Via Forbes : Meet The Millennials Reinventing Retail And E-Commerce
Between them, they’ve raised millions of dollars in venture funding. They’ve built game-changing e-commerce platforms, apps, and bots. They’ve launched exciting new products across categories as varied as upscale denim, healthy pet food, and nontoxic lube. They’re pioneers of the subscription economy. They’re figuring out what a transparent supply chain looks like in the age of mobile shopping. And they range in age from just 19 to 29.
Meet the retail and e-commerce 30 Under 30 class of 2017, as chosen from a long-list by our judges Alli Webb, founder of blowout chain Drybar; Toni Ko, founder of NYX Cosmetics and one of America’s Richest Self-Made Women; Jennifer Hyman, cofounder of fashion tech giant Rent the Runway; and alumna judge Tyler Haney of hot athletic apparel startup Outdoor Voices, one of the standouts on the 2016 list.
Many of this year’s crop of impressive young entrepreneurs started a business to solve their own problem. Take 28-year-old Emily Motayed. When she cofounded Havenly with her older sister Lee Mayer in 2013, she didn’t know much about interior design — other than that she couldn’t afford it.
After moving into her first “big-girl” apartment in New York, she discovered that traditional interior designers weren’t interested in working within her modest budget. Working with a roster of more than 200 freelance interior designers, Havenly charges a flat fee that tops out at $199 per room.
The Denver-based e-commerce platform also sells furniture, allowing shoppers to buy a whole Instagram-ready look, from a chic coffee table (candles and all) to an entire dorm room. In three years Motayed and Mayer have grown Havenly’s team from 2 to 60 and raised $13.3 million in funding.
As the daughter of Indian parents, Motayed is one of 19 members of this year’s retail and e-commerce Under 30 list who is either an immigrant or a first generation American.
“I think it always goes back to family,” Motayed said. “My father’s an entrepreneur. He was an immigrant, and came here with very little. You see someone who can take these business ideas and constantly think about them and apply complex solutions. That’s how I grew up.”
One of this year’s most impressive list members is Sudan-born Muhga Eltigani, a 24-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate who decided to forego law school to work full-time with cofounder (and fellow Under 30 honoree) Sam Roberts on their startup NaturAll Club, a subscription e-commerce company selling hair products geared towards women of color or those with curlier hair types.
NaturAll Club was, until recently, fully bootstrapped; the two secured capital to grow towards the end of 2016. “It took an agonizing first year of trials and tribulations and a great many deals that did not go through,” Eltigani said. “But we prospered and we’re looking forward to this win.”
Some of this year’s Under 30s have found success at the confluence of social media and retail. There’s Amber Venz Box, the 29-year-old behind LikeToKnow.It. In 2014, she launched the only ready-to-shop consumer service on Instagram, allowing users to click through from the photo app to e-commerce sites, buying clothes worn by favorite celebs or from a brand’s curated feed. LikeToKnow.It now generates over $150 million in sales annually.
Our youngest list member, 19-year-old Kylie Jenner, has managed to parlay her reality stardom into a makeup line that appears to be anything but fly-by-night. Kylie Cosmetics has gone from strength to strength, with each incarnation of her $29 Lip Kits selling out upon release. Sources close to the teenager suggest the glosses did 7 figures in revenues in 2016 alone. (Per Forbes’ estimates, she was the second-highest annual earner overall in her family in 2016, after half-sister Kim Kardashian.)