Net-A-Porter Investor Looks at Lookk

Source: Signature9, Aug 2011

One of the investors backing the demand driven production model that LOOKK offers is Carmen Busquets, one of Net-a-Porter’s earliest investors. Busquets’ bet on e-commerce as a place for luxury brands was so early, in fact, that she ended up with nearly one-third of the company by the time Richemont acquired it for £350 million (nearly $570 million at current exchange rates).

In a statement provided to Signature9, Busquets explains why she thinks LOOKK could be the next Net-a-Porter.

“LOOKK felt to me like the natural evolution for technology in fashion – something I wanted to explore following Net-a-Porter,” she said. “Its power is in its ability to help designers start and, crucially, sustain their fashion career – not only paying them a commission on their designs, but also covering production costs and helping them to market themselves.”

it’s the opportunity to use votes and comments as indicators of future sales success that appeals to her as a matter of business.

“The detailed market data available through LOOKK means we can predict demand for pieces much more efficiently than with a traditional model,” Busquets explains. “This, coupled with shorter production cycles, means we can produce smaller, demand-driven, batches – significantly reducing waste, and therefore costs.”

while being first isn’t easy, Net-a-Porter was essentially proposing a different channel for an existing model (they buy, and sell). Consumer feedback and voting, while exciting from a business perspective, doesn’t fit within the normal fashion cycle. It will likely require a few breakout hits before being fully embraced by aspiring designers who find it easier to understand a straightforward purchase order.

the fact that LOOKK offers production and feedback is a significant incentive for designers, and a significant challenge to competitors. LOOKK could also grow to be an incubator of sorts for fashion –  think Y-Combinator or Seedcamp (which funded the company in 2010) – an area where there’s almost no competition, and an area that’s ripe for disruption.

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