Etailz moving to Valley: Company projects 39 percent revenue growth, launches marketing venture

Thursday, March 22, 2018

(As reported in The Spokesman-Review by Becky Kramer, photo by Jesse Tinsley) 

Etailz is moving to a new headquarters in Spokane Valley this summer, part of ongoing expansion at the company founded a decade ago by two Gonzaga University students and their professor.

With about 250 workers, etailz has outgrown its space in the McKinstry Station in Spokane’s University District. In late July, the e-commerce and marketing company will move into leased space at 2818 N. Sullivan Road. The new location is near etailz’ existing warehouse.

“We’ve really appreciated McKinstry, but we got to the size where we needed additional space,” CEO Josh Neblett said in an interview this week. With the launch of a new initiative, more growth is projected for etailz.

The company recently started a marketing agency serving brands that want to grow their sales on Amazon, Jet, eBay, Walmart and Alibaba. Etailz officials are projecting revenues of $250 million this year, a 39 percent increase from last year’s $180 million in revenue.

“Our vision behind the company … is to become the undisputed industry leader for marketplace sales and expertise,” Neblett said.

In the past, “etailz has bought and sold product like a traditional retailer, but at the core of our business, we’re really a technology and software company,” he said. “We see lots of opportunities for business models that are complementary that will help expand our reach.”

Using its proprietary software, etailz will work with retailers to help them build their own brand on online marketplaces, Neblett said. The initiative builds on the company’s existing work to help brands monitor their online presence and pricing.

Last year, the company identified 30 million price violations through its brand watch software, an etailz news release said.

“We listened to the customer,” Neblett said. “Not knowing who was selling their product, and weird pricing dynamics … is certainly a challenge when you talk about marketplace.”

Etailz will also help guide brands through expansion, inventory planning and strategies to drive online traffic to their brands and increase sales, he said.

It’s part of the ongoing evolution of the company, which Neblett launched with Sarah Wollnick, now his wife, and GU adjunct professor Tom Simpson, their angel investor. As students, Neblett and Wollnick won the university’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Business Plan competition in 2008 with their pitch for what began as Green Cupboard, an online seller of eco-friendly products.

In 2016, etailz was sold to Trans World Entertainment Corp. for $75 million. The company now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York-based retailer, which trades on Nasdaq under the symbol TWMC.

Etailz went through a restructuring shortly after the sale was announced, laying off 8 percent of the 190-person workforce at the time. The company currently has about 20 job openings, Neblett said.

Wollnick continues to work for etailz, where she is part of the executive team overseeing human resources, culture and business development. Simpson, the entrepreneurship professor, is a consultant to Trans World.