*UPDATE: Innovative Artisan Marketplace in OC Expands
Imagine walking into a Paris specialty shop with chocolates from Maxims and olive oils from all over the world. Now imagine this shop is tucked into a mundane office park in Lake Forest.
That’s precisely what myPanier has achieved – European ambience with a plethora of artisan-crafted items from around the world. And, it recently expanded its brick-and-mortar presence.
MyPanier doubled in square footage from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet. That enables it to provide more products to those who want the visceral experience of shopping and checking out the tangible items before purchasing them. And, for those who want their items pronto and may not want to pay for shipping.
And, for those who are fine with online shopping, the website now offers about 2,000 specialty products from 500 artisans. The goal is to expand the number of artisans exponentially – to 5,000 – by the end of 2019.
Last year, myPanier was in the midst of a $500,000 raise. Founder and Chief Executive Christophe Boyac declined to disclose the status of that raise.
Boyac developed myPanier at England’s Oxford University. He incorporated the company in 2016, launched the online marketplace in August of the same year, and moved the headquarters to OC last year.
His mission is to facilitate small food artisans increasing their online sales; 90% of the merchants are from the U.S. Local OC merchants include B Toffee, Cocoa Parlor chocolates and Massey honey.
MyPanier enables consumers to discover local and international food at a fair price, since the company connects directly to producers and consumers, reducing the number of middlemen.
Consumers can shop on the website by category, by region or by artisan. Specialty products include lavender honey drop candy and black truffle peelings.
For most products, the company takes a margin between the retail and wholesale price. Boyac said the margins are “fair” to allow customers to buy artisan food at a competitive price and enable the artisans to receive a fair price for their products.