Vasquiat closes €770,000 growth-boosting funding round
Technological advancement and internationalisation are the priority levers for driving the growth of Vasquiat, the Spanish fashion marketplace led by Rafa Blanc and influencer Blanca Miró. Vasquiat, a start-up founded in Barcelona in 2018, has now completed its second funding round, raising €400,000 via Dozen, the online investment platform founded by Ramón Salvor, while a further €370,000 have been pledged by a pool of investors including the Crèdit Andorrà bank.
Vasquiat was initially set up as an invite-only fashion e-tail club that adopted a pre-order format. It took a big step forward in late 2019, when it completed a funding round worth €350,000, the financial muscle coming from Barcelona start-up aggregator Itnig, the family office of the Font family, audio-video production house Canada and business angels Mathieu Carenzo and David Meire, the latter a former director at Nike and Desigual.
“We want to automate our operations and invest in technology to meet designer demand and move from the 120 designers we currently feature to 1,000,” explained Vasquiat’s CEO Rafa Blanc. He said that Vasquiat receives up to 100 applications per month from designers who want to join the website. The marketplace charges a commission on the sales generated by the labels showcased on the site, which include Helmsted, Arizona Love, Filles à Papa and La Veste. A careful selection of labels “with an international vocation, whose inspiring, authentic brand image fits with our target segment and whose prices are consistent with our premium positioning,” all hand-picked by influencer Blanca Miró.
“We are a marketplace for emerging new designers. We believe we add value to new creative talents that do not yet have the resources to sell internationally,” said Blanc, underlining that Vasquiat aspires to be the designers’ “strategic partner.” Focusing on this goal, Vasquiat has gradually evolved its business model, side-lining its invitation-only customer recruitment strategy to become an open-access platform, and adding seasonal collections to its catalogue.
“The pre-order model is much easier to operate, you need a smaller staff to make it work. Seasonal selling, which caters to a more straightforward purchasing behaviour, one to which consumers are accustomed, is much more intensive in operational terms,” said Blanc. Currently, pre-order sales account for 30% of Vasquiat’s total revenue.
Goal is to exceed €1 million in sales
Having navigated the pandemic period without a negative impact on business and maintaining a 10% monthly growth rate, the brains behind Vasquiat are optimistic. With its team of 12, in 2021 Vasquiat aims to “improve the service provided to labels and expand its technological scope.” The marketplace is developing its own app, to be launched in 2022.
“We follow closely the work of leading players like Farfetch, MyTheresa and Net-a-Porter. But we believe in our niche. Our labels have very different needs from those of Prada or Off-White,” said Blanc talking about the competition, indicating that Vasquiat’s customers are “much younger” than those of other e-tailers.
The USA are Vasquiat’s main market, followed by Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy. Sales outside Spain account for 85% of the platform's total. While labels with roots in Barcelona, where Vasquiat recently tested physical retail with a pop-up store, account for 30% of total sales.
In the current financial year, Vasquiat aims to multiply its 2020 result by three, going beyond the €1 million sales threshold. A growth rate the Barcelona start-up intends to maintain next year too.
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