Davis Yates still remembers one of the first presentations he gave as a young business student.
Still a wide-eyed freshman, he walked into the room looking as professional as he could, in a full suit, black shoes, “and just white dad socks up to my knees.”
Yates, like so many of his peers entering the business world for the first time, didn’t have the resources to buy accessories that would have completed his outfit.
“You get into business school, and you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,” he recently said with a chuckle.
While watches, neckties, bags and belts may not seem important for young students, most professionals will tell you image matters; having a stylish watch or professional-looking messenger bag can do wonders for how people perceive you.
Of course, few students can afford professional-looking accessories, which is why Yates and fellow UBCO business students Nick Ross and Luke Cooke started Remarked.ca.
The trio’s online store features a curated collection of accessories, selected with frugal young professionals in mind.
The site is still in its infancy, but currently features products like a $14 watch, $8 tie and $44 messenger bag.
Although they’re not popular brand names, the products are stylish enough to hold up in professional settings, and most are well-made enough to last for years.
Yates explained that, When Ross and Cooke were nurturing the first inklings of the company, their philosophy was “let’s insure that students, regardless of their economic condition, can get these accessories and these things they need to be a successful business student, at an affordable cost.”
There’s two ways they accomplish that.
First, by selling goods that aren’t branded, Remarked is able to get rid of steep markups high-end companies typically slap on their products.
There is often little difference in quality, for example, between a high-end and off-brand pair of sunglasses. In fact, most are likely made in the same place.
“The reason why Oakley is Oakley is they spend so much on branding. They pour money into these massive campaigns so people think they’re cool, but you’re paying for that when you pay for the product,” Yates said.
“These products are just not that expensive to make, so we’re just not marking them up as much.”
Second, Remarked uses a process called “drop shipping,” essentially acting as a middleman connecting customers to the manufacturers that sell the products.
This means that, instead of keeping a large inventory and sending products directly to their customers, the company relays customers’ orders to manufacturers and wholesalers, who ship it directly to the buyer.
No inventory means minimal financial risk and minimal expense, making it an ideal business model for a trio of upstart young businesspeople.
Yates said Remarked finds its products through careful online research, and refines what it offers through customer feedback.
The wholesalers they feature “live and die by online reviews,” he said, “so you can really go through a good vetting process on that end.”
Remarked has been running for about three months now, but Yates said he and the other co-founders already have big plans.
They’re in the process of figuring out who their customers are, and will soon start expanding and refining their product offerings, ideally becoming a one-stop-shop for budding young professionals.
Remarked is “an ultimately scalable machine,” Yates said, so there’s no reason that, with the time and energy the three founders are putting into it, it can’t grow to be something great.
For more information, check out Remarked.ca.
All Biz Profiles Stories