A round up of member’s only flash sale sites for luxury goods, serving India, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan and the Middle East.
Flash Sales have become an important part of the luxury retail landscape, popularised by US companies Groupon and Gilt Groupe and in Europe by Privalia Venta Directa, BuyVIP and Vente Privée. Logos and inventory may vary but the model remains essentially the same: liquidate excess goods in limited supply, at a reduced price to a regulated network of members.
The model is becoming increasingly popular in Asia, particularly in China, where spending forecasts are high and taxes are being applied retroactively to luxury goods purchased overseas. Whilst the Chinese remain reserved towards purchasing locally, it is becoming less attractive to consumer on foreign soil – enter the online sale site.
Investors are taking it very seriously. The collective investment generated for the below handful of online businesses is well in excess of $100 million. And sources are varied: venture capitalists, federal governments, banking institutions, Walt Disney subsidiaries and, in the case of Gilt Japan, over $60 million from a leading telecoms company.
Here we provide an comprehensive round-up of Asia’s key flash sales sites for luxury goods, for a complete listing of sites from around the globe, we invite you to explore the Luxury Society directory.
Brandmile was launched in 2009 by Dirk van Quaquebeke, a former investment and private equity professional that worked at venture capital firm Zouk as well as Deutsche Bank Asset Management London. Recognising the success of the model in established markets, van Quaquebeke brought the concept to India, where he had identified ‘exciting growth potential’ in a ‘deal conscious premium market’.
Founded by internet entrepreneur and start-up advisor, Jason Vu, Brandsfavor provides members with flash sales of luxury goods at a significant discount and access to lifestyle experiences ranging from tickets to fashion shows to VIP seating at sold-out concerts. The site also runs a fashion portal for Vietnam, covering news, magazines and photography, style columns and beauty guides.
Fashion and You launched its operations in January 2010, by Harish Bahl and Pearl Uppal, backed by Group Buying Global AG – the owner of several private sales sites across 8 countries. In December 2010 the business received a further $8 million investment via Sequoia Capital India, towards ‘growing the company’s product offering, strengthening its enterprise technology, expanding its distribution capacity and funding future growth initiatives’.
Cited as the first site of its kind in the Middle East, Fashionation.me was launched in September 2010, by Didier Picard, a former General Manager at the Estée Lauder Group of Companies in the Middle East and India. The business is a division of the Collection FZ LLC, a company registered with the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, with offices in Dubai Internet City.
Gilt Groupe was launched in the US in 2007, by Doubleclick co-founder Kevin P. Ryan, early eBay executive Alexis Maybank and Louis Vuitton and Bulgari merchandising executive Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. The Japan business was launched in 2009 and in May 2011 raised a further $138 million, led by Japan telecom Softbank. Softbank’s $62.5 million investment created a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies called Gilt Groupe Japan.
Glamour Sales Japan launched in August 2009, raising $13 million in the first round of financing, including contributions from AXA Private Equity and Mandra Capital. Funds were used to undertake further expansion in Japan, by CEO Guillaume Davin and COO Aki Negishi, and launch Glamour Sales China in April 2010.
Chinese online portal NetEase.com launched its luxury online shopping platform NetEase Premier, adding to its existing portfolio of NetEase mall, an online travel business, and third-party online payment service, ePay. The parent business was launched in June 1997, by founder and chief architect William Ding, and in 2010 was ranked the 27th most visited site in the world.
Reebonz was launched in March 2009 by a trio of college friends Daniel Lim, Benjamin Han and Samuel Lim, originally in Singapore they brand is now present in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. Details of initial funding are unclear, however it appears the business has received investment from a collaborative business angels fund, between Spring Singapore and Sirius Group.
Launched in May 2010, Shangpin.com’s business incorporates construction and operation of credit card websites for several big-sized banks as well as luxury goods flash sales. In October 2010, the site received a Series B investment of $10 million, derived from a partnership between Steamboat Ventures and Morngingside.
Shouke is the brainchild of Adrienne M. Ma, Paul Teague and Richard Chen, fashion, finance and information technology professionals respectively. Adrienne Ma is the youngest daughter of JOYCE’s co-founders and initially made her mark in the industry at Joyce Boutique Holdings Limited, holding key marketing and publishing positions prior to assuming the positions of Managing Director in 1998 and President in 2006. Shouke was launched in January 2010, focusing on the Hong Kong and Mainland China markets.
Beijing-based VIPStore.com was established in 2009 as a sister site to Europe’s BuyVIP.com. The business now has offices in Paris and Los Angeles, with direct selling licenses from over 500 international luxury brands worldwide. In January 2011, the business received a further $10 million in series C financing, lead by GSR Ventures, and co-invested by Taishan Invest, Green Pine Capital and a Hong Kong-based consortium.
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