Jetblack offers personal shopping via text to New Yorkers

Could a new personal-shopping-by-text service from Walmart be Amazon's next big competitor?

Jetblack launched in June of 2018, co-founded by Jenny Fleiss, who knows a thing or two about shopping. She co-founded Rent the Runway with Jenn Hyman a decade ago.

Jetblack is the first business in a tech incubator that Walmart created called Store No. 8. Jenny says it's an exciting opportunity to help pioneer innovation within a Fortune 1 company.

Jetblack is a members-only service that costs $50 a month.

You text anything you want to order—laundry detergent, a birthday gift, or a designer handbag—and the service will get it to you within a couple of days. Some things, especially daily household items, can even be delivered the same day.

Jetblack first launched in New York City. Jenny says the customers have been using it like wildfire. One of the biggest perks is convenience. Jetblack does gift wrapping, handles returns, and delivers items in bags, not boxes.

Jenny says they're trying to remove all of the things that have become cumbersome and clunky with e-commerce.

Right now Jetblack is by invitation only. You can join the waiting list online or get a referral from an existing member.

Once Jetblack accepts you off the waitlist, the service schedules an on-boarding phone call to learn about your preferences in just 10 to 15 minutes. This gives Jetblack a snapshot of how you shop, what brands you like, and what key products you rely on. Jetblack will even send someone to your home to scan items that you use on a regular basis.

A lot of this is inspired by Jenny's own life experience. She has three kids, a dog, and is a busy working mom. She is always looking for ways to save time, whether that means texting a personal shopper at a store or asking her husband to get something done and off her plate.

Texting has become a really powerful tool, Jenny says, and the ability to innovate that and incorporate it into a scalable business drew on her own consumer sensibilities.