My-Wardrobe.com will not last longer than 3 months, Retail Gazette can exclusively reveal.
Earlier this month, the struggling e-tailer slashed everything on its site by 40%. Now it‘s offering all stock, including new ranges, at 50% off with free delivery.
Founded in 2006 by former journalist Sarah Curran and her then husband Andrew Curran, My-Wardrobe was recognised in its infancy. It became one of the UK‘s fastest growing e-commerce businesses, claiming 100% revenue growth in the years leading up to 2010, when it secured a $9m series A invested round led by Balderton Capital.
It was supposed to be the go-to premium destination for those who couldn‘t quite afford Net-a-Porter‘s price points, but were seeking out more than the fast fashion offered by Asos. The gap was there, and brands like Paul & Joe, Carven and Joseph were just right for the My-Wardrobe customer.
Then it went wrong. In recent years an emphasis was placed on international expansion, a decision that some may have deemed as premature; the menswear division was axed, senior management was lost and investors were left unsettled.
In 2011, the founders of the business divorced, he left and in 2013, so did she. My-Wardrobe was on thin ice until it was bought out and saved in November last year. Mr Curran returned, reportedly confident, only to leave some months later.
In January this year, the pureplay went on a hiring spree. It followed with pop-up shops and even offered flight vouchers to European destinations for orders over £100, all in an effort to drive sales, a tactical purchase driver ideal for the aspirational luxury customers who love to travel – but it wasn‘t marketed properly.
“It‘s a loser in a winning market” says Jessica Fioriti, Associate Analyst at Verdict. “When it first launched, My-Wardrobe was one of a few, that and the game changing Net-a-Porter, but it fell behind rivalry like FarFetch – which offers Click and Collect – and flash sale sites like SecretSales. With My-Wardrobe constantly on sale, exclusivity of its brands has diminished.”
Customers want to attain luxury in the most affordable way. My-Wardrobe was a good idea on paper, but consumers didn’t have time to work out what differentiated it from others – that was company’s job. While customer service was worth talking about, the e-tailer didn‘t promote its proposition and in the end, there was no real USP when benchmarking with others who stocked the same brands.
My-Wardrobe declined to comment, but it is understood that current employees are looking elsewhere in preparation for the imminent closure.
Where are they now? Here are the lifelines of some of My-Wardrobe‘s key players:
June 1998 – May 2002: Subeditor, Times Online
Dec 2002 – Apr 2007: Owner and buyer, Powder Boutique
Apr 2006 – July 2013: Founder and CEO of My-Wardrobe
Dec 2013 – Aug 2014: Luxury Director, ShopDirect
Aug 2014 – Present: Managing Director, VeryExclusive (set to open in Feb 2015, coinciding with the supposed closure of My-Wardrobe)
Dec 2006 – December 2010: Co-founder and COO of My-Wardrobe
Jan 2011 – Present: Chairman, Amara
Feb 2012 – Present: CEO, LoveHats
Nov 2013 – March 2014: Returned as CEO of My-Wardrobe (by new owner Growth Capital Acquisitions which acquired the e-tailer in a pre-pack administration deal)
2000 – 2004: Commercial and Supply Chain Executive, Debenhams
2004 – 2009: Head of Direct, Debenhams
2009 – 2012: Director, Harrods Direct
2012 – Nov 2013: CEO of My-Wardrobe (rumours are th