New York is arguably the natural capital for fashion, beauty and lifestyle technology startups, building upon the Big Apple's legacy as the fashion capital of the world (yes, ahead of Paris, Milan, and London), not to mention New York's role in the media, advertising and publishing industries too. Just to focus on fashion for a moment: according to the Fashion NYC 2020 report issued in 2015 by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) approximately 900 fashion companies are headquartered in New York City and the city is the largest retail market in the country, generating more than $15 billion in annual sales. New York City's fashion industry pays nearly $11 billion in wages and generates almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year. Then there is buzz and glamour of the runway and industry galas: trade shows, showrooms, and fashion shows attract more than half a million visitors annually to New York City.
According to a statement on the economic impact of the fashion industry issued by the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress in 2015:
[New York] Fashion Week generates close to $900 million in total economic impact each year, including an estimated $532 million in direct visitor spending...The economic benefit from Fashion Week surpasses events such as the New York City Marathon ($340 million), the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey (about $550 million), and the U.S. Open ($800 million).
Tech industry insiders now feel that New York City's pre-eminent role in the fashion world should be extended more broadly to ecommerce companies too. And they may not be wrong. Think about it: category leaders in ecommerce, such as Birchbox, Blue Apron, ClassPass and Casper, are all Silicon Alley companies. The website NYC Startups (a site that maps the best and newest startups based in the city) lists 828 ecommerce startups. Definitely an indicator that something big is strongly going on in the ecommerce space in Silicon Alley. Plus the innovation behind category leaders in that large ecosystem is something to brag about too.
And collectively brag about the accomplishments of the New York ecommerce community is what a group of startup founders intend to do.
New York Hearts Tech is an initiative bringing Silicon Alley's trailblazing innovators together to position the Alley as the powerhouse of e-commerce and create the first mega-brand startup community. Brands on board span from early-stage startups to mega-brand ones, and are (in alphabetical order): Adore Me, BaubleBar, Beltology, Birchbox, Blue Apron, Casper, ClassPass, Foursquare, Gilt, Gilt City, GlamSquad, Gwynnie Bee, Handy, Jet, Minibar, Nineteenth Amendment, THINX, Try the World, and Tula. Startups that could arguably scale their businesses anywhere, but strategically choose New York City.
For additional bragging rights: over 50% of these participating companies have a female founder or co-founder.
Building upon the ecosystem's hyper-competitive but deeply supportive culture, these e-commerce startups are proactively banding together to galvanize the Silicon Alley e-commerce startup community, to encourage disruptors and innovators in the space to engage further, sharing their experiences and resources to advance all members of the community. They are also taking this opportunity to raise awareness with shoppers and consumers--who aren't necessarily aware that so many companies that impact their daily lives--innovators that have redefined how they shop, cook, eat, sleep, dress, do their hair & makeup, clean their homes, etc.--all stem from New York.
Driving business and more community support are just some of the reasons these founders are committing their names to the New York Hearts Tech initiative:
Adore Me VP Business & Brand Development, Sharon Klapka: "Adore Me is very proud to be both sponsor and participating brand of New York Hearts Tech. Putting together such a strong community of startups with revolutionary businesses and disruptive DNAs is something that we are incredibly proud of. We have no doubt that a community where Silicon Alley e-commerce startups can exchange insights, learning and ideas, would help inspire and drive forward each of the individual businesses involved."
Nineteenth Amendment Cofounder/COO, Gemma Sole: "We joined NYHT because it's an amazing group of companies, but more importantly, it's the great people behind the companies that make it what it is. It all goes back to community and who you surround yourselves with to push your company forward."
Minibar Delivery Co-Founder, Lara Crystal: "We are friendly with many of the partners involved in NYHT and are excited to help support one another and the NY tech scene as a whole."
Beltology Chief Beltologist, Andrew Heffernan: "Cooperating with like minded people is a key part to how we operate our business."
Foursquare Editor-at-Large, Sarah Spagnolo: "Foursquare started as a NYC-based company and the city is part of our DNA. We are proud to be involved in the New York Hearts Tech initiative in support of all types of businesses thriving in Silicon Alley, and we love that our recommendations into where people go for romance will be included in the NYHT Valentine's Day microsite."
Casper co-founder and CEO, Philip Krim: "Until recently, New York startups were viewed as second tier. But the city has the ideal confluence of variables for entrepreneurship--talented people, an abundance of human challenges to solve, investors, and 10 million consumers happy to give feedback. New York startups also benefit from operating in a hyper-competitive city where only the best companies stand out."
BaubleBar co-founder, Daniella Yacobovsky: "While separately we're all achieving great things, together we are creating a new age of business and influencing the next generation of consumers. Regardless of industry - fashion, beauty, food, etc., we have the combined influence and local economic impact to improve New York City's future and NYHT helps channel that power."
Jet VP of Marketing, Sumaiya Balbale: "We're honored to join so many great brands in a collaborative effort to highlight the strength and influence of the New York startup community."
Gwynnie Bee founder & CEO, Christine Hunsicker: "Community is super important to us and is a core part of our mission. We're firm believers in supporting and sharing knowledge with our fellow partners. We're excited to be part of this innovative group of companies putting NYC on the technology map."
Handy co-founder, Oisin Hanrahan: "It represents an amazing opportunity to collaboratively showcase what makes NY-based tech concepts unique and relevant."
Check out New York Hearts Tech, launching on February 8th. Twenty New York City e-commerce brands have put forward a Valentine's Day-themed product or service on the dedicated website. They are also giving back the love to the shoppers with a sweepstake to win the ultimate NY-branded goodie bag.