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How To Innovate And Keep Up With The Quick-Changing Landscape Of Luxury Retail

An interview with the founder of Lootie (the leading marketplace for streetwear) whose path offers much for us to learn.

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What if you could have the excitement of in-store shopping (particularly luxury) from the comfort and safety of your home?

It’s not news that our shopping habits are changing, and it appears that they will continue to do so. With global lockdowns leading to halts and/or reductions in physical shopping outside of essentials, online shopping has surged.

However, the luxury sector has historically relied on a well-designed, high-touch, in-store experience. Online shopping removes this experience. 

One company set out to make this a reality. Enter Lootie, whose entire model is based around the excitement of a mystery box full of luxury goods, focused on streetwear brands like Supreme, Off-white, and Yeezy. 

I connected with Lootie’s founder, Oscar Selster, to learn more about the concept and see what we can glean about the future of luxury fashion and consumer behavior and what it’s like to launch a luxury-goods company during a global pandemic.

Darrah Brustein: What inspired you to start Lootie, particularly during our current global crisis?

Oscar Selster: I have always been a big fan of fashion, especially streetwear. In the streetwear community, physical mystery boxes have become an increasingly popular concept. Watching this trend, we noticed several things we could improve. All these improvements together became what is known today as Lootie. 

Oscar Selster, PHOTO COURTESY OF OSCAR SELSTER

Brustein: Two common barriers-to-purchase for consumers of high-end products online are verification of authenticity and price. How have you addressed those, if at all?

Selster: We focused primarily on both of these. By using third-party authentication platforms like Stockx, we were able to give all our customers the guarantee of authentic products. Together with using third-party platforms for authentication, and taking mystery boxes online, we were able to cut costs drastically.

Brustein: Digital sales are a crowded landscape. How did you break through the noise and get your initial customers?

Selster: We launched in March and reached out to influencers on social media. We were quickly favored by over one million customers by October. 

Brustein: What advice do you have for our readers on how to build and secure partnerships with influencers?

Selster:  Finding the right influencer is not an easy task. It’s important to find one with an audience that is relevant to your niche. A common mistake is to get blinded by numbers like subscribers and likes, but in reality, you should focus on the relevance to your specific target audience. Make sure to research influencers and their communities, and evaluate whether or not they are a good fit. I strongly recommend picking an influencer who will genuinely like your product and, therefore, proudly advertise it. In 2020, people take great notice of sponsorships that are only done for the money.

Brustein: It sounds like you had massive success using social media as a marketing tool. Can you share more about that?

Selster: We have been able to establish a strong customer base of Gen Z consumers, which is definitely caused by our strong presence on Youtube and Instagram. Our customer base is highly active on social media, primarily shops online, and turns to influencers for style inspiration. Social media influencers, therefore, play a critical role in connecting our brand with consumers. Throughout this year, we have built several strong relationships with some of the biggest influencers in the streetwear community. 

Brustein: Will you continue to rely on social media for your growth strategy? Do you forecast a similar growth trajectory going into the year ahead?

Selster: We have many partnerships underway. Although our products are loved at the moment, it may not remain so forever. We keep our ears and eyes open, and listen to what the people want. The moment people start asking for a particular box or feature, we will add it. It’s all about adapting to the marketplace and being at the top of your game. The best can only stay the best with consistent quality. While seeing business booming is rewarding, what’s more personally rewarding for me is making people happy. That’s the true gift of all of this — all I can hope to do is enable Lootie to make as many people happy as possible. We need more joy in the world, especially right now. That’s my primary goal.

Want more success and fulfillment in your life? Then check out this free masterclass with Deepak Chopra and me. In it, we share the 5 key things you need to know to create a more meaningful life!

This article was originally published on Forbes.

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