Alice Hastings-Bass & Rebecca Glenapp, Co-Founders, LUX-FIX: Members Only Fashion For the Time-Poor Professional
Alice Hastings-Bass and Rebecca Glenapp are co-founders of LUX-FIX.com, a members-only online fashion boutique which gives its customers exclusive offers on current season designer products.
duo has teamed up with the very best in British high-end designers to exclusively obtain exceptional offers
for their members and the site has been generating
revenue since day one. Since launching the beta site in 2011, Alice and Rebecca have built a designer portfolio of more than fifty luxury brands, including Pringle of Scotland,
Peter Jensen and Angel Jackson.
The two business partners met at Marlborough College. Armed with a first from Oxford, Alice landed a fast paced role as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs, followed by three years in
private equity. Rebecca pursued the digital marketing route and has previously worked with start-ups and corporate brands across Europe and the US. She also worked as a senior online consultant for the Aston Group, co-leading engagements for Facebook's emerging market entry strategy.
With their demanding high flying city careers the two designer enthusiasts found themselves tied to their desks leaving little time to browse through all the beautiful new designer pieces each season.
They saw a gap in the market for a unique service to cut through inventory overload that other lifestyle luxury sites offered.
LUX.FIX was launched with the time-poor, desk-bound luxury fashion consumer in mind. Alice says: “I was always keen to start my own business one day. Sitting the other side of the table as an investor at a private equity firm and seeing the drive and energy of the entrepreneurs I was dealing with spurred me the passion to do my own thing when the right opportunity came about.”
Rebecca says: “We are the only site in the UK where top luxury brands have regular offers on current season product lines; this is possible because we provide marketing and sales generation for our designer partners' brands and websites. Our customer is interested in current collections and the provenance behind them, they also appreciate deals and one-off offers to draw their attention.”
Alice and Rebecca have big plans for LUX-FIX, the pair see the site becoming the online destination platform for luxury brands and customers. They strongly believe that they can become a truly international business, headquartered in the UK with selected local presences.
We spoke to Alice and Rebecca about how they came up with the idea for LUX-FIX; the fellow startup they admire the most; and what they'd like to get off their chest about the world of entrepreneurship.
TNW: How did you come up with the idea for LUX-FIX.com and then arrive at the decision to turn your idea into a reality?
We had talked for a long time about collaborating on something in the online fashion space, and came to the idea for LUX FIX from two different angles:
The need for a newsletter service offering time poor professionals cherry-picked luxury, countering the ‘inventory overload’ of the web, was something that co-founder Alice Hastings-Bass had experienced first hand as a deskbound investment banker.
From the designers’ side, LUX FIX acts as a portal for our partners to engage with online luxury consumers and drive sales on their own e-commerce presences via our affiliate program - as a digital marketer, co-founder Rebecca Glenapp had seen many luxury brands investing in e-commerce but struggling to drive relevant traffic to their sites.
The Pop-up Shop model means that LUX FIX can offer its’ designer partners the benefits of being part of a multi-brand retailer without cannibalising their own e-commerce presences.
TNW: What makes your company different from your competitors?
We are the only site in the UK where top luxury brands give regular discounts on current season merchandise; this is possible because we provide marketing and sales generation for our designer partners' brands and websites. Our customer is interested in current collections and the provenance behind them, she also appreciates deals and exclusive offers to draw her attention. LUX FIX occupies a unique space in the UK, offering members deals on in-season luxury alongside fresh editorial.
TNW: What is your business model?
LUX FIX gives users insider access to the
current collections, with edits, offers and editorial curated
by the designers themselves. We work
hand in hand with designers to offer super-curated luxury with members-only offers
and convert sales both on lux-fix.com and through referrals to designers’ own websites.
For our members, we are solving the issue of online inventory-overload and making buying luxury online fun and experience led (all our offers are one-off), for our designers we are a marketing platform and newsletter service which drives targeted consumers directly to their own online presences.
TNW: When you built your team, what are the key qualities you looked for to ensure the success of your business?
We look for people who get excited about going to work. It’s an amazing thing to be able to grow a business from nothing and we want our team to be genuinely passionate about what they are building.
TNW: What is your marketing strategy and what has been the most effective source of new customers so far?
Our marketing strategy to date has been centred on word-of-mouth which has been a great driver of new members in our target demographic – we also have a social rewards system in place whereby anyone who “likes” something on LUX FIX gets rewarded if a member of their Facebook network becomes a LUX FIX customer.
TNW: Have you come across any other exciting startups recently and what is it about them that appeals to you?
We are very excited by Positive Luxury – a new company in the ethical luxury space aiming to make visible commitments to sustainability the norm.
TNW: What are the advantages of gender diversity in a startup? Are there any disadvantages?
Ummm this hasn’t really come up!
TNW: What lessons have you taken from your successes &/or failures?
Never take no for an answer! A real cliché but as with many completely true. Building a portfolio of luxury designers from scratch pre-launch was a big challenge -- designers are approached by online startups all the time and we had to show them why we were different and shamelessly called them again and again, until they agreed to give us a meeting.
TNW: Do you have any tips or any advice for women who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs?
Use your network!
There is not a red-blooded woman alive who will not at least read an email from someone they are introduced to who has a new and interesting business, so start having coffees and talking to friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends.
TNW: Do you have any role models or mentors?
Yes. We have an amazing mentor who regularly sits down with us and asks us all kinds of difficult questions, which we have to try and answer as he is so brilliant and we want to impress him.
TNW: What does your day look like?
The amazing thing about starting your own business is that there is always something to look forward to!
Whether it is a new partnership going live, a new area of the business to work on or getting our designers written about. We try to catch up internally on a very regular more casual basis so most of our meetings are exciting external ones – more coffee yes please! We also love sitting down every month and just throwing ideas out there together, it’s taught us a lot about how to get ideas off the table and “live” without too many tears! (joking on the tears, we always have cookies to make sure everyone stays happy).
TNW: If you could get on a soap box and get something off your chest about the world of entrepreneurship, something you’d like to change, what would it be?
Interesting! Perhaps the idea that you really can be entrepreneurial within a business – Google seems to have this one nailed – we always try to set our team projects that they can “own”.
TNW: Do you have plans to expand internationally? Which countries and when?
Yes! We are starting to build our international presence, 35% of our customers are already from outside the UK, including 15% from the US, which is great exposure for our British partner designers and has really encouraged us in setting international targets.
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