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How Faire is innovating to grow a global wholesale marketplace

Its ability to match independent retailers with brands makes Faire one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2022.

How Faire is innovating to grow a global wholesale marketplace
[Illustration: Sol Cotti]

This story is part of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2022. Explore the full list of companies that are reshaping their businesses, industries, and the broader culture.

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When what you’re really selling is personal taste, there’s Faire. Founded in 2017 by a quartet of Square veterans, Faire is a wholesale marketplace that connects independent retailers with independent brands. The startup first took off after introducing free returns and inventory financing options, which gave retailers the confidence to take a chance on new products. During the pandemic, Faire continued its growth by introducing first-of-their-kind virtual trade shows that link the two sides of its market, and it now offers exhibitions on specific themes, such as fashion. The company went global last year, pushing into Europe.

“U.S. brands are desperate to crack the European market,” says cofounder and CEO Max Rhodes, “and European brands are desperate to crack the North American market.”

Faire’s technology streamlined cross-border costs and complexities, saving customers time and hassle. Even with strangled supply chains, the company’s European retailers generated more than $150 million in annualized sales volume last year, a healthy portion of the $1 billion-plus total that the 350,000 shops and 50,000 brands on Faire’s platform notched in 2021. (Faire charges new sellers a 25% commission on initial orders and 15% on reorders; preexisting customers pay 0%.) Next up: a credit card for retailers that will, Rhodes says, “extend Faire’s benefits” beyond the platform.

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About the author

Senior Writer Ainsley Harris joined Fast Company in 2014. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.

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