Ali Kriegsman & Alana Branston, Bulletin Co-Founders
You may have heard of them before - it is no surprise. Bulletin, also known as Bulletin Broads, is founded by two boss ass women Ali and Alana. We discovered Bulletin when it was merely a pop-up shop in Williamsburg in some lot off Driggs a couple years ago.
We kept a close eye on the brand until its first brick-and-mortor and when the brand evolve to this dominant voice it is now and changing the retail model. It only took one blind email to this general inbox and Ali got back to us so kindly. Talk about #fangirling so hard!
We are thrilled to announce this week's Spotlight interview with these two! Read about how they started their thriving and meaningful business below:
Bulletin originally started as an online magazine. Can you tell us about this journey into Brick and Mortar?
Ali : ' "We met at a previous job. We were both on the sales team there where we were pitching writers and technology to brands. These same brands were starting to make their own magazines and blogs and it made us want to start an editorialized "Etsy". I was a writer and Alana was able to handle all of the business stuff and build the website. We ran it as a side project.
Then, we randomly got into an incubator program, Y Combinator. It was a pivotable program for us. Thats how we raised our funding and built our team. From this came a bunch of different things including pop up markets. Then it lead us to opening our first store last year in November. On top of that, we run events. Brands can hold their own or we run Bulletin events that all brands are invited to and often participate in, such as a panel with Planned Parenthood. "
YC is so well known in the tech industry! Did you find it all difficult to get respect as women in a non-tech world?
Ali: "I will say it was difficulty for two non-tech women to get the validation and stamp of approval to be taken seriously.
It was published that investors judge women by their traction or progress and less about potential. They judge men by potential and less about traction or progress.
But not YC. It is not fake brand recognition. They really dig into the weeds with you and were the ones that helped us figure out that Bulletin should be a retail model."
Alana: "There is a pipeline issue of women doubting themselves or not taking the plunge because it is harder for them. I think its important for women entrepreneurs to feel that it is tough but know it is doable. As for YC, they encourage you to tear it all down and build it back up again. It helped us try this and not listen to what anyone else was saying."
Speaking of retail model, how do cultivate relationship with vendors and decide who sells in Bulletin? Do you ever turn people away?
Ali: "When we were doing e-commerce, no one was applying to sell with us so we didn't have to turn anyone away. Then when we did the markets and we were so focused on being profitable, it was easy to create enough balance for great brands that we resonated with verses items we wouldn't shop but maybe mothers or men would. We allowed these brands to rent a tent from us to be seen by the community. From there, we were able to gain enough data to know what sells, especially in stores now, and it becomes easier to turn people away. Not because we do not like their product, but because we know factually that we wouldn't make them money.
The way we find our brands is through our Community Manager, Rachel, who handles all sales, while Elle on our team is actively reaching out to brands who we think would be perfect by the look and materials. We are all about brands who will be able to pay the rent share, make it back quickly and then become profitable."
Do you credit the current political climate for the strong community you have built?
Ali: " I don't really feel like we are building community, but tapping into a preexisting community. It was digging past the surface and bringing it to physical space."
Alana: "We knew we wanted to open a second store and we weren't really sure what concept to do. We were toying around with "wellness" or "baby" or something that could bring everyone together under one umbrella. Then Trump was elected. It was the same day we got accepted into the incubator program. We thought it was going to be a great day for women! We were miserable and thought "what can we do?" and "what will our response be?" I think the timing worked out and the store became our response to the election. Whether it was sustainable activism or an easily Instagram-able store, it was making it something worth the trip.
What is next for Bulletin Broads?
Ali: "Our Nolita store! We have a new location on Prince Street, right next to Prince Pizza at 27 Prince. I feel like most brands are like "Its next to Chanel or Fendi." Ours is next to PIZZA!"
Alana: " We are definitely opening up more stores and more quickly then we have in the past. We will have 3-4 active stores in NY by the end of the year and a store in LA by Q1. The community that exists in NY is definitely out there in LA. We also are looking to get our brands to sell online with us. We just revamped our e-commerce."
To learn more about these broads, you can stalk them on IG here or their e-comm + site here. Maybe get personal? You can find Ali here and Alana here. Listen to Alana on changing the game in retail. Read their feature on Forbes. Want to find them IRL? Catch them in Soho, Nolita, and the 'Burg!
Introduction by Chary. Interview by Chary + Emily