Can luxury shopping ever be charitable?

Livoos- giving is the greatest luxury

In the current climate, with unstable economies (Brexit anyone?), political upheaval (The US political race for presidency) and extreme poverty, making a luxury purchase can come with a side order of guilt. It feels a little too ostentatious to be making big purchases on luxury fashion garments and accessories right now.

Enter Livoos, the new digital start-up aiming to tackle this problem, by attempting to turn guilt into the warm fuzzy feeling associated with being charitable and giving to others. The luxury shopping site’s mission statement is that it donates 50 percent of its revenue to charitable causes and its tagline is that ‘the smart shopper has the power to change the world’.

But what does this mean in practice, can you really convince luxury shoppers to move from their staple favourite Net A Porter to shop with Livoos instead? Can Livoos convince the fashion community to embrace the initiative? And, more importantly, can this idea truly turn a profit?

Livoos founder and CEO Flavio Amorelli, answered all these questions and more at the site’s launch last month, held at London’s House of Barnabas (a fitting event space, Barnabas is a private members club and charity that helps London’s homeless back to work).

On the subject of making a profit, Amorelli stated clearly his plans for the business “I take the angle that I am a businessman, this is a business, the whole point of Livoos is to show that business can change the world together with the customer and be profitable.

“We are a business, not a charity and that’s the whole point – the leverage of business to encourage marketing the mission and making profits to change the world. We want to be a catalyst for change and change the world through shopping.”

It’s a lofty goal, but as Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council who was at the launch said, the fashion industry is going through a time of upheaval and it’s the perfect time for an enterprise like Livoos. The British Fashion Council helped Livoos get off the ground and when it comes to being embraced by the larger fashion crowd, Rush said: “You are pushing against an open door, because more and more [fashion] business are thinking about the platforms they engage with and how that reflects on their business.”

In addition to the current fashion market which is in a state of flux where the consumer has more power than ever before, that consumer is not just more vocal, but also more compassionate, so businesses need to be more honest and authentic with this consumer. Shoppers want to know more about the supply chain and ethics of the brands they are investing in, and in this environment Livoos might truly thrive, both with this current generation of millennials; and future proof their business by appealing to Gen Z. “Seen as inherently more compassionate and tolerant than their Gen X and Y counterparts, Gen Z is the altruistic generation, and they demand integrity from every lifestyle touch point”- we revealed in our  The Caring Economy (WGSN subscribers can check it out here). That report also highlighted that ‘giving’ is the latest trend. “Kindness becomes a currency in its own right as brands positively reward and reinforce acts of kindness, and consumers look to offset purchase guilt through charitable donations.”

All of this shouldn’t detract from the fact that profits matter for retailers and you can’t do any long term good with no profits. Fortunately, the magic of the Livoos concept is that it encourages charitable giving but also wants to drive profit and encourage consumers more frivolous side, because the more spend = the more giving.

The site works by allowing consumers to shop luxury items from Bremont Watches to high-end childrenswear brands. There are even plans to extend the shopping catalogue to include art and travel sectors. Once a consumer makes a purchase, Livoos will then donate 50 percent of its revenue to one of the listed charities, or the consumer can suggest their own charity, at no additional cost.

livoos-luxury spending

It will be interesting to watch this digital shopping space grow and compete on the wider scale with other luxury shopping sites, offering that added bit of heart to the industry.

As one of the early supporters John Caudwell put it, being able to: “Combine commerce with charity in a way that the commerce is still profitable, and adds value to suppliers and value to the consumer, and at the same time supports charity that’s a wonderful thing, because the amount of revenue that you can make and donate will be a game changer.”

For more visit Livoos.com

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