Toronto native Ronak Trivedi is the CEO and Co-Founder of the commerce infrastructure business Pietra Studio, which helps power the passion economy.
After noticing a lack of commerce infrastructure for businesses not in the tech industry, he was inspired to start Pietra.
Ronak shares, “It’s so much harder to create a company that isn’t a tech company. A company that sells a physical product. As a tech person, I was like, why is this so hard? Then you realize that the infrastructure around these creative people isn’t as sophisticated as tech people. So, in the time it might take someone to dream up an idea to start a watch company or a denim brand, it might take them a year before they can actually get that product off the ground.”
However, many product-based companies need help with the same areas, like figuring out which factories to work with or how to set up their e-commerce stores.
What Issues Does Pietra Address for Creators and Entrepreneurs?
After taking a step back, Ronak analyzed the lack of support for product-based businesses and realized that creating fundamental tools and infrastructure to scale and start a business with physical products would help many of these creative entrepreneurs.
He explains, “We like to say Pietra is a platform that allows you to supercharge your brand or idea. The platform is very interesting in that it’s a membership or subscription to the platform. If you subscribe or you’re a member of the Pietra community, you get access to all of the tools and infrastructure you need to start and scale a business.”
These tools include market research, design tools, and software to help you find the best factories, work with them, order samples and production, and much more.
Pietra even has a private fulfillment center where members and subscribers can send their products and have them mailed in custom packaging to customers.
A Successful Creator Economy
Initially, many products and software marketed towards creators were things that the creators themselves didn’t want or need.
For example, special creator bank accounts when a regular business bank account was sufficient and simpler.
Ronak shares, “What we saw and what we decided to build was what we call real value. We need to build something that is not just valuable to a creator. It’s valuable period. We found a lot of creators looked more like entrepreneurs and businesses than YouTubers… Turns out entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs, and everyone has their own advantage.”
Creators have the advantage of a built-in audience but lack the tools and support many other entrepreneurs have. So, Ronak and the Pietra team focused on bringing value to creative entrepreneurs as a whole to support a better creator economy.
Creator Economy Trends and Predictions
One of Ronak’s biggest predictions is that more businesses and systems will emerge to support creators.
Initially, creators had to wear every hat, from business owners, administrative assistants, video editors, social media managers, and more. Now, more and more tools are launching to support creators.
Ronak shares, “We’re going to start seeing more business teams in the creator economy that are supporting the content generation of the primary thing, but also things like running the businesses, getting into physical products, selling the products, getting into retails. My hypothesis from what I’ve seen is that it’s going move away from one person.”
He believes that creators will no longer need to do everything alone. Instead, they can rely on business managers to help sell products, negotiate brand deals, and manage social media.
After all, there are only 24 hours a day, and nobody can be an expert at everything.
Another interesting trend Ronak has seen is viewers assuming creators are experts in other areas, which isn’t the case. A creator may be able to produce funny content but may not excel at admin work or video editing.
This is one more reason that outsourcing and using creator-specific tools can help creators scale their businesses.
Ronak’s Advice for Creators and Entrepreneurs
Ronak shares that staying authentic is essential.
He explains, “People can see through the fakeness of it. It could be anything – you could be promoting a company’s product that you don’t use. You could try to launch a jewelry brand because you think it will make a lot of money, but you yourself don’t wear jewelry. You could try to make a vegan snack good company, but you’re not vegan.”
Being authentic and aligning your business with your ethics and interests should always be the top priority.
Not only is this critical for your peace of mind, but consumers are becoming increasingly educated. They can pick out when a sudden product promotion or new business doesn’t align with your brand, so never risk your audience’s trust by sharing an ill-fitting project.
Ronak’s second piece of advice is to remember that everything valuable in life takes effort.
He shares, “ I have yet to see a business work when the person’s default state is to put less time and effort into it. No matter how big or small they are, it’s going to take some time to work on this company.”
From Individual Creators to Creator Businesses
One of the biggest trends Ronak has observed is successful creators treating themselves like businesses rather than hobbyists or one-person shows.
More and more creators are outsourcing some work or using software to subsidize their work.
This prediction also applies to creators who launch brands and products but don’t put the work in.
Ronak explains, “There was a lot of what I like to call fluff. People who want to start a company but don’t want to work and want to put in $0… A big trend that we’re seeing is people who tried to do that are now realizing that this is a bit of a fake world that was created. Building a successful company takes time and money.”
In short, creators who take launching a brand or product seriously are the ones who end up with successful and authentic companies.
The Explosion of AI
Ronak is very excited about the explosion of AI tools because these tools are a tremendous innovation that will transform how people think about and start businesses.
He also shares, “As a preview, we’re going to be launching our own crowdfunding option for businesses… So, if you’re an entrepreneur who has trouble getting a loan or coming up with the money to start a business, but it’s a good idea, we’re going to allow you not only to launch a crowdfunding campaign so people can support your business but also help you set up that business and give you special perks for different milestones.”
Some of these perks include access to account managers and specialists to help you market your company, an invaluable resource for businesses trying to scale.