Crafting Startup Darby Smart Raises $6.3 Million, Introduces Weddings Vertical

by Jason McCormick | May 21, 2014

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A San Francisco-based startup that sells and delivers crafting supplies to consumers for popular do-it-yourself projects has launched a new section of its website in the wake of its announcement on new funding.

Darby Smart, which recently raised $6.3 million in capital provided by Maveron and other venture capital firms, debuted its Weddings vertical this month as it continued its expansion into the $29 billion crafting market.

News of the Series A funding and additional technology arrives amid rapid growth at Darby Smart: the online retailer, which launched in June 2013, saw quarterly revenue jump 440 percent over the past three quarters; and, meanwhile, its community of designers grew from 10 to thousands, according to Darby Smart CEO Nicole Shariat Farb.

The company supplies kits for do-it-yourself projects created by selected designers, many of whom maintain significant followings on Pinterest and other social-media platforms, and blogs. Designers receive 10 percent of the revenue generated by their do-it-yourself projects on DarbySmart.com.

“Darby Smart has successfully engaged one of the biggest untapped consumer categories by using technology to build a platform that bridges the gap between the craft store, online DIY influencer and the customer,” said David Wu, a partner with Maveron, in a statement.

Maveron, which invests in consumer-based businesses, was founded in 1998 by Dan Levitan and Howard Schultz—a former Wall Street banker and the CEO of Starbucks, respectively. The firm has long invested in consumer-based businesses, including eBay and Drugstore.com.

Farb, a former investment banker, left her role with Goldman Sachs last year and teamed with Karl Mendes, a former software engineer with EventBright, to create Darby Smart and launch its online platform, which aims to bridge the gap between designers and consumers of do-it-yourself projects.

“We’re crowdsourcing creativity, which primarily comes from our designers,” Farb says. “It’s not us coming up with the ideas. It’s us dealing with the backend and coercing fulfillment and distribution technology, and giving designers those tools to launch their creative ideas.”

Farb told SV411 that Darby Smart will put the new capital toward expansion of its staff from nine to 18 employees by year-end, along with further development of its crowd-sourcing approach to the American crafting industry, which serves more than 50 million consumers.

“We will quickly move into the areas where we see people leveraging creativity,” Farb says.

Darby Smart Weddings features four subcategories of products—Rustic Luxe, Modern Whimsy, Classic Romance and Seaside Chic—and joins the Home Decor and Women’s Accessories verticals of the company’s website.

The company expects that its next vertical will showcase supply kits for do-it-yourself projects related to cuisine.

Examples from Darby Smart’s weddings collection:

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