Mon Purse CEO Lana Hopkins: “We’re treating Bloomingdale’s, Selfridges as marketing and branding opportunities.”

Customization in luxury goods is in, and when it comes to handbags and purses, no brand, established or new, has cornered the market in customizable accessories more than Sydney-based Mon Purse.

Quite simply, Lana Hopkins’ upstart is surging. At just three years old, it has, according to Fast Company’s Liz Segran, “grown 8,000% over the last two years, exceed[ed] $10 million in sales in 2016, and is on track to hit $20 million this year.” What’s the draw? Simple: Mon Purse lets women design their own purses from scratch online. No branded logos, no obnoxious monogram motifs, just straightforward individualized handbags — arriving at their doorstep four weeks later. (continued below…)

Segran’s conversation with Hopkins revealed some excellent background information on the business so far, and is well worth the read for that. But the biggest takeaway from our perspective involved a recurring theme that we’re starting to pick up on with modern luxury companies (MLCs).

A growing trend among MLCs: Using department stores as a marketing channel.

Here’s Hopkins:

“For us, partnering with the top department stores in the world—Bloomingdale’s in the U.S., Selfridges in London, and Myer here in Australia—is actually a marketing and branding opportunity. This was the key to us scaling quickly. It allowed us to infiltrate local markets because we’re found in stores that have already built decades of trust with customers.”

You can now count Mon Purse alongside a growing list of fellow MLCs — American Giant (CEO Bayard Winthrop told us that their Bloomingdale’s partnership in November was the perfect cross-promotion arm), and Jack Erwin (read our assessment of their wholesale partnership with Nordstrom) — who are treating department stores as opportunities for cross promotion and marketing, rather than pure sales funnels.

Here’s a big reason why this works for MLCs (who are mostly DTC), according to Hopkins: “We’ve found that whenever we show up in a department store in a particular city, our online sales from people in that city grow as well. The two things go hand-in-hand.”

Food for thought indeed.

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