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How Mon Purse landed in Myer

In a little over 12 months since launch, Australian e-commerce startup, Mon Purse has secured a prime position in Myer for the all-important Christmas trading period.

Mon Purse is capitalising on the trend of product personalisation and customisation in retail. The brand’s 3D online bag builder allows customers to choose the style, leather colour, interior lining and hardware. The product is then handmade in Europe, with the option of adding monogrammed names and initials before the finished product is shipped to the customer.

From this week, visitors to Myer’s Melbourne flagship will have to opportunity to experience the brand first hand. Housed in Myer’s handbag department, shoppers will be able to view stock, design their own bags and a live monogrammer will be onsite to personalise smaller items which can be taken away straightaway.

“We are delighted to welcome the enormously popular Mon Purse brand to Myer Melbourne in November 2015,” said Liz Webster, Myer group GM of cosmetics, footwear, accessories and intimate apparel.

“The popularity of personalisation has recently skyrocketed. It is an extremely on-trend fashion statement. Myer customers will love the customisation and monogram element of Mon Purse, which allows them to inject their personality into the product and create their own unique piece,” Webster said.

Mon Purse founders, Lana Hopkins and Andrew Shub, said that securing the Myer concession so quickly is all thanks to a strong team and a clear vision.

“Our team is nimble, we make decisions quickly and we are able to adapt and we are not held back by complex processes,” Hopkins said.

“What we are offering is a really exciting consumer experience in the lead up to Christmas. There will be a live monogrammer on site, so some products you can take away with you straight away.”

The Myer concession is one pillar of Mon Purse’s three-channel strategy which includes online, instore and collaborations.

Hopkins, who is CEO of Mon Purse, came up with the concept for Mon Purse at the beginning of 2014 and travelled to Turkey to find a suitable tannery and ateliers to manufacture the product.

Back in Sydney, she found developers in Sydney’s tech start-up community to build the 3D design tool. Stage one of the website launched in October 2014.

The brand took its first steps into offline retail in September of this year, opening a flagship store on Paddington’s William St. in Sydney. With an office above, the boutique holds very little stock, but allows customers to view products and the raw materials before making their choice. A live monogrammer is on site every Saturday.

Mon Purse boutique on Williams St. Paddington.

Mon Purse boutique on William St. Paddington.

“Paddington is very premium; it has a European feel to it [and] Mon Purse products are all made in Europe,” Hopkins said. “William Street is considered to be the trendiest boutique street in Sydney.”

The decision to open a store was an important part of the brand’s overall omnichannel strategy, and in part inspired by advice from Andy Dunn, founder of US e-commerce start-up Bonobos, when he visited Sydney in July for the Online Retailer Conference.

Andrew Shub, an experienced retail operator and also Mon Purse COO, is convinced that all three channels will work, albeit at different times and different paces, so long as the customer is at the centre.

“If you can provide an experience for the customer where there is no line between where the digital ends and the physical starts, they become a much bigger believer in your brand,” Shub said.

Three types of customers
At first, Mon Purse positioned itself as a destination to design a bag from scratch and to create a completely bespoke product, Hopkins said. However different kinds of customers emerged.

“We started to see with some of our smaller items, like our top-selling pouch, the monogramming started to really take off,” Hopkins said. “Then a third type of consumer came in and that consumer was all about semi-customisation – which effectively means minor alterations to an existing design for an additional cost.

“For us it is all about having the finger on the pulse, always listening, always pivot and always understand. Our proposition is the customer is at the centre.”

In the new year, Mon Purse is looking to increase its focus on international markets, particularly the US and the UK. As well as continuing to expand the product range, Hopkins said Mon Purse is working with “high profile influencers” to create their own range within the 3D bag builder.

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