CustomMade cuts two-thirds of staff, Wayfair extends job offers

CustomMade co-founders Seth Rosen and Mike Salguero pictured in 2012. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
CustomMade co-founders Seth Rosen and Mike Salguero pictured in 2012. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

CustomMade, an e-commerce startup that offers specialty goods like jewelry and furniture made by small suppliers, is shedding most of its staff of about 30 people.

The startup was paid an undisclosed amount by Wayfair for the right to hire about two-thirds of CustomMade’s employees, co-founder and CEO Seth Rosen confirmed in an interview. Co-founder and former CEO Mike Salguero also has left the startup.

The shakeup comes as CustomMade is “retooling its product and reimagining its offering in a number of ways,” Rosen said. Eight people remain at the company.

“We have some very good people. If they hit the open market, I think it’d be very competitive for them,” Rosen said. “We got to help shape the terms and some of the roles that those people will play.”

Wayfair, a publicly traded seller of home goods, confirmed the deal but didn’t say how many CustomMade veterans would be joining its staff. “We have more than 360 active job openings and are looking for the best talent to join us, so it made sense to work with CustomMade on the transition,” spokeswoman Jane Carpenter said. The staff reduction was first reported by BostInno.

CustomMade has raised about $25 million in venture capital financing from investors including Atlas Venture and Google Ventures.

CustomMade initially focused on a made-to-order service for consumers who wanted to commission their own specific items. But that model of wide-open choice didn’t find a large enough market.

“Too much choice is paralyzing,” former CustomMade operations chief Matt Zisow told BetaBoston earlier this year.

CustomMade later decided to focus on providing an online marketplace for handcrafted items from smaller manufacturers, such as reclaimed-wood coffee tables and personalized cufflinks. Growing that model will take fewer employees than previously assumed, Rosen said.

“In a lot of situations like this, the CEO decides, ‘Hey, we need to change the makeup and character of our staff,’ and people come in one day and the door’s chained,” Rosen said. “The hard part of startup life is you’re not always exactly right about how you size and scale your team, and you make adjustments and keep moving.”