Introducing the Italic Membership: A Q&A With Our CEO, Jeremy Cai
Get to know the new Italic with our Founder & CEO, Jeremy.
- Can you explain the concept behind Italic?
Italic is a membership that grants access to unparalleled quality and pricing. Our members can shop over 800+ products made by the same manufacturers and with the same materials as leading high-end brands, and they can buy it all at cost. It’s a radically new approach to the high-quality, beautifully designed pieces for your closet, home, kitchen, and beyond.
2. What made you want to start the Italic membership?
The membership allows us to break out from the cookie-cutter mold of online brands that sell products directly to consumers and instead set a significantly more compelling and radical pricing strategy that undercuts all competitors in the market during a time when customers are seeking value above all else.
Our incentives have become aligned with our members, as we do not make money on product sales but instead on focusing on customer happiness and reducing churn. Our manufacturers still make much more than their traditional wholesale orders with Italic. It’s a win-win for both.
By removing the need for brands, retails, and distributors in our supply chain, we’re pioneering a new model of retail that lets us offer a solution that’s better for everyone—and for us, that’s always been the goal.
3. What do you wish to change in the world of retail?
Italic exists to build a better model of retail for manufacturers and consumers.
The retail industry is facing a moment of reckoning, where the relationship between brands and consumers is being redefined. With every new brand introduced, it erodes the loyalty customers have to any specific brand at large. But at the same time, a compelling message, mission, or brand story is more powerful than ever before. The things we buy are no longer just products—they’re a reflection of our values. And with the power of the internet in addition to traditional outlets, consumers are armed with more information than ever before.
Italic has the opportunity to pioneer a true, direct-from-manufacturer model, where we take brands out of the equation in the same way that the recent generation of direct-to-consumer brands removed retailers and fulfill the original promise of online commerce.
4. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Our greatest challenge now is keeping enough inventory in stock and deepening our relationships with our vendors. All manufacturers are used to working with a different system, one where brands pay for the products as soon as they come off of the machines. Since our new model doesn’t have an upfront payment built in, the financial risk for our partners is higher but so is the potential upside.
We’re also working against everything that our customers have been trained to believe about how retail works, from who they buy from to how much they have to pay for top quality. We’ve heard a lot that Italic seems too good to be true, so we have a long road of brand education ahead of us.
5. You began with luxury handbags and bedding, what else is in the pipeline for products/ expansion?
Everything in the realm of quality goods. Our dream is to expand Italic into as many categories as possible, so our members can have access to well-made products to improve every facet of their life. We’re developing new products and categories at all times, but right now we’re excited to start introducing products across fitness, luggage, outdoor gear, pet gear, dinnerware and kitchen tools, comforters, and jewelry.
6. What does success look like in 5 years?
The most radical part of our new model is that it lets us prioritize our members, and lets us define our own success by how happy they are with Italic, and how many of them return time and time again. Success looks like millions of satisfied members who love Italic and see us as the best destination to save money on the best products in the world.