design of their New York City shop (of course), and the vendors (who create the art, decor, accessories, and clothing we covet). We could—and have—spent hours walking around their Lower East Side shop, frankly because we want it all. To learn more, we caught up with Carl Waldekranz, CEO and Co-Founder ofTictail, and got the lowdown on this growing global marketplace, how their pop-up shop turned into a permanent market, and what we can look forward to in the future.
WHAT EXACTLY IS TICTAIL?
Tictail is all about helping you discover something new.
We’re a social shopping marketplace for anyone to discover emerging designers from around the world. To date, we have over 125,000 different brands on our platform, representing 140 countries around the world. Our fastest growing markets are the US, Sweden, France, Germany and the UK, but we have brands representing all parts of the world. With our combined over 2.5 million products available, we give shoppers a chance to find new and unique art, fashion, and home decor before anyone else.
Growing up in Stockholm, I’ve always loved design. I started my entrepreneurial career in design, working with companies such as Nokia and Spotify build beautiful online experiences.
In 2012, I teamed up with my best friends and fellow co-founders Kaj, Birk and Siavash to create something we were very passionate about: helping connect global shoppers with talented independent designers looking to grow their businesses and reach mass audiences online. We saw a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a big impact in ecommerce and help people discover unique, high quality product they couldn’t find anywhere else.
Thus, Tictail was born, and I’m so happy everyday to watch as the Tictail community of brands and shoppers builds and evolves.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE TICTAIL FROM AN ONLINE PLATFORM TO AN IN-PERSON SHOP?
Last winter, we launched pop up stores in Paris, Stockholm, and New York, and really fell in love with the way we were able to create an immersive brand experience. It was one of the craziest, most adventurous, hectic – and yet most rewarding points of our shopping journey at Tictail. Having the chance to create a physical storefront in three of my favorite cities in the world.
The physical space was able to make our online marketplace come to life, while at the same time showcasing the amazing originality and entrepreneurship behind each one of our brands. New York is a huge market for us, and growing incredibly fast. After seeing the overwhelming amount of foot traffic coming to our pop up at 90 Orchard Street, we decided to transition the pop up into our very first permanent brick-and-mortar store.
I love walking by to get coffee, or a cocktail, or to shop and seeing our logo in the window. The Lower East Side community has really embraced us and we’re grateful to call the LES home.
HOW DID YOU SETTLE ON THIS SPECIFIC STOREFRONT?
As a brand, we can relate with the Lower East Side’s small storefronts, and true neighborhood vibe. We deliberately chose to stay away from the shopping meccas of New York City like SoHo or Fifth Ave., to make sure shoppers know that when you step in, you’re shopping local.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DESIGN AESTHETIC OF THE SHOP?
Tictail Market is a healthy balance of a clean, Scandinavian aesthetic, paired with bursts of color and unique, humourous products that you can’t find anywhere else. We wanted to bring a little bit of Stockholm to New York. We focused on keeping a white interior accented with wood paneling and pops of colors that our brands provide. One wall is entirely dedicated to featuring Tictail brands and designers through our bio cards that are also found around the shop. Shoppers also always comment on the shop’s light. We have big windows that bathe the store in bright afternoon light.
HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH ANTHONY ZOLLO FOR THE SHELVING IN THE SHOP COME ABOUT?
Anthony Zollo’s woodworking is amazing. I always envisioned Tictail Market having exposed wood featured throughout the space, creating a Swedish and simple feeling. I’ve always admired Anthony’s work, and collaborating with him was such a fun process.
WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WHEN IT CAME TO DESIGNING THE SHOP? WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THE CONCEPTS AND DESIGN?
Our head of design Dan Blackman worked really closely with Anthony Zollo to make the layout really special. The aesthetic is super Swedish with the clean white lines contrasted with beautifully crafted woodwork. Our biggest challenge was making the space feel airy while at the same time being able to showcase as many brands as possible. In order to maintain that fresh feeling, we change the items in our store on a weekly basis and rotate the spotlight to different designers at a time. I’m consistently blown away by how each time I walk into the store, there is a completely new assortment of brands and products on display. It’s a reminder that Tictail Market really is a living, breathing representation of Tictail.com.
WE HEARD YOUR MOM HAS AN AMAZING SHOP ON TICTAIL!
My mom was actually the first brand on Tictail. In many ways it is because of my mom that Tictail is even a company. Backtrack five years, my mom was deciding to quit her day job to pursue her art full-time. She started a porcelain brand called By Mutti, where she creates authentic, Chinese-style porcelain printed with Americana tattoos. I’m biased, but I’m a huge fan 🙂
It was in watching my mom decide to pursue her passion project; to see her want to build an online business but not have any of the technical skills to create an online presence, that we realized there was a huge gap in the market. There was a need to democratize ecommerce and to give emerging brands the opportunity to easily and beautifully build an online business.
It’s so inspiring to watch my mom’s company grow in tandem with Tictail’s growth. To see in four years how she has built a following of dedicated shoppers, she is supporting herself fully from her art and she is reaching a global audience of shoppers. She’s also getting amazing press and has her pieces in cool bars and restaurants around the world. I am so proud of her!
THERE IS SUCH A SPOTLIGHT ON THE MAKERS BOTH ON THE ONLINE SHOP AND IN THE STORE. WHY WAS THAT SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Tictail serves independent brands and gives them a true voice and personal connection with the people they are selling to. There would be no Tictail without our brands, and we knew going into creating our store that we needed to have a major focus on that. The bio wall at the back of the store is a focal point for everyone who first walks in, and that was no doubt intentional in the design and build out of the space.
THE MURAL OUTSIDE THE SHOP IS SO COOL. HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO PARTNER WITH ARTISTS IN THIS WAY AND WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE COLLABORATIONS SO FAR?
Having an ever-changing mural wall was a part of our original concept for a brick-and-mortar, and it’s so fun to see it come to life! There’s so much great art on the walls of New York City of which we’re a tiny portion of, but we represent a greater global group of independent artists. Our team is very close to our community and in constant contact with brands from all over. We don’t have a specific way to choose who is featured, we rely on a more organic process where every month a new artist is selected. We usually throw a fun party at the shop to celebrate that artist’s entrance onto the streets of New York.
HOW OFTEN DOES THE MERCHANDISE IN THE STORE CHANGE OVER?
Things in the shop are changed weekly, but we like to give Tictail Market a big shift in product every month, while keeping the same aesthetic throughout. Since we have over 2.5 million products on the site, we like to give shoppers a chance to buy and browse as much as possible.
WHAT ARE A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE (OR MOST RECENTLY ADDED!) BRANDS YOU SELL (OR HAVE SOLD) IN THE SHOP?
- Whoa, this one is hard for me. I don’t have any favorites but I am actually in the process of redesigning my apartment in the East Village and am shopping almost solely on Tictail! Here are some recent brands I’ve been shopping:
- Rug by Gur. All the rugs are handmade in Portugal and beautiful. Iif you don’t want to step on them, they make for a quirky wall-hanging.
- Alexander Kaygin’s Tictail store is filled with sleek statement pieces. They get people talking at a dinner party.
- Evan Z. Crane. I can browse Evan’s Tictail store for hours and not be bored. He makes really unique furniture that can elevate any room.
- Tiffanie Delune’s French kitchenware feels so fun and fresh right now. I’m excited to sip out of their pineapple cups this summer.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE TO FOLLOW ON TICTAIL?
- Anna Decilveo, our merchandiser, spends so much time browsing through popular and new Tictail products, and she is constantly on the pulse of what’s trending in different countries around the globe. Follow her to see what’s cool before everyone else.
- Zanita not only has impeccable personal style, but she’s also a talented photographer who has a Tictail shop of her own. I love checking in to see what stores she’s newly following.
- TopGirl Studio has her own Tictail brand and an amazingly curated selection of liked products and stores on her profile page. She does a great job of connecting with her customers and you can see that through the amount of engaged followers she has.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF TICTAIL?
I’ve always been very vocal about the value in ecommerce, and I have big plans for Tictail’s future. I want Tictail to become the most treasured platform to shop on, where you know you will be able to discover something truly unique.
We want to see brilliant designers and artists seek out Tictail, knowing that being apart of our community helps with brand awareness, marketing education, and attracting a global shopping audience.
We want our Lower East Side store (and who knows, maybe a few more in 2017) to be a destination for local residents and travelers alike to walk through the doors of the shop and be totally immersed in our brands, our aesthetic, and our mission.