UK's Most Influential Person in Online Fashion: CEO of Startup Koodos
Miriam Lahage (photo middle) of Koodos recently won The Online Fashion 100 Award, organized by Leon Bailey-Green (see photo left) and supported by The Independent. The guide is a who's who in online fashion, with some of the most important people behind the UK's online fashion industry included in the list. With the award Miriam is recognized as the most influential person in online fashion. The NextWomen asked her some questions:
What is the USP of Koodos?
"Koodos connects wonderful brands with customers who can appreciate them. We do so by helping brands to sell their excess in an upscale environment where they can be proud of the presentation. The brands can retain as much involvement over the process as they like. Because Koodos works on a percentage basis with the brands, it feels less like a buying and selling relationship and more like a partnership."
Why do you think you got the Fashion100 prize?
"The role I play in the market is often as a connector—we at Koodos work with designers, manufacturers, retailers, photographers, stylists, journalists, and online media partners. We end up working and connecting with lots of players in the market. I am lucky enough to have met with and worked with many of the people in that talented Online Fashion 100 group.
I believe people root for the underdog. Koodos is a humble team that delivers a lot to our clients and customers. We have built a business without a lot of resources.
How does the organisation look like? Team, turnover, profit etc.
"We are 12 people, 4 in marketing and PR, 4 in merchandising, 3 in operations, and me. People are always shocked that the koodos team is so small. We don’t share financials but I can say that we have experienced healthy double digit increases."
What distinguishes you from competitors like net-a-porter?
" I think NAP has done a beautiful job. The koodos customer might go to NAP for inspiration. She is more likely to watch how she spends her hard-earned money than the average NAP shopper."
How do you deal with competitors?
"Execution of our core business strategy and focusing on delivering great satisfaction to our brand partners and our customers is how we at koodos measure success.
I believe the opportunity for discounted fashion is huge. The additional players in the market serve to legitimise the category. Making sure we execute a proposition with great Fashion, Brands, Quality, Price, and Customer Service every day is how koodos approaches the notion of competition."
Do you look to startups in the fashion industry? For what reasons?
"We are a start-up, so we are a kindred spirit with other start-ups. Often we can find common ground where we can align our goals and help each other as we help our own start-ups to grow.
I find that start-ups are often more likely to look creatively at how to develop business than traditional companies.
What is your goal with the company? How do you achieve that?
"We believe there is a £100m opportunity in this space. We think we can help customers to see that they don’t have to sacrifice on quality or customer service when they are shopping for designer brands at a discount.
Koodos can grow to be a very big business without having to add on huge overheads."
What is your personal goal?
I want to keep working with a talented team and to help them to build koodos. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is to see the team members grow and develop their own skills as they grow the business. And I want to keep having fun! A bad day at a start-up like koodos beats a good day in a big corporation hands down.
And, any news?
Plenty! We have an exciting partnership that will be unveiled in the weeks ahead. Watch this space...
Miriam Lahage is CEO of Kudoos, the online store that offers customers in the know great values from stylish brands in fashion, jewellery, handbags and watches. She is an E-Commerce Entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in Merchandising, Team Leadership, Negotiation and Market Relationships. She was educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)- Sloan School of Management and the University of Rochester.
Koodos was established in June 2006 and is funded by one the world’s leading technology venture capital companies, Atlas Venture. Co-founder is Dan Wagner who also invested in Smarta, OSOYOU and Shiny Media.
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