Faire cuts 250 employees in its second layoff round in last year

Last year, Faire slashed seven percent of its workforce as the e-commerce boom dimmed.

Kitchener-Waterloo and San Francisco-based online wholesale marketplace Faire has laid off 250 employees.

The layoffs, first reported by Business Insider, reportedly took place Wednesday and were part of a company-wide restructuring. Faire confirmed the layoffs to BetaKit Thursday evening.

According to individuals familiar with the situation who spoke to Business Insider, Faire’s engineering, product, design, and data science were impacted by the staffing cut.

This marks Faire’s second round of layoffs in the last year.

“We built our former organizational structure with multiple layers of management to support our pace of hiring. When we slowed down hiring last year, naturally we weren’t able to grow into that larger structure,” the company said in a statement sent to BetaKit.

This marks Faire’s second round of layoffs in slightly more than a year, and comes 18 months after the company raised $416 million USD in a Series G extension. In October 2022, Faire laid off roughly seven percent of its then-1,200 employees, contending with a fading e-commerce boom.

“Our focus remains on being able to consistently support our independent retailer customer community as a reliable partner well into the future,” Faire’s statement continued. “We’re thankful for the team members who’ve contributed to Faire’s success so far, and are sad to part ways.

Last year, Faire co-founder and CTO Marcelo Cortes told BetaKit the firm had no plans to stop growing despite the tech market downturn. He noted that although Faire was feeling some pressure, the firm’s pandemic growth wasn’t as pronounced as that of other ecommerce giants such as Shopify or Amazon.

Faire is far from the only e-commerce giant to tighten its belt in the last two years. Many firms that saw gains during the pandemic’s e-commerce boom aggressively expanded their teams to support their growth, but following the broad return of physical retail in 2022, many saw their market share and revenue slow.

Earlier this year, Shopify laid off 20 percent of its staff and sold Shopify Logistics and Deliverr to Flexport. However, the Ottawa-based company recently managed to beat revenue and profit expectations in the third quarter of this year, according its earnings report released today.

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In January, Lightspeed, another Canadian e-commerce unicorn, cut approximately 300 jobs to streamline the firm’s operating model. Outside of Canada, Etsy, Wayfair, and Poshmark all saw growth screech to a halt starting in the spring of 2022.

Faire was founded in 2017 by Cortes, CEO Max Rhodes, COO Jeff Kolovson, and chief data officer Daniele Perito. The company focuses on connecting independent businesses from around the world with local retailers, enabling their goods to be sold to more people. TechCrunch described Faire’s model as “an indie Amazon.”

While Faire is technically headquartered in San Francisco, the company has had a presence around Kitchener-Waterloo since its founding. In 2017, the company relocated to Mountain View, Calif. to participate in Y Combinator, following which Cortes returned to Kitchener-Waterloo and took up a single desk in Velocity. The company’s presence in the region has grown since then.

Faire’s layoffs add to what has been a particularly tough year for tech companies. Other Canadian companies that have cut staff recently include StellarAlgo, Vendasta, 7shifts, Andgo Systems, Paper, Athennian, Top Hat, Fable, Dapper Labs, and Loopio.

Per Layoffs.fyi, as of publication time, 1,069 tech companies globally have laid off over 244,000 employees since January. However, September 2023 marked the eighth consecutive month of declining tech layoffs with the lowest count since January 2022.

UPDATE (02-11-2023): This story has been updated to note that BetaKit has independently verified the layoffs with Faire.

Feature image courtesy of Faire.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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