Internet entrepreneur is ready to match women with just the right cosmetics [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]By Kathleen Gallagher, Milwaukee Journal SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Aug. 18--Jalem Getz, an entrepreneur who grew BuySeasons.com from nothing into a $160 million company, has started what he says could be an even bigger winner.
Getz on Sunday is launching wantable.co, an e-commerce company that will develop style profiles for women, and then present them with cosmetic packages tailored to their look.
Here's how it works: A woman fills out a survey about her preferences and, based on the responses, is put into a style category such as "Rock Rebel" or "Top Trend Setter." She is then offered a customized box containing seven full-size cosmetic products for $40.
The boxes will be offered four times a year and have a retail value of up to $130.
"We are the Match.com for beauty products. Our job is to introduce people to brands that we know they will love so they can become advocates. And our responsibility to customers is to show them only the things we believe they will like," Getz said.
Getz started BuySeasons in 1999 to sell Halloween costumes online rather than through typical paper catalogs. His goal -- which he accomplished -- was to build a $100 million company in 10 years or less.
Getz's new business does what's called "curated e-commerce," where sellers offer products tailored to individual buyers. Wantable will launch an app for cellphones and tablets Sunday, and a website will follow within several months. Customers are required to use their Facebook accounts to register; their Facebook information will be used in their Wantable profiles and help the company understand more about who they are, Getz said.
Getz says his goal is to build a new type of e-commerce company, one that could have $1 billion in sales in 10 years. He expects growth to come from a combination of adding more customers and new categories of products.
To achieve $1 billion in retail sales, the firm would require 25 million transactions a year for a $40 product, said Tim Keane, managing director of Keane D'Souza Venture Capital LLC.
That goal could be reached because Getz is a proven entrepreneur, Keane said.
"You can't argue with success. He's the guy who made that thing work," Keane said.
Getz not only started BuySeasons, he continued to grow it after the company was acquired by Liberty Media in 2006, said Jeff Rusinow, who initially funded BuySeasons. When Getz left BuySeasons in 2010, it had more than $160 million of revenue, Getz said.
Getz understands how to sell with social media and the Internet, and he is very good at keeping customer acquisition costs in check, said Rusinow, a private investor who previously was an executive for Kohl's Corp.
Wantable has potential for recurring revenue if customers buy the cosmetic packages on a regular basis, Rusinow said.
Getz has personally funded Wantable so far.
Taking his steps
The idea for the company didn't come easily.
After leaving BuySeasons, Getz started Hopscotch, which used video chat to provide a sort of speed dating for affinity groups. Then he started Siide.com, which runs an online job marketplace.
Ultimately, Getz concluded that he was most passionate about Wantable and curated e-commerce because of its personalized sales approach.
"Gone are the things you don't want; gone are the walks down the aisles of products for other people," Getz said.
In the first six months of this year, 74 million pieces of makeup were sold, according to NPD Group Inc. And 45 million American smartphone owners accessed their shopping apps an average of more than 17 times in June, a Nielsen survey said earlier this month.
Molly Reno says she has scoured many online cosmetic sites, but found mostly overpriced products and small sample sizes. Wantable's products are full size and reasonably priced, work together and fit her personal style, said Reno, a Chicago-based fashion shoot stylist who has been beta testing the Wantable site.
"They did a good job of getting all different aspects of who women are," Reno said.
Wantable is an ambitious plan, but having Getz at the helm should help it move forward, said Teresa Esser, managing director of the Silicon Pastures angel investing network.
"He's exactly what angel investors look for -- a serial entrepreneur who did it well before and is excited to do it again," she said.
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