Alice is the co-founder of LUX FIX, an online platform that does two jobs - (1) It's new way of engaging with fashion enthusiasts, offering members super-curated luxury deals. (2) It helps designers showcase their products towards a targeted customer base .
Alice quit her job in the city last year having spent most of her time speaking to entrepreneurs as an investor. I recently caught up with her as she sheds more light on her recent journey into the startup world.
Hi Alice, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
Thanks it’s great to be speaking to you guys!
Could you quickly give us some background information about yourself? What were you doing before you founded LUX FIX?
Straight after leaving Oxford, where I read History, I worked as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs working on UK Mergers & Acquisitions, followed by three years in private equity at Quilvest Private Equity, where I was involved in the execution and monitoring of direct and fund investments in the UK and Europe. Then I left finance behind to found LUX FIX!
So Alice tell me how you got into business? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
Sitting the other side of the table as an investor at a Private Equity firm, I was always struck by the passion and energy of the entrepreneurs I met and was very keen to join them when I found the right opportunity.
Who was your inspiration growing and why?
My grandmother! She has worked all her life and is at the top of her field (she is a jewellery historian) even today.
So tell me about LUX FIX and how the idea came about?
We felt there was a need for a service offering time-poor professionals cherry-picked luxury, countering the "inventory overload" of the web and rewarding them with special offers each week.
What is LUX FIX and how does it work?
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 which drives targeted consumers directly to their own online presences.
What is your business model?
LUX FIX works hand in hand with designers to offer super-curated luxury with members-only deals – like discounts, limited-editions and previews. We introduce brands and their current season to members via our newsletter/blog, engage members through the fun & interactive LUX FIX platform, and convert sales both on lux-fix.com and through referrals to designers’ own websites.
LUX FIX currently generates revenues directly on lux-fix.com and via affiliate sales.
What makes LUX FIX different from any service out there?
We are the only site in the UK where top luxury brands give regular offers 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 one-off offers to draw her attention.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
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, all before we actually had a website to demo.
We focused on explaining to designers how Lux Fix differs from other online multi-brand retailers -- how we work directly with designers to raise awareness of their brands and grow their own e-commerce sales rather than competing for customers. Also, we showed no compunction in calling brands again, and again, and again, until they agreed to give us a meeting.
Who are your competitors?
Well…we think LUX FIX occupies a unique space in the UK, offering members deals on in-season luxury alongside fresh editorial!
How have you been able to fund the business?
We raised a small initial round from private investors.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
In the next year we are looking to grow a fantastic team, particularly on the buying side so that we can grow our engaged database of luxury consumers to our next milestone and also to expand our offering cross-vertical and to serve new markets!
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
The best advice we have ever been given? Never take no for an answer and always negotiate! Other than that….Use your network -- friends, family, former colleagues, random person you meet at a party, it's amazing how many people you know will be able and happy to help. Also be prepared to be flexible and responsive -- we're constantly iterating and many of the features on the latest version of the site came from customer and designer feedback.