Retail storefront startup Bulletin on Friday announced the June opening of its third New York City location.
The location, in a corridor known as the Ladies' Mile District in the heart of the city's Union Square neighborhood, will host merchandise from more than 60 female-led brands, according to a company press release.
Bulletin, which debuted in 2014 as a small, digital magazine that featured internet-based brands, is a venture-backed, Y Combinator startup with three physical stores in New York City and plans for more.
Bulletin is seizing on the new conundrums that have emerged in a retail environment where pure-play e-commerce is falling short and traditional brick-and-mortar is being forced to evolve. The company offers leasing opportunities to startup retailers and e-commerce companies, without the pressure of traditional leases, and last year raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Flybridge, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Afore Capital, Tim Draper, Kevin Hale, Y Combinator and Liquid 2 Ventures.
The model is neither wholesale nor consignment, but rather a new "retail membership model" where brands pay a low fee to sell in-store and take a higher commission on their product sales. Each member brand "rents" retail shelf space to host its product in stores and benefits from real-time sales data, according to a press release. About 150 brands can be found at its three stores and online, most of them small businesses owned by women.
That makes its Union Square location particularly symbolic. According to the company, the Ladies' Mile District in New York was an upscale retail hub in the 19th century, where women could shop without men for the first time, but Bulletin plans to give the district a new meaning.
"With its flagship space, Bulletin is reclaiming and redefining this landmark retail hub," the company said in its release. "Where Ladies' Mile has historically represented exclusivity, wealth and economic dependence on men, Bulletin's new flagship store values inclusivity, accessibility and financial independence."
In a joint statement, Co-Founders Ali Kriegsman and Alana Branston called the Ladies' Mile location a turning point. "We are building a brand that reimagines what physical retail looks like in the 21st century given the rise of platforms like Amazon and Instagram," they said. "The Union Square flagship is a huge milestone for Bulletin and the future of retail."