Joss & Main GM Paul Toms discusses his new role
Susan Dickenson -- Home Accents Today, 9/1/2013 2:00:00 AM
Joss & Main announced the promotion of Paul Toms to general manager. Prior to his promotion, Toms served as seniordirector of marketing for the private sale site, leading member acquisition, member engagement, and product development.
In his new role, Toms is responsible for piloting Joss & Main's day-to-day operations and driving its growth strategy in the rapidly evolving flash sale market.
Part of the Boston-based Wayfair.com e-tail group, Joss & Main is currently the most highly trafficked private sale site for home goods. In the two and a half years since its launch, Joss & Main has acquired over five million members, has grown from 30 to 100 employees, and is on a $200 million run rate for 2013.
Joss & Main founder and former GM John Mulliken (now the senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Wayfair.com) said Toms played a major role in that growth. "Paul has been instrumental in building Joss & Main's membership to more than 5 million in just two and a half years. As we stake out our position as the No. 1 private-sale site in the home space, putting someone with Paul's capabilities in this leadership role sets us up to take on new business opportunities and drive our brand forward."
Before joining Joss & Main, Toms spent five years at Wayfair.com developing core business units in analytics, digital advertising and customer segmentation. In 2012, he was named to the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, a selection based on an individual's leadership skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and early impact on the state's innovation economy.
Asked about immediate priorities in his new role, Toms told Home Accents Today that while "a lot of things are going on" at Joss & Main, fourth quarter preparations are top of mind right now. "We've actually been preparing for the holidays since January of this year so that we can offer our members the best selection and a great experience, not only for holiday shopping but also for preparing their homes for the holidays. We've got a great lineup of products for our members this year and are finalizing our marketing and merchandising plans now.
"Beyond that, we've been making strides with celebrity partnerships, so our members can expect to see some great curated events by some well-known Hollywood names," Toms added, referring to the site's Curator Collections, which feature product collaborations with celebrities, chefs and influencers within the design community. Recent "curators" include Zoe Saldana, Courteney Cox, Orlando Bloom and Bridget Moynahan.
Longer term, Toms is certain Joss & Main's growth will accelerate. "We are anticipating a very successful fourth quarter. We're very happy with the growth we have seen in the past year, and we've got a big opportunity to increase brand awareness in the next year or two, which will accelerate our growth even further."
How much collaboration is there between Joss & Main and Wayfair.com? We share the same office space, we share ideas ... and there is crossover between manufacturers that are featured in Joss & Main events and part of Wayfair.com's catalog. Joss & Main operates independently in the sense that we have our own buying, merchandising and marketing team. We do share the same engineering resources and are really fortunate to be a part of Wayfair.com from the back-end stand point. Wayfair.com has done a tremendous job in building up those portions of the business - the logistics, fulfillment process - over the years.
Who is Joss & Main's customer? Our customer is a woman who is invested in her home. She loves shopping and browsing, delights in "the thrill of the find," and is continually refining her home. Demographically, it's females, aged 35-55, with $100,000 or higher in household income, and 50% have children.
Who monitors your social media? Our social media is handled in house. We have a person on our team who is solely dedicated to our social channels, from Facebook and Pinterest to blogger relations.
What markets do your buyers shop? Atlanta, High Point, Las Vegas, New York, Dallas
What do your buyers look for in a vendor? Our members shop our site for the thrill of the find, to find something unique that fits their personal home style, so we look for vendors that can offer those unique products to us. Our members are interested in a wide range of styles - whether it be boho chic, country cottage or modern minimalist - so we look for vendors that can bring various design aesthetics to our curated events. It's also important that our vendors are able to scale enough and offer sufficient inventory to meet customer demand.
What is Joss & Main's biggest challenge when it comes to selling home furnishings online?
We sell a lot of large, bulky items - sofas, dining tables, etc. - that are hard to ship. We're fortunate to have the logistics and shipping expertise from Wayfair.com, to be able to ship these items well. As the Joss & Main brand grows, we will continually work to make our delivery and post order experience top notch.
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