Marketplaces offer the ease and convenience of finding everything you need in one location. Columbus-based Be Well Marketplace is designing an online platform that does just that for the beauty and wellness industries with a focus on business to business transactions. Looking to launch in January of 2015, the website targets three distinct market segments.
BeWellMarketplace.com provides a centralized marketplace that Founder Loren Stone says, “Combines a network for buyers and brands within the beauty, wellness and eco-friendly industries for professionals and consumers.”
Users can discover, search, connect and buy through each of the distinctive websites. Brands have social profiles that share basic information including their story, media content and social media streams. Search filters allow businesses to find products specific to their needs quickly and conveniently. Once they find what they need, customers can order through the marketplace. Stone says they also provide third-party logistics, distribution and warehouse services.
With the impending launch, Be Well Marketplace is still searching for additional partners.
“A business that focuses on B2B in the beauty and wellness industry is our focus,” Stone says. “Our focus is on the emerging brands, but that can be a new company or existing company. We see a need for businesses needing help to scale and providing services and a platform for them to connect. That way they can focus on their business.”
Businesses can request to be listed in the marketplace. Stone says they then do an interview with each business to make sure it’s a good fit and determine which marketplace they should sell under.
The concept originally started with just one market segment – TheSpaMarketplace.com. After 18 months and millions of dollars of successful orders, Stone realized they had a scaleable concept. And, while there is a lot of overlap in products, nuances called for separate marketplaces. Now, Be Well Marketplace encompasses three distinct brands.
- – Spa industry brands and buyers – products and services for resorts, hotels, destinations, mineral springs, clubs and day spas (e.g. skincare, bath, body)
- – Aesthetics and beauty brands and buyers – pharmaceutical and cosmetic skincare products and services from salons, spas, medical offices and schools (e.g. microderm, antiaging, rosacea)
- – Green/Eco health and wellness brands and buyers – environmentally responsible products and services for resorts, hotels, destinations, mineral springs, clubs and day spas (e.g. skincare, bath, body).
Stone is eager to get Columbus-based businesses involved in the marketplace.
“I have particular interest to help Columbus businesses in our marketplaces,” he says. “We have some programs that are specific to Columbus and we are anxious to roll them out in 2015.”
He also very deliberately chose Columbus as the location. As many other businesses have found, Columbus’s central location makes it great for distribution, and “I want to build a company that Columbus will be proud of, and to bring jobs and work with other Columbus companies to succeed together,” Stone says.
Ramping up business hasn’t been without it’s challenges.
“I know there are more resources out there to help us get there, but the challenge is finding them,” Stone says. “Columbus is a leading city for entrepreneur’s new business, and I want to make sure we continue to take advantage of this.”
Recently, Be Well Marketplace was also internationally recognized at a conference in Dublin, Ireland. The company was chosen as an “outstanding startup and “incredible” global entrepreneur” by Web Summit.
“The sheer ability to connect with global leaders of industry, investors, potential partners and to learn in that environment was beyond expectations,” Stone says of the summit. “We gained many strategic alignments and connections to help us reach our goals.”
He credits that networking, that ability to connect with others, as a main building block for his business.
“As a startup and entrepreneur you have to decide daily the risks and direction to move your business interests forward,” Stone says. “I have found the greatest risks with the highest returns have been expanding the network, developing relationships and just going for it. Some of strongest and rewarding decisions have been as a result of putting yourself out there.”
For more information, visit bewellmarketplace.com.