Former Procter & Gamble Co. marketer Adam Weber spent five years haunting his old employer, marketer of Gillette, as chief marketing officer of Dollar Shave Club. Now he's back in Cincinnati betting that online estate sales will be the Next Big Thing.
Weber is the new CMO of Everything But The House, an e-commerce player that's rolling up the fragmented estate-sale business. Now operating out of more than 20 warehouses nationwide, EBTH takes merchandise from estate sales or people downsizing to smaller homes and sells it through online auctions. Every item starts at a dollar bid.
"It's the best brand in e-commerce that almost nobody has ever heard of," Weber says. Almost entirely through word of mouth, EBTH has grown since 2008 to reach a million bidders in 150 countries. The site does more than 450 estate sales monthly, selling 75,000 items through 1.3 million bids, he says.
"It's just rich with opportunities for storytelling," says Weber.
Key to the concept, he says, is removing frustration for sellers by providing "white glove" service to pick up merchandise from homes and move it to warehouses. There, in what look like sprawling indoor yard sales, EBTH employees, who develop expertise in product categories, photograph items and write up descriptions, then auction and ship them to buyers.
Sellers keep up to 65 percent of proceeds and reap three to five times what they would versus traditional local estate sales, Weber says. They sometimes start by selling a handful of items on EBTH, then ultimately do a larger downsizing or estate sale.
Weber contrasts that to the "cumbersome and antiquated process" of conventional estate sales, which includes a limited local marketplace. He sees similarities to Dollar Shave Club, which he joined five years ago as senior VP of marketing when it had only 10 employees. DSC was built on solving people's frustration with buying razors at high prices from locked cases in stores. It sold to Unilever last year for $1 billion.
Weber is mulling agency options, but likes the idea of in-house creative akin to what he had at DSC. "It's great to have your creative talent in close proximity to your marketer," he says. "They start to live, feel and breathe the brands."
The move from DSC's Los Angeles headquarters to EBTH comes in part because Weber wanted to return to Cincinnati to be close to family. He also previously worked in Boston at P&G's shaving business and New York at Gilt.com.
"Getting to work on a hometown business that has such an opportunity to scale and capacity to disrupt didn't used to be possible," he says. "Now it is."
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Dollar Shave Club says Weber "will be missed, but we're excited for him as he moves back to his hometown." Weber worked closely with the team to ensure a smooth transition, she says, and the brand is "actively looking for the right replacement."