Building Europe’s most Sustainable Product Marketplace with Veo’s Joe Darwen (episode 380)

Joe Darwen is the founder of Veo – Europe’s most sustainable online shopping destination. It’s a marketplace with over 200 independent brands selling over 50,000 unique products across Fashion, Beauty, Food, Drink, and Home! Started in 2019 they’ve been perfecting their model and the technology that powers it, and re-launched the ‘final’ version in September 2021 and are growing 30% month on month.

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Joe’s eCommerce Journey

When he was younger, Joe already dabbled in eCommerce by signing up in eBay to sell CDs and DVDs.

Fast forward to seven years ago, he worked for the Department of International Trade or UKTI where they ran a program helping SMEs and businesses increase their eCommerce sales by cross-bordering trading. They partnered with the likes of eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, and other platforms.

Those experiences got him started on his eCommerce journey and in marketplaces.

About Veo World

  • Based in Manchester, UK
  • Sells worldwide but is currently focused on doing marketing in the UK for the next 12 months
  • Strategies for internationalization to follow

The Team

Veo World does everything in-house.

They’re a team of 10, and they cover various responsibilities such as software development, brand relationship management, and marketing.

Why A Marketplace?

Joe says the idea of starting a marketplace came from his desire to shop sustainably, which was hard because he couldn’t find what he wanted.

He also adds that a problem consumers have is sustainability fatigue and not knowing where to go. So having a platform that does the research for you and brings everything in one place is an added value for any consumer.

Veo’s Three Pillars

Joe mentions the three pillars Veo stands on:

  • Kind – promoting dignity and quality of life for all humans and animals
  • Healthy – living free from toxins, harmful ingredients, and hazardous substances
  • Sustainable – promoting planet awareness, sustainability, and biodiversity

They try to get a balance across all three, as these factors are what they perceive sustainability to encompass.

Maintaining The Standards

For Joe, it’s a continuous challenge to maintain the standards they have and the trust marks they’ve been given, including being a certified B Corporation and the #1 ethical retailer on the Ethical Consumer scoreboard.

But because it’s part of their DNA as a company, it’s vital to their daily activities. 

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Joe says partnership, outreach, and collaboration and leveraging on each other’s audiences.

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

Collaboration is a good thing for growth because it allows you to leverage audiences from aligned brands and organizations.

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