From Business Insider (link below). The active quote: “so far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders.
OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky. “Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”
Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site. Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.
The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items. Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products. OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers.
Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product. “It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.
So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.