The buying director of private Sales website Cocosa speaks to Marie Davies about its plans to move into menswear.
You’re in Las Vegas at the moment. What are you up to?
I’m looking at menswear brands, as menswear is an area we can’t get into quickly enough and I’m hoping some of the brands I’m speaking with will be [on Cocosa’s site] as early as this month. We are launching a dedicated menswear site in October, which will follow the full facelift of the women’s site that we unveiled in August.
You have an interesting background. Can you talk us through it?
I started off on an executive training programme at department store Bloomingdale’s in New York, and from there moved into various roles at New York luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. My first role in the UK was at Harrods where I was responsible for bringing in brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Etro. When I left I was head of buying for women’s designer collections. I’ve been at Cocosa as buying director for a little over a year.
What led you to Cocosa?
Online shopping is where everything is going and there is still so much opportunity in the premium business. I was hired at Cocosa to revise the strategic direction of the buying. I’m looking at the structure and core values of the site as a premium experience. We have to make sure everything looks sleek, from the website to the packaging and customer service.
As a Sale website, is it difficult getting designer brands to supply you?
Cocosa is very discreet as it’s a members only website. We don’t disclose which brands we’ll be selling until they are up on the site and as the Sales only last for up to 48 hours, no brand is ever available for a long period of time. Brands we have worked with in the past include Ugg Australia, See by Chloé and Alexander McQueen. We are continuously trying to feed the growing customer demand.
What do you think of your competitors?
As far as the same business model, we are similar to [discount designer website] TheOutnet.com and we have been compared to Gilt, a successful US off-price website. Not all of our competitors are time-limited, which we think sets us apart and gives that exclusivity element. In addition, we offer great editorial content to the brands and customers.
What’s in the pipeline for Cocosa?
We have some exciting collaborations coming up where we are working with brands on exclusive products. I can’t disclose brand names but we are speaking to brands from the US, Paris and the UK. Many of these will happen in time for Christmas. We will be continuing with our press events which successfully raise our profile. We try to make them an interactive experience to educate and excite people in terms of what we are doing. Cocosa has close to 300,000 members which is a great achievement, and we plan to grow this rapidly when we start shipping internationally next year.
Which store do you admire?
Liberty in London. It has such a great atmosphere and point of difference.
What is your most cherished item?
My couture John Galliano gown.
How do you like to relax?
I love to cook.
Where was your last holiday destination?
The Maldives. It’s incredibly beautiful.
Sheila Clancy is buying director at premium private Sales website Cocosa