July 25, 2011, 2:47 PM

BeachMint fashions new e-commerce sites

The celebrity-focused retailer launches a site with stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Lead Photo

Mike Gammarino

BeachMint Inc., a web-only specialty retailer backed by close to $40 million in venture capital, has launched its second members-only e-commerce site, StyleMint.com, in association with Hollywood sister stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The site is one of several more to come, director of operations Mike Gammarino says.

“We have up to six vertical markets planned,” he says.

BeachMint, which specializes in selling jewelry and apparel associated with the styles of celebrities, debuted online last fall with the launch of JewelMint.com, which sells jewelry worn by celebrities, including actor Kate Bosworth. At StyleMint.com, shoppers can browse among T-shirt styles designed by the Olsen twins. At both sites, a shopper can also enter information about her personal style and taste in jewelry and apparel, then view monthly product recommendations based on their interests. All products at each site retail for $29.99, with free shipping on all orders and returns.

BeachMint’s customers become members and receive monthly product recommendations once they make their first $29.99 purchase. They can skip any month within the first five days, but if they neither inform BeachMint of their intention to skip nor make a purchase within that time, BeachMint charges their credit card for a $29.99 credit good for a later purchase.

At $29.99, the retailer doesn’t have much margin to factor in shipping costs, but works with shipping services company Streamlite Inc. to minimize the shipping fees it absorbs, Gammarino says. The retailer, which processes hundreds of orders a day, checked with several logistics companies to see which could provide the lowest shipping costs and make it easier for the retailer to afford free shipping. It settled on Streamlite, which provided a shipping rate averaging less than $2 per package. “We can’t afford more than $3 in shipping costs for a $30 order,” Gammarino says.

BeachMint was co-founded last year by Josh Berman, who is also a co-founder of News Corp.’s MySpace.com social network, and Diego Berdakin, who is a former executive of Slingshot Labs, a News Corp. firm that helps to launch Internet startups.

In the past year, BeachMint raised a total of $38.5 million in three funding rounds. The third and largest round, at $23.5 million in June, was led by Scale Venture Partners with participation from investment firm LightBank. Also joining the third round were earlier investors Trinity Ventures, Stanford University, New Enterprise Associates and Anthem Ventures.

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