Startup Wants to Turn On YouTube Commerce

Subblime allows creators to set up shopping hubs with favorite brands, starting with Tieks

A new startup wants to help YouTube talent tap into e-commerce dollars and the budding social commerce wave spurred by platforms like Pinterest.

Subblime allows YouTube creators to build and market destination websites where they can feature products they’ve included in their videos, or just list some of their favorite companies and retailers, à la Oprah. The company has recently signed the ballet shoe brand Tieks to build out a virtual marketplace, or what Subblime is calling the Subblime Showroom.

Here's how it works: Within the Subblime Showroom, a brand like Tieks can list deals and products that YouTube creators can feature in their videos. 

Or a creator could feature Tieks in his or her Subblime lists, with Tieks hopefully piggybacking on the creator's popularity (much like a Hollywood star getting free jeans at a Sundance event, and then getting photographed in them). Such arrangements could lead to bigger endorsement deals down the road.

“We’ve had YouTubers like iJustine and Nikki Phillipi tell us they really love our shoes," said Tieks co-founder Kfir Gavrieli. "We really appreciate their authenticity. Subblime Showroom seemed like a great way for us to create more of these authentic connections with influencers."

Of course, if creators don't like ballet shoes, they can theoretically choose other brands to showcase via the Subblime Showroom.

The Showroom is just one way creators can work with brands via Subblime. For instance, the YouTube creator Leviosaa recently rolled out Leviosaa’s List on There, she chronicles everything from her favorite toiletries to her most beloved movies and books. Users can subscribe to her Subblime feed and also "fave" or purchase various items—and share those buys on Facebook and Google+.

“We think this is what brands and businesses want,” said Subblime CEO Adam Winnick in a recent interview with Adweek. Winnick pointed out that YouTube users frequently call out products mentioned by their favorite stars in the sites' comment boards. “They want to know where they can buy things. But right now, YouTube is rather ineffective compared to Facebook in this manner. We want to make YouTube as a marketing platform more accessible.”

The Los Angeles-based company has already inked deals with the YouTube networks Big Frame and Kin Community—some 20 firms in all.

Initially, Subblime’s tools and services are meant to be self-serve and as automated as possible. But down the road, the company may look to help broker more sponsorship deals with YouTube creators, said Winnick.