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High hopes for 'Henry': lifestyle marketplace Opumo's big plans

Online men’s marketplace Opumo is using a cash injection and a new loyalty scheme to grab the attention of “Henry”, its high-earning target customer.

Digital platform Opumo combines content and commerce. It sells men’s clothing, footwear, accessories and homeware, and publishes around five in-house editorial pieces each day. It is a highly curated marketplace targeting men with a full lifestyle offering, bridging the gap between members, brands and influencers and allowing all to contribute.

The site launched in March 2012 as a multi-brand promotion, sourcing and customer experience site, which gave visitors product recommendations and links to where items could be purchased. It relaunched in its current “marketplace” model in March 2017. It received £500,000 seed funding led by Joe Browns chairman Derek Lovelock in April and has since invested in data capture and UX systems. In June, it introduced a members’ community and loyalty scheme. “The Club” offers money for referrals, 5% credit on orders and a cash gift for customers’ birthdays, and now boasts 4,700 members. 

Nick harry

Nicholas Ayoub and Harry Beattie, founders of Opumo

Three months on from the seed funding, Drapers catches up with the founders, Harry Beattie and Nicholas Ayoub, for a progress report.

What inspired Opumo? 

We know that customers are driven by a sense of discovery. There was no single environment for people to enjoy all aspects of modern design, so we decided to pull together the latest brands, concepts, stories, people and products in one shoppable platform.

Why did you feel there was a market for Opumo? 

More and more brands are focusing on direct-to-consumer sales. This leaves them vulnerable to Google and Facebook marketing platforms because their policies, pricing and algorithms decrease the chance of customers organically discovering brands.

Also, the online space is becoming more competitive, so businesses with smaller budgets will be hit the hardest. We wanted to enable brands to take control of their own sale cycles by offering a scalable method of reaching new customers through frequent and relevant editorial content.

We wanted to give customers a single destination to discover new fashion and lifestyle products, saving them time by creating less-fragmented shopping experiences.

What is the aim for the brand? 

Our goal is for Opumo to be synonymous with great design. The design world is fragmented. There are separate shops for fashion, art, homeware and interiors, and there was no one successfully creating an environment for people to discover the full spectrum of design – the latest brands, concepts, people and products – in a single place.

How are you currently performing?

Sales were up 315% on a like-for-like basis for the year to June 2018. We have also welcomed 6,800 new customers in the last year and 744 in the last month alone – which is all very encouraging. We forecast profitability for 2020.

Who is your target consumer?

Our target customer is called Henry (High Earner, Not Rich Yet) – referring to 28-to-40-year-olds with an average household income of between £75,000 and £200,000.

How many brands do you stock?

We currently stock around 350 brands, including Amsterdam-based footwear brand Filling Pieces, menswear label A Day’s March and accessories from Mismo. We add 300 new items a week, to keep our portfolio fresh and exciting, and encourage increased shopping frequency.

Why did you choose to stock menswear only? 

We’d learnt a lot about menswear while running Opumo [before its relaunch], so it made sense to use the experience and contacts to launch a menswear marketplace. We’re also passionate about the menswear industry and believe it has potential to outperform the wider fashion industry.

Do you have any plans to expand your retail offering to womenswear?

We have no plans to sell womenswear any time soon.

It’s an exciting time to operate in the menswear market as it continues to grow twice as fast as womenswear, and online menswear is forecast to continue grow 14% on average annually up until 2020.

We feel that we’ve only just scratched the surface of the brands we’d like to work with and we’ve not yet shown the impact we can have on this sector.

How many countries do you reach? 

We’ve delivered to more than 80 countries so far, but are only actively targeting cities in which the Henry consumer lives and works, such as London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and LA.

Targeting selected cities allows us to be more strategic with our marketing, resulting in lower customer acquisition costs and greater engagement from our community of brand partners and members.

At this stage, we could divert marketing budget to tackle a city like Tokyo, but it just wouldn’t make sense while there are still Henrys in our home city of London that haven’t shopped with us yet.

How big is your team?

When we launched the platform we were a team of four. The two of us, alongside our creative director, Maret, and magazine editor, Tom, who we hired after a successful internship. Since then, we have grown the team to seven, adding an ecommerce manager and two roles in customer service, as well as up to five paid interns contributing to our video, graphic design and editorial output.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The Style.com site launched a few months ahead of us, and given that it sat within the editorial powerhouse Condé Nast, brands were more drawn to the promise of exposure on its network. Style.com closed shortly after launch, and many brands were left very sceptical of our business and the marketplace model generally. Our biggest challenge was persuading brands that we were different.

So we worked hard to adjust our tech to ensure that there were no technical or operational barriers to selling for brands. Quite simply, once the contract is signed, brands can start selling.

Why is curation important?

For us, curation is incredibly important because it gives us our distinctive aesthetic. Consumers can discover a unique selection of products from different categories in one single place and gain insight into our curated product offering through daily editorial content.

Do you plan to open a bricks-and-mortar store?

Absolutely. People might spend less on the high street, but we believe the physical shopping experience is still relevant. But, digital is our priority for now.

What are your plans for the future?

We believe this is a billion-pound opportunity, but for now, are focused on organic growth. We’ll need funding as we scale and expand Opumo, but we’re being cautious as we want to ensure investors share our vision and bring something more to the table.

 

 

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