zulily case study


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Read why online retailer zulily chose to locate in the Columbus Region.

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zulily case study

  1. 1. Case Study ZULILY BACKGROUND Mark Vadon and Darrell Cavens started zulily more than three years ago. As new dads shopping for their children at big box retailers and boutiques, they realized there was a gap in the market – an opportunity to provide moms with boutique brands at value. Using their experience growing the successful online diamond retailer Blue Nile, they launched zulily to bridge the gap. “This concept is revolutionizing today’s modern shopping culture,” said Lori Twomey, chief merchant, zulily. “zulily places daily deals at customers’ fingertips – in particular moms – streamlining the shopping experience to save moms’ time, as well as money. Its one-stop-shop format gives consumers direct access to a wide range of unique boutique products that can’t always be found in one place.” Twomey said another reason zulily is transforming online shopping is its direct email approach. Consumers can buy one item, and zulily will remember the buyer’s preferences, allowing targeted emails to be distributed daily to the customer. With more than 10 million members – and 40 percent of purchases coming from mobile devices – zulily has grown significantly in just over three years. “Moms are our focus and we want to provide them with an accessible way to discover exclusive, boutique products,” said Twomey. “zulily carries well-loved brands that you can’t find in a Walmart or Babies “R” Us – like Crocs, Keen, Dr. Seuss, Mud Pie and Spanx – and even more exciting ones to discover. All of these brands offer a variety of apparel, toys, home goods and more.” ABOUT ZULILY zulily is a leader in the children’s retail market, offering unique and sought-after boutique brands for moms, babies and kids at discounts of up to 70 percent off retail prices. Based in Seattle, Wash., and formed by retail and e-commerce veterans from Blue Nile, Provide Commerce and Eddie Bauer, the zulily team helps busy moms find high-quality apparel, gear, toys and more well-known brands such as Crocs, phil & teds, Corky & Co, Melissa & Doug to unique brands such as Baby Nay, Kate Quinn Organics and Lex Modern. Membership is free, and zulily sales launch daily, filled with quality clothing, toys, décor and more. INTRODUCTION Home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune 1000 companies, one of the largest universities in the United States and more than 600 international firms, the Columbus Region is an ideal place to start, run and grow a business. The 11-county area of the Columbus Region is within one day’s drive of nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population. Columbus 2020, the Region’s economic development organization, is focused on leveraging these strengths to ignite growth and to build a healthier, more sustainable future for the area. The Region’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and support system are the catalysts behind countless business success stories. Lori Twomey
  2. 2. With this modern way of shopping, the company continues to grow. In its short history, zulily has attracted millions of members and hired more than 700 employees in four different locations – most recently in the Columbus Region. The company’s latest fulfillment facility opened in Obetz in February 2012. WHY THE COLUMBUS REGION? With headquarters in Seattle and offices in Reno and London, zulily was looking for a way to expand into the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic markets. After careful evaluation of cities in those markets, the company decided to add a fourth location in the Columbus Region, specifically Obetz. “We chose the Columbus Region because we needed some place where we could fulfill orders quickly,” said Twomey. “The Columbus 2020 economic development team was able to address our company’s needs and issues in a timely fashion, as well as offer the assets required for a fulfillment operation to succeed – like ease of access to customers, cost and quality of labor, favorable tax climate and logistics infrastructure.” In addition to Columbus 2020’s assistance and the Region’s location benefits, Twomey says the state, county and local businesses helped zulily pursue aggressive growth plans and experience a smooth transition process in the Region. The company also recognizes Columbus’ value as a hub for retailers. “We believe that having an office in the Columbus Region has provided talented merchants a great place to work and build their business,” added Twomey. “Having a location in Columbus has provided me the opportunity to expand my merchandising team, which means we have more buyers working with more brands on a daily basis. Ultimately, this allows us to deliver more great products to moms, which is our top priority.” LOOKING FORWARD zulily plans to continue to grow its business, and sees the Columbus Region as a partner in that expansion. “We plan to add several hundred jobs to the Region over the course of five years,” said Twomey. “We will continue to keep our focus on mom and the needs she has for her kids, her home and herself. We want to strive to reach new moms and bring them the brands they love, as well as help them discover new brands.” columbusregion.com “We chose the Columbus Region because we needed some place where we could fulfill orders quickly... The Columbus 2020 economic development team was able to address our company’s needs and issues in a timely fashion...” — Lori Twomey