On Our Radar: Modalyst

On Our Radar: Modalyst

It’s a huge oversight that we haven’t covered this startup on the blog before now–we’re huge fans of both the founders and what they’re doing. So, let’s correct this oversight! Meet Modalyst, a platform where retailers can add thousands of brands to their inventory in minutes. We caught up with Modalyst’s CEO and co-founder Jill Sherman to give us more of the details.

Describe Modalyst.

Modalyst is a retail technology platform and the world’s first marketplace enabling retailers to source brands with inventory available immediately for dropshipping and wholesale.

Modalyst is the B2B powerhouse platform behind distribution of 700+ independent brands with unique products available immediately for thousands of retailers in more than 120 countries. Modalyst integrates with e-commerce platforms and shopping cart technologies (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, etc.) to automate the workflow of dropshipping with brands. Now–in just one-click–retailers add thousands of products to their online store with zero inventory costs. In minutes, an empty storefront is filled with thousands of curated products. Real-time feeds including imagery, descriptions, pricing and inventory counts enable stores to source from hundreds of brands & process orders to be fulfilled by the brand, all in one centralized platform. For brick-and-mortar stores buying inventory, we offer wholesale pricing, bulk-order discounts, and sample requests.

What was your inspiration behind Modalyst?

I spent 12 years in the fashion industry at Vogue, Prada, and Harvey Nichols before launching Modalyst. During that time–especially while working for Vogue and Harvey Nichols–I was constantly on the prowl for new, cool brands. Sourcing brands was tough. There wasn’t a home for the independent community, which is filled with incredible brands. So, I went to MIT to get my MBA, which is where I met my co-founder Alain Miguel. He dropped out of MIT, and Modalyst was born. (Check out my journey in my TEDxTalk on “The Rise of the Independents”.)


Along the way, we noticed the ecosystem changing. End-consumers weren’t as brand-focused, they are the brand. Stores were looking for differentiated products to attract new, younger customers. More and more online stores are coming to market, most of which focused on the zero-inventory model of dropshipping. Yet, before Modalyst, dropshipping was an extremely manual process filled with confusing contracts and a constant shuffle of images, pricing, and inventory updates. It was so time-consuming to find and connect with brands, that it took an average of 38 days for a retailer to add a brand to their online store and they could only manage 7 or 8 brands at at time.

So, Modalyst changed the game by completely automated dropshipping. Now, an online retailer can add thousands of products and hundreds of brands to their stores in minutes. And, brands have access to a whole new category of stores, without any of the manual upkeep to keep them updated.

What value does Modalyst have that makes it stand out against other startups in the space?

We are first-to-market with our dropshipping services. There isn’t another company out there focused on bringing the coolest brands to market and distributing their on-hand inventory to a network of online stores globally. We get feedback from customers daily about how much this has changed their lives. It is super inspiring to hear their stories.


What has been the hardest obstacle for you in starting Modalyst? What has been your favorite part?

Building a marketplace from scratch is insanely difficult. However, from the very start, we had a value proposition which really resonated with customers. So, we have been fortunate to attract fantastic brands and stores to the platform. It’s amazing to see a store launch, be filled with products, and start selling them – all in one day!

Beyond, the platform, my favorite part is coming into work each day and working with the team. We are so different from each other, which enables the creative ideas to flourish. I feel fortunate to work beside a strong team of whip-smart individuals.

What can we expect from Modalyst in the future?

We see that the definition of a “retailer” is changing. Stay tuned for how we address this new market.

Find out more about Modalyst by checking out their website here. Glad we finally got to feature them!

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave.  Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.