Luxury Goods Sold Online

Source: NYTimes, Nov 2010

The founders of Boticca — Kiyan Foroughi, the chief executive, and Ms. Larizadeh — say they saw an opportunity in focusing on independent designers like Ms. Ghalayini, who are underrepresented on the Web, rather than competing directly with big brands.

Mr. Foroughi said the site could offer such designers a better deal than they got when they sold through traditional retail stores. It keeps a commission of 20 percent to 25 percent, while brick-and-mortar shops generally keep at least half of the retail price. About 130 designers in more than 40 countries have signed up.

While jewelry sales are expected to outperform the overall luxury market, with growth of 13 percent this year, according to Bain, online competition is growing, too. Net-a-Porter.com, the fast-growing luxury-goods Web site, owned by Richemont, offers jewelry from big brands like Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta. Several individual brands, like Cartier and Boucheron, have recently opened their own online shops. Other Internet retailers, including Blue Nile, have carved out a niche selling engagement rings.

“There is a lot of competition, and a niche market is always going to have to compete with the big luxury brands,” said Fflur Roberts, luxury goods manager at Euromonitor, a research firm. But she added: “True artisanal products do have a place in the market, and high net worth individuals are looking for pieces with a story to tell.”

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