Jun 18, 2019 - Economy & Business

Former Snapchat exec launches an Amazon for luxury goods


Former Snapchat Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan is today launching Verishop, a digital marketplace for luxury goods, with more than 150 contemporary brands across multiple lifestyle categories.

Why it matters: Three decades into the internet era, there still isn't a major ecommerce destination for department store quality shopping online. This is especially true given Amazon has chosen to focus on basic goods instead of luxury.

Between the lines: Traditional luxury department stores haven't been able to crack the digital marketplace in a meaningful way.

  • Some luxury aggregation retail sites have broken through — like Rue La La, Gilt, The RealReal and Tradesy — but most have focused on consignment or resale of older goods from luxury brands through third-party sellers.

Be smart: Today's only luxury marketplaces have many risks for consumers, like receiving counterfeit goods or poor quality control on shipping and handling. This is why luxury is still often purchased in-store.

Details: Like Amazon, the company is hoping to differentiate itself by controlling the entire purchasing process. Unlike Amazon, it will not include any pay-to-play search rankings or third-party sellers.

  • At launch, Verishop will have almost 1,200 styles and 10,000+ stock keeping units, all hand-picked for quality control and curation.
  • Verishop launches today with two-day shipping, available without a subscription fee or minimum order value. They will also offer free returns for 30 days.
  • It will launch a "Tastemaker shop" where consumers can discover products liked by their favorite influencers. It's signed up up seven influencers with more than 15 million followers, including Tiffany Ma and Jess Conte.
  • It will also launch a "Responsible shop," where consumers can opt to online shop for brands and products that upholder a higher level of social consciousness.

The target consumer for Verishop will be millennial (ages 23-38) with more than $75,000 in annual household income. The average price point for products is approximately $100.

The brands that Verishop will curate include:

  • Men's fashion: AG, AllSaints, Anthony Thomas Melillo, Baum und Pferdgarten, Beach Riot, Current/Elliott, Citizens of Humanity, DVF, Equipment, IRO, J Brand, Ksubi, Levi’s, LoveShackFancy, MISA, MOUSSY, NSF, Smythe, Varley,Zadig & Voltaire
  • Women's fashion: AG, AllSaints, Anthony Thomas Melillo, Barena, Venezia, BLDWN, Buscemi Chinatown Market, Druthers, EDWIN, Everest Isles, Far Afield, Golden Bear, Hiro Clark, LTH JKT, Miansai, Maximum Henry, PS Paul Smith, Sundek, Veilance, Velva Sheen
  • Beauty: Aromatherapy Associates, DedCool, Dr. Loretta, Fur, GOA Skincare, Kahina Giving, Beauty Kari Gran, KORA Organics Kosas, Le Prunier, Leonor Greyl Lily Lolo, Pai Skincare, RAINCRY, Reverie, Rituel de Fille, Orgaid, RMS Beauty, Suntegrity, Tenoverten
  • Home: Cire Trudon, Cinnamon Projects, Boll & Branch, Indego Africa, Morrow Soft Goods, Hawkin’s New York, Sien + Co, Primary Goods, Morihata International ettitude, L’Objet, The Beach People, BUNGALOW DENMARK, SOH Melbourne, Norden, LUMIRA

Between the lines: The company to-date has raised more than $17 million from investors led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

  • The company's co-founder, Khan's wife Cate, stepped down as head of retail for Amazon-owned Quidsi last year to join the company.
  • At launch, Khan has roughly 50 employees and several senior executives, including Jason Bosco, former VP of engineering at Dollar Shave Club, to lead engineering, Former Bloomberg deals reporter Alex Barinka to lead communications, and Matthew Terry, former VP of fulfillment at Thrive Market, to lead fulfillment.

What's next: Verishop hopes to expand into new categories, like shoes, next year.  It also expects to have more than 300 brands listed by the end of the year. 

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