Interview with Franziska Majer
– second hand products from across the globe! With more than 5 million second hand products, CATCHYS is the biggest meta search engine that combines the greatest second hand deals all on one platform. You find a broad range of items from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Miu Miu or Chanel as well as high-street fashion brands like Zara, Mango and Topshop. CATCHYS allows you to simply compare the best deals with great discounts all at one glance without switching from one online shop to another.
Hi Franziska! Could you please tell us a bit more about Catchys and what led to your founding the company back in 2015? How have you grown the company since?
Sure, I'm always very happy to talk about my company, Catchys. So Catchys is a meta platform for online secondhand products, meaning we list the products from different online secondhand marketplaces from all over the world. So we have roughly 5 million products now consolidated on the website, and we drive high-value traffic to our partner shops. How did we grow, and how did we come up with this idea? So I was working - actually a couple of years already - in the second hand online industry, and what I was realizing that this is a market that is growing super fast. But at the same time it's very fragmented, meaning that on a single secondhand online shop you only find limited supply. So actually, in meta platform, listing all the supply from different shops so that the user is able to really find what she or he is looking for, was a logical next step. And then we just did it. And from then we've grown rapidly over the first years, but it was always a balance. So we always tried to to grow sustainable, because we are an affiliate platform, so we basically make money by driving traffic to our partner shops, meaning that it's extremely important that this traffic is of high value. At the same time - and this is kind of a balancing act - we also want that we have a decent margin on every click that we send to the partners. So we were always growing and, at the same time balancing out the traffic - the traction we bring to our site - and at the same time, the high value of this traffic, because only then our partner shops are happy and they want to grow together with us.
What are some of the most integral skills you've learned throughout your time with Catchy's, whether it be marketing, business administration, or logistics?
I actually wouldn't call it skill, but more an attitude - and I think this is not only true for Catchys, but actually for every entrepreneur who tries to push his company forward, is that: you should never be too proud to ask anyone for help. To really rely on your network, because there's always someone who can help you, you just need to ask. And second very important skill or attitude is: never be too proud to call, even a tenth time, if you got ignored nine times. Because it's never over till it's really over, and you will always hear many, many no's. But after 100 no's there might be a yes, and it usually takes exactly those hundred no's to, in the end, get a yes. This is especially true in the fundraising process, and this is also true when you try to onboard new partner shops. So one yes in the end weighs out the hundred no's you got before, and you should always think of that. And you should never take a no negatively, because it will lead you to the next step. You just need to be super pushy, to never give up, and never be too proud to ask again, again, and all over again.
Who have been some of your most impressive and impactful partners throughout the process of founding the company?
That's actually an easy one to answer, because that's certainly my whole team here at Catchys: pushing our vision every single day, going with us through every ups and downs along the way. And as a startup you always have, of course you have many ups, but there are also many times where you just don't know how you will survive over the next month, and so on. So I think my team - and most of them has been with us right from the start until now - is one of the one of the best things that that could have happened to Catchys. And the second very important thing was that we could always rely on our investors, which I would also take or count as part of our team, actually. So right from the start we had many business angels in the company, who invested in our idea and who invested in the team, investing their private money because they believe so much in our project, and in our idea, and they always helped us a lot. They always supported us - not only money wise, but also with their network - and I think bringing those two things together, like the team who is working with Catchys - at Catchys - every single day on an operational level and, on the other hand, having this fantastic support from private business angels, is a perfect combination. And that's something we are thankful each and every single day.
What were some of the main challenges associated with founding an e-commerce designer clothing retailer and reseller?
Good news is that we are not really an online retailer or a reseller - we are an affiliate platform. So we list the products from different retailers on our side and drive traffic to their sites. And this does also mean that many problems a regular e-commerce retailer is facing, we actually don't have to tackle: we don't need a customer service, we don't have any logistics, we have no problems with any payments, and we don't need to deal with returns - higher return rates. So that's something we don't have to face, as we are just forwarding traffic to the retailers, which does not mean that we don't have any problems - not only doing the founding process but also along the way. So our key problem - or I would call it challenge - was always first to have a really good tech team. I mean, this is true for many e-commerce companies, but especially as a meta platform and where you have like 50 million unique product data in your warehouse, your tech needs to be super robust, and the user experience needs to be super smooth. So we always need to be one step ahead of the regular e-commerce stores, because we always want to add additional value for our customers to search on Catchys, and not to go to a shop directly. And not only because we have more supply than any other shop in the world, but also because the user experience is so good and so up to date, that they always want to come back to us - to Catchys - to really find the product they want, for the best price.
What's next for your work with Catchys? What will be your main focus throughout the next year?
We are just about to close another fundraising. With this money we can realize all the fantastic projects we have for the next year. And key projects include especially product -in this case, our search - meaning that we are just developing an image recognition technology in-house, so that our users don't have to type in their favorite items they're searching for, but they can just upload a photo from Instagram - from any other source on their mobile phones - and then they find the products, similar to this product or actually also the same product. And that's a very important project for us, and on the other hand we will also launch in new countries internationally. Because what you can see now, the second hand market, especially for fashion and watches, is booming at the moment on a global scale. And we want to be ready for that, and we want to scale globally with Catchys, and make Catchys a great brand on an international level.