Savvy ecommerce analysts will be aware that most online food vendors these days believe that, if you want to succeed, you need to do one or both of two things: offer deliveries within one day and function as a marketplace for sales without holding food inventory (like Food-Hun and Goldbely). But one fast-rising New York ecommerce business is bucking both trends – and it’s just bagged $1.5 million in Series A funding.
The art of food
Brooklyn-based Mouth Foods, Inc., which was founded in 2010, specializes in online sales of “indie food” – artisan, small batch, organic, gluten-free, hand-made specialty foods. As its CEO and founder, Craig Kanarick (who also co-founded Razorfish) explains, Mouth offers foods “made by people not corporations, and typically involve a recipe.”
He adds, “It’s about the art of the food, instead of the art of the farmer. We don’t sell things like carrots and milk.”
The enquiring ecommerce analyst may well be asking what, exactly, does the “art of food” actually mean? Well, Mouth’s team searches the length and breadth of the country to source the very best “indie” food products and their makers, buying the items they love in bulk. The products are then photographed, warehoused, marketed, packaged and, finally, shipped to Mouth Food customers.
Kanarick says that the site now features 700 products at any one time, with approximately 10 percent sold exclusively online. He told the Wall Street Journal:
“We’re not Etsy. We’re not a magazine. And we’re not an open marketplace. But we curate very seriously, and think our customers benefit from our attention to every detail of the experience.”
Customers can buy individual items, like Ricks Picks’ kosher organic dill pickles at $14 or Sweeteth’s port wine caramel bar at $7, but the company also offers a highly successful monthly subscription service as well as gift boxes. Customers with a raft of orders can also sign up for a V.I.P. concierge service.
The new funding, which came courtesy of Vocap Ventures with participation from VegasTechFund and angel investors Jason Calacanis and Joanne Wilson, will be used to improve internet and mobile websites, market its own brand and vendors’ products throughout the U.S. and add new products to the site.
Ecommerce managers will probably agree that despite the trend-bucking this sounds like a plan.