The sneaker marketplace Wethenew is expanding its hunting ground

You started dating your partner while you were studying. Did you benefit from the support of certain programs or were you accompanied by structures?

Financially we are fortunate to have parents who financed our studies so we did not have to pay back a loan, which enabled us to take out a loan of 20,000 euros to start the company. Thanks to this capital, we were able to keep the company running for 18 months.

When setting up the project, we already had through our studies (MAster in management at Audencia, Editor’s note). We have always tried to be as independent as possible through self-learning.

Therefore we have never integrated an incubator or accelerator. We really tried to take a fairly simple business as a reading prism. We decided to start very down to earth. Our task was to find a product and provide a good service. We went with a simple concept, with a company that generates money as soon as it sells a product.

You’ve built your notoriety on your ability to sell sneakers that were made in limited quantities and are therefore rare. How do you get your supplies?

We only sell new products that appear on the web or in stores, which means they are never sold again after that.

Our website consists of two different parts. When a customer matters, they can access photos and product information. We will also offer various services such as payment by installments.

On our site, we will buy sneakers from a seller who deposits his sneakers or clothes in the marketplace part. This system allows us to have a single price per side, per size and per brand. When the seller offers his product, he receives a delivery note, a sales receipt. We collect the product to authenticate it and then deliver it.

We have different types of sellers: casual sellers who enter raffles and sell a few pairs, then resellers who are semi-professional and professional.

They present themselves as a trusted third party. How do you ensure this authentication?

We authenticate the product to ensure it is not counterfeit. You should know that the cheaper the pair, the lower the quality of the fake. The more expensive the pair, the better the fake. Above 200 euros it is important to go through an authentication.

We train our employees for this. We have built an internal database containing photos and texts with the different points to look out for in a pair of sneakers: the stitching, the label, the materials, the packaging. From the best sellers, we have a pair in stock for you to check out.

What strategies did you use to get yourself known?

In the beginning we looked for our core target group, namely people who like these products and who have the financial means to buy them. We first thought of football players. We selected all Ligue 1 teams and sent them DMs on Instagram. Back then we sold a pair or two a day. A month later we met the Ivorian selection who came to France for a week of preparation. They had to stay at the hotel between training sessions, so we took the opportunity to show them our products. We arrived with 25 plastic bags and sold 5,000 euros worth of products in one day. In the beginning you have to be inventive.

Then we started creating content on our own Instagram account, doing one story a day, then four. We have also tried to reply to all DMs and all comments. And we will continue to follow this guideline. Then we invested some money in internet advertising. We tested different things on Facebook, Instagram, etc. You need to test and see if there are potential customers to seek out. We then decided to reach out to the barber shops, who agreed to put up displays in their shops for a small commission on the pairs sold.

We also did a lot of SEO work to be well referenced. First you do things that take a lot of time, and when you’re famous it’s the other way around. Today, much of our acquisition occurs naturally. We have also created our own media and continue to be very present on social networks. We have developed other levers, such as B. Affiliation, via sites that also talk about sneakers. Our marketing budget is around one hundred thousand euros per month.

Who are your main customers today?

We manage to have a mixed customer panel with 50% men and women. We’ve always wanted to speak to each other the way everyone else does, and that’s reflected in the choice of muses for our campaigns.

We have a relatively young community as 60% of it is part of GenZ and we are very proud of it as this is an audience that many brands struggle to target.

Our goal is truly to create an inclusive movement to democratize access to urban culture and its products.

The sneakers have become a trending product that appeals to a wide range of people, thus encouraging the creation of businesses. How do you see the development of the industry and the entry of the competition?

We were the first in France to enter this sector with a marketplace. Our upstream introduction of other players gives us a small head start. The competition can be viewed on two levels. There are two major American players present in Europe since 2018, but their presence does not prevent us from growing. Above all, I see them as actors who come to evangelize the market and democratize sneaker culture.

There are also a few players who are smaller than us. But their presence represents healthy competition because we are in a vibrant market and competition drives us to innovate. We managed to build a strong image and develop value for money so we don’t have to worry about the future. It’s up to us to further differentiate ourselves.

What major projects did you launch after raising funds of 10 million euros a year ago?

We started our international expansion in 2021 and will continue in 2022. We opened three countries last year: Germany, Italy and Spain. These three countries now account for a quarter of our sales.

The passion for urban culture is global and therefore European, so a real challenge is to duplicate what we have been able to achieve elsewhere in France, adapting to the specificities of each country.

The second project we have been working on is building our technology. If we want to be able to process hundreds of thousands of orders per year across Europe, we need to build a tool that offers the best experience for sellers and buyers. For example, there is a need to automate the seller’s payment by simply scanning a QR code once the product has been certified.

Our last two projects were to build a strong brand with our community – we have 20 million followers on Instagram – and recruit new people.

What are the main areas where you will develop further in the coming months?

Our vision has always been to say that everyone is welcome, so we wanted to create a system where people come through and move through different doors. Today we have a very big focus on sneakers and are increasingly developing another vertical streetwear fashion.

We want to become the reference platform for all people who want to have fun buying sneakers, clothes and accessories. We will look for depth in these two verticals. People need to be able to buy a pair of classic Converse that they wear every day, as well as high-end products. The idea is that our customers come for both daily necessities products and a birthday gift.

We are also committed. We have an internal program that allows us to invest in social projects, such as distributing meals to students. From an environmental point of view, our boxes are recyclable and we are working on making them from recycled cardboard in the future. We also try to implement solutions to have a neutral ecological footprint in our transport.

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