Meet Eliott and Oscar, founders of Stockly. Find out what they think about retail, entrepreneurship, get tips on how to find your kicks — with just a dash of youth!
What’s the Stockly concept?
Eliott: Stockly is the first technology that allows online shoe retailers to restock in real time.
When an e-retailer is out of stock, we allow them to switch the designated product in “marketplace mode”. They will still be able to offer said product to their clients, but it will be shipped by a third party — another retailer from our network.
Tell us about how you met, how you got here and why you decided to become business partners.
Oscar: We met six years ago in prep school at the Lycée Henri IV. Our physics teacher suggested we work in a pair, and it quickly matched well between us. We then chose different schools: I went to l’ENS (École Normale Supérieure) and Eliott to “les Ponts”. Three or four years later, we both wanted to go ahead and start our own business, so we thought: let’s reform that dynamic duo!
And how did you come up with the idea for Stockly?
E: I’m a sneaker enthusiast and have been really into sneaker culture for a long time. I’m a sneaker collector; all of my friends know this and always ask me how to find specific pairs. So I began to realize one of the problems on the market: it’s not easy at all finding the shoes you want online. As we started digging in that direction, I realized that the reason behind this problem is that retailers need to provide a lot of different references in a lot of sizes. That’s why one of them is bound to be out of stock! When you’re looking for a pair online, chances are the website you picked won’t have the right size, even if they have the right reference. To solve this problem from the retailer’s point of view, we came up with a technology that allows them to restock and better match the requests they receive.
I heard that’s even truer for lady sneakers.
E: Probably. But here’s a good tip for women: check out kids’ collections, they’re often exactly the same, way cheaper, and all the right sizes are there!
Is it necessary to be a sneakerhead to succeed in your business?
E: Not necessarily.
O: What you need is to know the ecosystem.
E: Yes, the ecosystem is a bit complex, just like retail in general. There are a lot of players who do very various things, from buying themselves to being a marketplace, some of them are hybrids… You need to get in there, understand what e-commerces are looking for, what they need to be better at. Shoes specifically, you don’t need to know. We’re starting there because it’s a big online market, but we want to explore other fields later.
So what’s your end goal for Stockly?
E: We want to be the first online platform for exchanges between retailers. We want to allow anyone to sell anything, by sourcing from our network of retailers.
You are both young. Is it a good or bad thing for entrepreneurs?
O: It’s a strength because we don’t have a lot of responsibilities or personal constraints. We don’t have kids or such, we can give it our all, full time.
However, our network is not as powerful as it would be had we been in the business for 20 years. We need to push a little more, but we have more time to do it.
E: I think we need to see our youth as a strength. We’re very open about being so young —me especially, as I literally look like a 16-year-old. When we meet big businesses, and they ask us who our clients are, we don’t lie, we say that they’re still small. We own it, to show the “big guy” that he has an opportunity to get in very early on a business with to young guys who have the technical capacities to make a difference. We’re not trying to look bigger than we are.
You’re both scientists, is it a disadvantage to lack a “real” business-type of character (no offense)?
dE: We like to learn as we go along, we like the technical stuff. We launched the business part and commercialization of our project about two, three months ago, and we’ve already made a lot of progress. That’s also why we wanted to start a business: to learn and make progress.
We both come from families of entrepreneurs, that’s how we were raised. The thing is not to ask any questions like “what have you done before” or “what will you do after”, just go for it.
What does this year of incubation at Look Forward mean to you?
To us, it’s a good opportunity to settle, be in an ecosystem with people who have the same ambition as we do, people who want to create fast-growing digital companies that will be game-changers. We’re lucky to be on really great premises. What we enjoy here is mostly the environment.