The world is changing. Technological innovations have transformed how we live our lives, and the online luxury industry is paying attention. Exciting new startups from around the world are seeing the landscape change and are creating innovative and creative businesses to run with it. I’ve highlighted five bright young things in the startup world that will make you sit up and take notice, and are well worth following in the coming years.
Do not adjust your screens. This isn’t a snapshot from the latest sci-fi thriller. This is the future, and this is now.
Unmade is a UK-based startup which puts style in the hands of the consumer. Partnering with fashion brands, Unmade lets the customer choose a product, then customize it to meet their tastes. From color schemes to patterns, shoppers can tweak their chosen product however they please, all within the parameters set by the brand. Want a blue stripe twirling towards the bottom of your sweater? No problem. Fancy a monochrome sweater with tighter stripes? Go for it. And because the changes available are all set within the brand’s boundaries, they still retain a degree of creative authority over the final product.
And if that’s not enough, each product is made on demand. This means less waste and less overall production costs for the manufacturer. Luxury brands everywhere are embracing sustainability as one of their core values, and Unmade are running with it.
If I wanted a taxi right now, I could get one. If I wanted some food, I could have it outside my door in half an hour. But if I wanted a professional massage, I’d have to politely ask a neighbor (although I’m not sure that would go down too well), or book an appointment. However, with stressed workers spending more time at their desks, it can be difficult to find the time.
Luckily, Urban Massage are here to fill that niche. Marketing themselves as “the Uber of massage”, this UK-based startup offers massages delivered straight to your home, office , gym or wherever you may be located. Connecting trained therapists with stressed-out workers, gym bunnies, or simply ladies of leisure, Urban Massage is a gamechanger in a changing working world. They know their customers’ lifestyles are increasingly busy and stressful, so deliver relieving massages straight to their doors.
Set Jet is a membership-only private jet chartering platform, with flights available to six of the most popular destinations on the West Coast. But how is it different to any other chartering service out there? With Set Jet, members are pre-screened and pre-approved, cutting out the need for advance booking notices, premiums for last minute travel, winding check-in queues and security delays, and much more. It’s a truly bespoke service for the luxury air passenger, and is a brand that is surely only set to grow.
Consumer habits are changing. Where before the thought of buying a second-hand luxury handbag would have been treated with distaste, customers today are increasingly expecting a shopping experience with an emphasis on sustainability.
Rebag is a game-changing startup based in NYC, turning the traditional approach to luxury goods on its head. Operating under the mantra of “buy, sell, repeat”, Rebag buys used handbags and vets them for resale. This is either done in person in their Broadway store, or through a photo assessment. Once checked, they send you a prepaid shipping bag for the bag, then resell it in-store or online. Not only can fashion-lovers sell their handbags straight from their phone, but shoppers can enter a brand universe which they might previously have never experienced — for less.
Their online shopping experience also makes for a game changer. Chanel, for example, are yet to make any of their clothing or accessories available online. Rebag, however, has seen and appreciates the value of ecommerce, and have gone where other mainstream luxury brands fear to tread.
In the same vein as Rebag, Cudoni is cornering the secondhand market in luxury goods. But it’s not just fashion either. This startup buys and sells anything from clothes, jewelry, handbags, and even luxury electronics. Just like Rebag, they assess your item for sale, pick it up, then pay you for your contribution. Cudoni has a focus on exceptional customer service, combined with an ethical outlook and an emphasis on convenience.
Cudoni has recognized the value of the secondhand market in the luxury sector. Using specially-formulated algorithms to determine a product’s value, they are able to sell on items for more than 30% of the average sale price if the customer tried to do it themselves. In doing so, they have placed themselves at the forefront of the luxury ecommerce field.
The startup culture that’s so galvanized the luxury industry is changing the way we do business across the board. The value of ecommerce cannot be underestimated, with hundreds of thousands of everyday entrepreneurs listing their businesses for sale in their hope of raising enough capital to live their dream life — and many of them succeeding. It’s never been easier to build, bootstrap, and launch a brand. But a luxury element can help hopeful business entrepreneurs sell to a more exalted (and demanding) niche. Brands like Cudoni and Rebag are bringing luxury to the online marketplace, and with great success. Similarly, the technological changes of the past ten years (and even the last ten days!) has thrown up opportunities for luxury brands to exploit niches and offer something no-one else does. These five startups are reaping the rewards of keeping a keen eye on industry trends, and are well worth following this year.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. A big advocate of brands who really get under the skin of their target audience. Success is all about great audience research.
By Victoria Greene Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media