Nineteenth Amendment’s Amanda Curtis on building a designer fashion marketplace from scratch (episode 052)

Amanda Curtis is the CEO and cofounder of Nineteenth Amendment, recently named in Forbes 30 under 30 in retail and eCommerce. Nineteenth Amendment is an online only boutique introducing new designers to the world, it’s been live for almost one year, but the tech took about 18 months before that to build and test, they are currently working with over 400 designers from 29 different countries.

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Amanda Curtis of Nineteenth Amendment
About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
  • Product Range Scale – niche
  • On a completely bespoke platform
  • 6 people in the business
  • The manufacturing is outsourced
  • Based in the US, sell globally
  • Key widgets in the website:

Listen to hear how Amanda Curtis got started in eCommerce

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

Amanda is really impressed by how quickly the business has grown to the size it is. In less than a year they have already negotiated a partnership with, the world’s largest fashion goods retailer, Macy’s Inc. Amanda sees this as a sign of the business’ huge potential – people are hearing about Nineteenth Amendment without the business having to spend money on traditional marketing campaigns.

Listen to hear more about developing a marketplace

On the Radar for the Coming Months

Amanda is really excited about the debut of her omnichannel experience – the first ever public shopable fashion event. During New York Fashion Week people will be able to come and try on clothing and meet the designers – but for those not in New York – they will be able to have the same experience online. Amanda plans to hold similar events all over the world.

Top Tips for Creating a Marketplace:

Before starting any work on the Nineteenth Amendment website, Amanda consulted with the designers that she hoped would use the site. The site was built completely around the designers needs with a back end that was capable of effectively managing the link between purchasing and manufacturing.

Nineteenth Amendment don’t hold any inventory – they are an extremely lean company – everything that is ordered is produced there is no minimum order value/number. Amanda recognises that holding stock and potentially having to mark it down damages both the designers and the Nineteenth Amendment brand.

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

eCommerce Book Top Tip

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

Amanda has found that traditional newspaper and magazine placement – both paid and PR – have given Nineteenth Amendment not only more traffic but more conversions then any other method.

Tool Top Tip

The Nineteenth Amendment team use a combination of Asana and Trello to keep organised.  Amanda finds that Trello is great because it is very visual but for larger projects Asana helps to keep everyone on the same page.

Start Up Top Tip

Amanda recommends that before you do anything, you ensure there is an actual need for what you are thinking about creating – don’t just build something and hope that people will come.

If your business didn’t exist, which eCommerce Business Would you like to be Running?

If Amanda was to choose another eCommerce business to run it would be a business in the Beauty Space – she feels this sector is fascinating and can be even more personalised than fashion. Offline Amanda would return to her roots as a fashion designer and be trying to find ways to get her designs out there.

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