Sep 13, 2019 | By Athena Chen
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Custom handbag company Mon Purse has recorded skyrocketing growth since launching in late 2014, and is projecting $20m in revenue for 2017. I spoke to founder Lana Hopkins about how the brand plans to achieve this stellar growth.
Founder Lana Hopkins was inspired by a Build-A-Bear Workshop store in a local mall. Wanting to recreate that experience of building something unique, but for handbags.
Hopkins attributes the success of her business model to the combination of two things, one: consumers being emotionally attached to something they create, two: the fact that accessories offer a low returns rate of around 0.5%, “because people aren’t going to return a bag because it doesn’t fit”.
While businesses that offer customised products are becoming increasingly commonplace as retailers figure out the supply chain implications, brands need to be careful that they don’t over-innovate and offer the customer too many options, which can lead to decision paralysis.
Hopkins has helped her customers get around this by offering degrees of personalisation and an already highly designed product that has been developed by former Chloé designers.
Customers can buy pre-designed products and then have them monogrammed, create bags based on designs that have been curated by people like InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown, or create something that is entirely their own.
This strategy is allowing the brand to be successful in brick-and-mortar retail spaces, as it’s not just about ordering a product that will arrive in a few weeks, but also offering the opportunity to buy something that they can take away on the day.
“We have a dual proposition. Sometimes people want instant gratification, not just design your own,” says Hopkins.
“We have many cases of people ordering a bag they designed as well as monogrammed items. We have high average orders and it’s a mix of the two.”
This is also helping the brand pre-empt demand on products. It can see which products people are designing lots of (currently black pouches with gold hardware) and ensure they are in store and available for monogramming.
Already in Bloomingdales in New York and San Francisco, as well as Selfridges stores in London and Manchester, the brand is using order data to drive its expansion strategy. Openings are being driven by online shopper demand. “We saw huge traction in New York and San Francisco, so that’s where we’ve opened,” she says.
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