Digitally Native Brands Are Disrupting Retail

In the context of a contemporary fashion industry where excess outweighs individuality, Mon Purse is thinking about things a little differently. As a digitally native brand, we are more agile than most traditional retailers and we are also committed to using this advantage to deliver consumers exactly what they want, when they want it — rather than simply perpetuating a cycle of surplus. The irony, of course, is that this approach isn’t so dissimilar from the bespoke nature of age-old craftsmanship. However it is only with the most innovative new technology that we have been able to support this model today.

A digitally native vertical brand like Mon Purse is one where the brand exists on both the physical product and the website itself. Today, it is this space that’s disrupting retail most and that’s partly because vertical labels are so focused on the consumer experience. Backed by better data, we are also more committed to developing consumer intimacy and trust — without that, we couldn’t possibly exist. However, with the real time data provided by our customers, we are able to be increasingly flexible in terms of filling gaps within the market. Not months down the track, but as they appear.

In this sense, Mon Purse and other digitally native brands such as eyewear experts Warby Parker, pants specialists Bonobos and beauty powerhouse Glossier are now the ones driving innovation. This is because the power of technology has allowed each of us, in our own way, to build cult millennial brands in authentic ways. Not only to build them either, but to continue this growth by adapting to the needs of our consumers as well. In Mon Purse’s case, this means subverting a fairly stagnant handbag industry — a market in which exorbitantly-priced ‘It Bags’ once reigned supreme, without actually satisfying the modern consumer’s desire for individuality when it comes to personal style.
By turning this process on its head though, we have been able to put the design power back into the hands of our customers. This was once a norm in the age of tailor-made clothing, but has rapidly become a rarity in today’s fast-paced fashion system. Now offering more than 10 billion customization options, Mon Purse allows women and men to create the products that they feel are most ‘them’. Our progressive Bag Builder technology has allowed us to achieve this and to continue developing what’s possible for our customers, all with reference to real consumer data. This works well for shoppers too, because they no longer need to be dictated to by big brands through one-way channels. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this desire to become part of the design process first originated from my own experiences as a frustrated consumer.

Innovation and technology are now as much a part of the Mon Purse business model as supporting quality European craftsmanship, through our work with generational artisans in Italy and Turkey. We don’t compromise on the details for our customers and the direct-to-consumer model means we also have a better understanding of what works best for them. Of course, digitally native vertical brands are even more powerful when compared to traditional e-commerce too. This is because, although born online, brands like ours are then able to evolve and expand into offline spaces as well. You only have to look so far as our partnerships with global department stores such as Selfridge’s, Bloomingdales and MYER to see this in action.

So although short-term growth might be more rapid for e-commerce companies, brands like Mon Purse witness more authentic and longstanding growth potential overall. As e-commerce giants like Amazon flood that multi-brand space then and traditional retail continues to decline, digitally native vertical brands like ours retain lasting power precisely because of our consumer intimacy. By speaking directly with those men and women who shop the brand, we are not only able to grow along with them, but their brand loyalty also becomes invaluable in allowing us to weather the retail storm. After all, millennials maintain multiple forms of communication today, so developing similar relationships with their brands is the most natural progression.

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