Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Olook.com.br - Stylishly Cutting out the Fashion Middle Man

For any major retailer house brands are usually the highest margin products.  Across retail, but especially online, the growth of house brands is looking increasingly pure play, and upmarket.  Businesses like Warby Parker and ShoeDazzle in the US and Oppa in Brazil have shown that cutting out standalone brands and classic retailers can upend big markets and create profitable businesses.  Olook.com.br is aiming to do the same in the hyper-competitive women's fashion space.

Very serious about delivering shoes
I visited the company's offices in Sao Paulo recently to meet co-founder and co-CEO Peter Ostroke.  Together with his counterpart, Andre Beisert, and backed by Monashees Capital, Peter co-founded the company about a year ago selling shoes, handbags and jewelry.  Since then they have grown the company's product offering and signed several branding deals with leading Brazilian designers. These include Didi Wagner, a TV show host, and Andre Lima, a high-end dress designer.  The company also recently had Ms. Lima's designs featured in a runway show at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, LatAm's largest.  


Peter with the design studio
The company does all of its design in-house and aims to give users a unique experience by creating personalized "vitrines" or showrooms based on the information they give the site about their tastes and styles.  This allows the firm to offered tailored content and to offer in-season styles at reasonable prices. The company's shoes are priced from around 69 to 199 reais, often much cheaper than stores online or at the mall.  

Ideas for the next designs
Putting together a full supply chain and creating a brand while operating a retail business are obviously not easy tasks.  But for those that can pull it off, the result can be a high margin business with significant barriers to entry. Good luck to Peter, Andre and team.

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