Mariam Naficy is something of an e-commerce business veteran.
In 1988, she launched her first venture, the cosmetics retailer Eve.com. Two years later, she sold it to IdeaLab for $110 million. It wasn't until much later that she founded Minted, a retail site that crowdsources stationary, art, and textile designs from a global network of independent artists.
To date, the company has raised an enviable $89 million in venture capital from notable investors such as Julia Hartz and Marissa Mayer. Over time, Minted has expanded by partnering up with a handful of well-known third-party retailers, like West Elm and Domino Magazine. The success of the company doesn't stop there.
Today, Minted announced its expansion into the $100 billion home décor sector, with as many as 42,000 unique products now available for on-demand purchase. Currently, these items include pillows and curtains. Over the next two weeks, Minted will roll out lamp shades and table linens. Prices range from as little as $39 for an 18" x 18" pillow and insert to $240 for high-end luxury designs.
The wait time is on the more conservative end, though. Once you place an order, you can expect to receive your item within four weeks.
"In home [goods], there was a huge blank canvas for our international community of independent designers to apply their talent to," Naficy tells Inc. She notes that home goods are a much more feasible extension for the company than, say, jewelry, since its network of designers hail primarily from packaging and illustration backgrounds.
With this latest expansion, Naficy says that Minted is on the cusp of solving a unique and very 21st-century problem in the realm of e-commerce: "People really care more and more about home décor because they're being educated by visual social media platforms as to what's possible. Without a stylist or decorator, however, oftentimes they can't actually get the products that they want," she explains. "It's sort of like having your face pressed up against the glass."
Minted is setting out to turn those window shoppers into retail customers. "Given [our] breadth of designers around the world, you have a huge amount of custom options," she says. That said, an exclusive find on Pinterest can actually become a reality in your living room. That variety is possible, at least in part, because Minted doesn't house inventory.
Naficy anticipates that the home goods market will come with is own unique set of "hidden supply chain challenges." On-demand manufacturing is much more complex than the standard "pick and pack" method of filling orders. It requires workers to adapt to screen-renderings.
The CEO and founder notes that Minted has already dealt with pain points such as shipping large art frames internationally, and producing enough stationary during "peak" business times (i.e., the holidays).
Still, the pay off is likely to big, given the sheer number of unique trends available on the platform, and as consumers test out their own creative chops. "I'm seeing a lot of painterly fabrics," Naficy says, nodding to illustrations and water colors on curtains.
She hints that future verticals -- like apparel, or creating written content to pair with those designs -- may soon be in the works.