Meet the consultant turning influencers into entrepreneurs

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It has raised $3 million from a range of Australian investors including Our Innovation Fund, Arch Angels, Point King, Ordinary Equity run by Alex Cornish (who has also backed Bailey Nelson and Heaps Normal), and Bosco Tan (the co-founder of Pocketbook).

    US-based Pietra, which also helps creators launch and scale new product lines, raised $US15 million ($20 million) from the Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, TQ Ventures and Abstract Ventures in July.

    Atelier charges customers an upfront fee of $1500 to come up with product designs and manufacturing plans. It then takes a revenue cut of any products sold, which is where the real money is made.

    It’s up to the brand or creator to make sales happen with savvy digital marketing and well-branded packaging.

    Of course, not all creator-led product lines hit the big time. Although Kylie Jenner’s lip kits famously took her from reality star to business juggernaut status, her Kylie Swim range launched in September flopped.

    Products can rise and fall instantly thanks to instant feedback, but Our Innovation Fund partner Isabella Rich said she believed the growth of creators across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube wanting to monetise their followers meant Atelier would grow.

    Atelier helps influencers and brands bring their product ideas to life by handling the entire supply chain and manufacturing side of the equation.  Rhett Wyman

    “Atelier touches on two broad thematics that I think will continue to grow. One, the creator economy, and two, how do you create a really seamless process in a relatively complex business to business supply chain market?” she said.

    “We see Atelier as the Amazon Web Services for creators in that they provide the infrastructure for development in a vastly growing industry.”

    Mr Benson started his career as an artist making experiential sculptures and images before becoming a creative consultant for brands such as Etihad, Savoy and Garuda Indonesia.

    It was as a consultant that he said he cottoned on to the intricacies of supply chains.

    Competing with the incumbents

    For instance, if an idea was to get the best cup of coffee possible onto all Garuda Indonesia flights, where do you source the beans? What quantity of beans do you need to order? And how do you keep the coffee fresh at altitude?

    Mr Benson said he saw an opportunity to compete with incumbent manufacturers, which he argued have operated largely the same way since the end of World War II. He said his market of influencers wanted to be able to test out whether smaller quantities of a product would actually sell before making huge orders from suppliers.

    “From a customer experience point of view, you’re taking what has been this hyperfragmented experience with manufacturers across multiple communication channels like WeChat, WhatsApp, email, phone, text, accounting software, different payment gateways, and then also one to two-year timelines to get a product to market,” Mr Benson said.

    “And then you can turn to Atelier, and it’s one partner, one form of communication, one method of payment, and you’re getting access to the best manufacturers in the world to produce highly differentiated product.”

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