The retail industry has been in a slow-motion economic death spiral for the past few years, thanks in part to the decline of brick-and-mortar chains like Walmart and Target.
With an expanding economy, however, there’s been a big change in how people shop.
Last year, a new online company called Freestanding was born to help people get their clothing and other merchandise on the move.
The company has since added a few dozen stores in the U.S. and Canada, and is already in the process of opening a new location in Austin, Texas.
The idea of a small business like Freestandings has the potential to change the way that Americans shop — and the way they shop for things like clothing, furniture, shoes and other products.
“I think that there’s a real opportunity for us to fundamentally change how Americans shop,” Freestands CEO Scott Schilling told Business Insider in an interview.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s really exciting.”
How a company like Freiestanding could change how shoppers shop We asked Schilling and co-founder Ryan O’Connor how the startup came up with its concept, what they’ve learned from working in the industry, and how the business plans to get there.
What inspired you to start Freestanders?
Ryan: We were inspired by the idea of what we wanted to do as a business.
We wanted to create a shop where people can shop where they live.
We had no idea what to expect when we started.
Our team was working on a startup and didn’t know much about what it was or how to build a business, so we started with a blank slate.
When we started talking about it, we were blown away.
We just wanted to get started.
How did you come up with the idea for Freestanded?
Ryan O. Connor: We came up for the idea because we wanted people to shop anywhere.
It’s just a simple, easy solution to how people could shop for their stuff.
We saw a bunch of stores around Austin, and we thought, we could do a whole lot better.
We realized that it’s just so easy to get clothes on a ship and ship them all over the world, and it’s so much easier for people to go to a store than to go home.
We decided that it was a perfect time to bring our shop to the masses.
We started by building a small team of four people.
We worked with the local community, and then we had the idea to take it to the people.
What’s the main challenge of the Freestander business?
Connor: Freestandering was always a team-oriented, small-business-oriented business, and the team was just a lot bigger than we thought.
We have a lot more than four people, and they’re all on the same team.
We’ve built this brand from scratch, and I’m so excited to see where it goes.
How does the Freiestander model differ from what people do online?
Ryan (CEO): I think that the main difference is that we’re really focused on building our product, rather than our customer.
We’re building this brand around our product.
We want to build our brand around the quality of the products we offer.
What challenges are there when it comes to getting people to come to your store?
Schilling: We’ve had to change our brand to fit the environment of our current location.
We don’t have a dedicated customer service person, so when people come to the store, they have to walk through a bunch more hoops.
It gets a little overwhelming.
What makes Freestrants unique?
Co-founder: I think what we really want to do is make a product that people will want to use for a long time.
We really want people to spend a lot.
And we’re going to be focusing on products that are going to last for years.
So we want to make sure we have a great experience for people and be able to offer a lot over the years.
Connor and Ryan.
O’ Connor: Our goal is to be the best customer service experience in the world.
We will always be able and willing to work with you to make your experience the best it can be.
Ryan OConnor: It’s very much a team effort, and our focus is always on the customer.
Shilling: As we expand our business and as we get more customers, we’re also working hard to build the Freestate team.
The Freestate brand is an opportunity to make it a truly global brand.
It gives us a real shot at becoming a global brand, and to do that we have to be able, at our best, to do it in the global marketplace. 8