On-demand fabric producer Spoonflower – a company whose business recently hit a speed bump – has expanded beyond its core do-it-yourself customer base with a new online marketplace that offers home decor products.
The marketplace, Roostery, officially launched a few weeks ago after months of beta testing. It offers a half-dozen products produced on demand with a vast array of fabrics designed by independent artists or using customers’ own designs: cocktail and dinner napkins, two types of throw pillows, tea towels and place mats.
More offerings are on the way, including two styles of occasional chairs that Spoonflower hopes to launch this fall, said Allison Polish, president of Spoonflower.
Executives at Spoonflower and its investors think the new venture has great promise.
“Certainly Roostery has the potential to be as big or bigger than Spoonflower’s core business,” venture capitalist David Jones of Durham’s Bull City Venture Partners wrote in an email. Bull City was among the investors who plowed $25 million into Spoonflower last year.
“We’re really trying to go after a new market of consumers who are not necessarily sewists but can fall in love with and find exactly what they’re looking for from our marketplace of designs,” said Anjana Mohanty, director of Roostery.
Roostery customers have access to the more than 350,000 designs already created for Spoonflower, which produces fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap on demand. The independent artists who created those designs receive a commission that amounts to at least 10 percent of the retail sales price.
“It’s the tremendous community of international designers that really makes that Spoonflower marketplace rich,” Polish said.
Roostery’s launch comes as the growth of Spoonflower’s core business has slowed, which recently led the company to lay off 31 workers, or 18 percent of its workforce. It now has more than 140 employees.
Executives at the privately held business aren’t providing specifics but say that the business continues to grow, just not as fast as it had.
“The layoffs are always unfortunate, but can be a normal part of the lifecycle of a fast-growing company,” said Bull City Ventures’ Jones. “Spoonflower continues to hire for a few positions and we continue to be excited about the growth opportunities for Spoonflower, including the recent launch of Roostery.”
Roostery sells a set of four cocktail napkins for $26 or $28, depending on the fabric.
“It’s not a budget option, but we think we’re competitive in the mid-market space,” Mohanty said.