Today in retail: thisopenspace launches $30,000 fund, Handled launches personal shopping concierge in Toronto

This week, two Canadian startups in the retail space have announced new features and funds. Here’s the latest on Canada’s movers and shakers.

thisopenspace launches $30,000 fund to support brand pop-ups in New York City

Vancouver-based thisopenspace, a marketplace that allows people to list their unused commercial and residential spaces for short-term rentals or pop-up shops, has launched the Space Fund.

Through the Space Fund, thisopenspace will invest $30,000 in 30 brand builders and creative individuals to help them launch temporary shops in New York City. thisopenspace said one brand will receive $6,000, two brands will receive $3,000, nine brands will receive $1,000, and 18 brands will receive $500.

thisopenspace said it’s launching the Space Fund to give brands and creatives access to short-term spaces at no cost because renting temporary spaces in New York City can be expensive and stressful.

“At thisopenspace, we’re committed to supporting creative people everywhere,” said Yashar Nejati, CEO and co-founder of thisopenspace. “By launching our first Space Fund in New York City, we’re investing in emerging brands and creators and empowering them with the brick-and-mortar resources they need to make their dreams come true.”

The projects will be selected by thisopenspace’s creative council, which includes Mollie Chen, co-founder of Birchbox; Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director at VOX Media; Kashem Miah, director of global digital and community at Shutterstock; Barbara Torasso of Capsule Show; Zuleika Sgro, vice-president of retail at Saje; and Nasrene Haj, co-founder at The Creators Collective.

thisopenspace has unveiled its new fund just over a week after the company announced that it is bringing Shopify’s point-of-sale solutions to pop-up shops in Canada and the US.

Brands can apply for a chunk of the Space Fund until September 15.

Handled Concierge Services launches mobile-based personal shopping service

Handled Concierge Services has launched a mobile-based personal shopping service in Toronto.

Handled said the service allows people in the Greater Toronto Area to purchase gifts, do personal shopping, and receive wardrobe consultation and styling tips through a mobile platform. Clients can create a profile, schedule an initial free consultation, and set a budget and timeline for their required shopping tasks.

For its part, Handled researches the market, browses online and brick-and-mortar stores, arranges pickup and delivery, and purchases clients’ items. The company also offers specialized services including closet visits, styling, alterations, hair and makeup, and themed gift wrapping.

Handled said through a mobile-based shopping platform, the company is hoping to give professionals and families an “alternative to fitting shopping into their schedules” as in-person shopping experiences often come with stress and take more time.

“I know how busy life can get. I’ve been there, and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get through your to-do list,” said Shira Yoskovitch, founder and CEO of Handled Concierge Services. “Whether it’s planning for a big life change, or simply updating your wardrobe for an upcoming vacation, Handled takes the stress out of a routine activity like shopping, and gives clients time back in their day to focus on more important tasks.”

Handled said its pricing model begins at $60 per hour for wardrobe consultations and 20 percent of an item’s value for shopping services. The company also decreases its cost as customers shop with Handled more frequently.

“Our personalized approach to shopping sets us apart,” said Yoskovitch. “Our small agile team of Handlers takes the time to understand each client’s needs and taste, and is aware of every important date and event in their schedule.”

With plans to expand its offerings, Handled said it also recently launched a gifting service that will allow customers to upload a gift list to the Handled platform and have an associate purchase the items on the list. In early 2018, Handled also plans to launch a VIP program, which will reward regular Handled customers.

Photo via Unsplash

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.