SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Plumfare, the platform for unique gifts from local businesses, announced Jen Fukui Castells has joined the team as the VP of Merchandising. A heavy hitter in the high end world of food, Jen most recently came from the Gilt Groupe. Previously she built the special events business and corporate partnerships for The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, where she also launched the catering business for the French Laundry. Jen started her career in media, originally with Peter Jennings, then 20/20, and finally as an Associate Producer with Barbara Walters.
The announcement of Jen Castells joining the team comes on the heels of a successful launch with 4 landmark online merchants. Plumfare’s traditional focus has been on gifting from menus of local businesses. Plumfare makes it easy for merchants to activate word of mouth referrals by letting customers gift experiences, as opposed to gift card values.
One of the first ecommerce merchants to debut on Plumfare is Island Creek Oysters, http://www.islandcreekoysters.com/, a popular online oyster shop and supplier to the critically acclaimed Thomas Keller Restaurant Group flagship, The French Laundry. Chris Sherman, a VP at Island Creek says, "As an online retailer, Plumfare accomplishes a number of things for us. Through drastically lowering the purchasing hurdle, it motivates high-funnel social media followers and their friends to become customers who share their vital info and, most importantly, their email address. What's more is we sell an experience and once they have made a purchase--albeit small--they participate in that experience and are more likely to return to it in a more meaningful way later on. Plumfare users are an active group of consumers and social media users; they share widely and giftees redeem their codes at fantastically high rates. We continue to have great success with our campaign." In essence, Plumfare enabled Island Creek to add valuable customers.
“Plumfare’s technology addresses a significant issue that many merchants are dealing with in trying to grow their business. Gifting can make up 15% of any one company’s revenue. So, many small and medium business, online and offline, don’t focus on it. We do. As a result, we offer a great solution that offers what consumers want – unique gifts delivered in an instant at all price points.” said Plumfare co-founder and CEO, Tali Rapaport, “Our sweet spot is giving great $10 gifts. It’s tough to find a great $10 gift to give – or receive. In our unique model, we let people send a great gift at a fabulous business, that they would be excited to give or receive.”
Plumfare raised money from a mix of institutional and individual investors including Venrock, FF Angel, Simon Levene and Neil Kataria (the founder of newBrandAnalytics). The San Francisco based start up launched with a mobile application late in 2012, and added on a web experience in May of 2013.
Plumfare (http://plumfare.com/), a San Francisco, CA-based company, is a social gifting web and iOS application that offers great, unique gifts. In early 2012, Plumfare was founded by Jaka Jaksic and Tali Rapaport, who previously ran product at Seatwave, the largest ticket exchange in Europe.