Built Oregon to suspend Built Marketplace on April 15, 2022, citing signs of recovery
Nonprofit ecommerce stopgap measure serves temporary purpose for Oregon producers
Built Oregon, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization focused on supporting and connecting the consumer products ecosystem in Oregon, announced today its intent to sunset the Built Marketplace platform, an online destination designed to support Oregon-based products with additional sales opportunities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization cited both signs of economic recovery reflected an uptick in traditional sales channels as well as a concern about duplicating efforts or cannibalizing revenue that would otherwise be going to local retailers.
Portland Business Journal: Built Oregon shutters online Marketplace
Launched in the fall of 2020, the Built Marketplace was a temporary measure designed to bolster the sales opportunities for local product manufacturers — many of whom lacked the resources to rapidly develop an ecommerce strategy — as they struggled through the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and decreased sales. The site leveraged the Built Oregon brand to provide a literal “one-stop shop” for a variety of Oregon-made products completely free of charge for participating businesses. As part of the 2020 holiday season, the Built Marketplace drove nearly $100,000 in sales to Oregon companies.
“We saw an opportunity to help and so we took it,” said Mitch Daugherty, cofounder and director of Built Oregon. “Leslie Mullins, Board Vice-Chair at the time, took the lead and brought the effort to life, enabling the Marketplace to serve as a way for us to leverage the knowledge of our board members and mentors in a way that translated into immediate impact for consumer product brands in Oregon. But it was very much designed as a terminal, stopgap solution that we fully intended to continually reassess on an ongoing basis. Based on those ongoing assessments, we are shuttering the Marketplace in an attempt to avoid doing more harm than good.”
Built Oregon focuses the bulk of its broad-reaching efforts on small Oregon companies that have the potential to be significant traded-sector products on a national stage. As part of that effort, Built engages in temporary efforts to test its efficacy before deciding to implement long-term programs. The Built Marketplace was designed to be one of those test cases. The effort not only supported the sellers, it also gave the organization firsthand insights into the challenges and opportunities of direct-to-consumer, ecommerce efforts for consumer products companies.
Sales have dropped at a commensurate pace with the pandemic recovery. Total sales for December of 2020 were more than two times that of the entire 2021 fiscal year. Even holiday shopping showed slowing with fewer than half the number of products solid during the 2021 holiday season.
“As an organization, it is our obligation to focus on adding true value to the Oregon consumer brands,” said Daugherty. “At this time, the Built Marketplace is not fulfilling that obligation. As such, it makes sense to wind it down and focus time, effort, and resources on other projects that do a better job of supporting our amazing consumer products in Oregon.”
About Built Oregon
Built Oregon is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization with a mission to become the conduit for a diverse, sustainable and impactful consumer product ecosystem in Oregon. Composed of a passionate collection of community leaders, entrepreneurs, storytellers, investors, mentors, and organizers, Built believes that the support and growth of Oregon’s consumer product industries will create sustainable, inclusive, and innovative job growth throughout the state. With a distinct focus on consumer products industries, we see the power in “owning our backyard.”
For more information, visit https://builtoregon.com.