Entrepreneurs have to know how and when to change. Business is a dynamic process that, in order to succeed, must be willing to evolve as the marketplace, technology and customer s’ needs and expectations evolve. Jon Faber, CEO of the newly re-named Envoy, has created a agile business that does just that.
Originally named Appropos, the company was founded in 2010. Working in partnership with Saucony, a company producing high-end running shoes and apparel, the Envoy app was created as a business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform connecting retailers and brands.
By 2013, Appropos took full ownership of the app and its technology, and, in an effort to more closely identify their business, Appropos became Envoy in 2016.
Faber says, “In a relationship of the retailer to the brand or manufacturer, there’s a transaction taking place–the retailer needs to order products. That transaction is done in our system, Envoy."
He continues, “Our focus has been, and continues to be, in the footwear and apparel business. Envoy is having success mostly because, until we developed this product, the industry was very legacy oriented. They processed orders the way it had always been done. Companies like Amazon and other online retailers have advanced systems, but business-to-business had not moved forward to the same extent.”
In the old-school tradition, retailers would contact brands directly and purchase products to sell in their stores. Most of the selling was done via print catalogs and other printed material. With Envoy now acting essentially as liaison, the digital process is more efficient and effective and is a step forward for retailers.
“There are lots of details in the process and, while paper and pencil, print catalogs and the like still have a place, it is much more efficient to use an integrated system like Envoy,” he said.
He continues, “When we sell our system, it is no longer called Envoy. It takes the name of whatever enterprise is using it. For instance, we do business with a lot of Wolverine products. So their Hush Puppies or Merrell portal is branded with their name. We customize the portal specifically for each of our clients.”
Manufacturers buy the system from Envoy and then give access to the retailers who are their customers.
Chief Marketing Officer Mark Johnson says, “Envoy expedites not only all the details of ordering, but, like print catalogs before us, we photograph products and make those images available through our system. Because it is digital rather than print, changes can be made quickly and easily. And marketing is definitely part of the platform. Sales reps have digital marketing tools they can use, tools that we have designed and created and tools that are constantly updated.”
Envoy employs 25 and has recently opened an office in Munich as they enter the international market. Customers include Wolverine, Keds, Saucony, Converse, Harley-Davidson, Tom’s and many others.
Envoy understands that being part of a community brings with it responsibility to give back to that community. Employees participate in BitCamp, which teaches middle school girls to code. GiveCamp shares their expertise in website development with local non-profits. They also actively support biking, both within their own company and in the larger community.
For more information about Envoy, its products and services, visit www.envoyplatform.com.