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January 30 2014

19:00
One Kings Lane Raises $112M At A $912M Valuation In A Quest To Dominate Home Goods Online
one-kings-laneOne Kings Lane, an ecommerce company for home decor and furniture, has raised $112 million in Series E funding, bringing the company's total funding to date to $229 million. The round was led by new investor, investment firm Mousse Partners with two public market institutional investors (wish to remain undisclosed) also joining as new investors in the round. The company's post-money valuation in the round was just shy of $1 billion, at $912 million (up from $440 million in the company's Series C round).

October 20 2011

15:00
Home Decor Flash Sales Site One Kings Lane Nabs Former eBay Exec As CFO
dinesh
Fresh off a $40 million raise, flash sales site for home décor, furnishings and accessories One Kings Lane, is bringing on a new CFO from eBay, Dinesh Lathi. In his new role, Lathi will lead finance, operations and customer service for the retail asite and will join the company's management team. Previously, Lathi was employed by eBay where he spent nearly seven years. He most recently served as vice president of managed marketplace and seller experience and was a member of the global marketplaces executive staff. While at eBay, Lathi and his team were responsible for a number of the core marketplace products including the Top Rated Seller Program, Buyer Protection, Fashion Vault, Daily Deal, Store Subscriptions and Zero Insertion Fees.

July 10 2011

15:40

Nearing 2M Members, One Kings Lane Lands A Lucrative Endorsement From Bravo

I happened to be watching my new favorite show, Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, last week and noticed a very familiar name. The show, which follows five LA-based, high-end interior designers in their industry, prominently featured One Kings Lane, the Kleiner Perkins and Greylock-backed flash sales site for home décor, furnishings and accessories.

In an episode that aired a few weeks ago, One Kings Lane was co-hosting a party with one of the decorators, Nathan Turner, to celebrate a new curated sale from Turner featuring hand-picked furniture and accessories from India. The site actually got a ton of air time, and even featured co-founder Susan Feldman (pictured in the post with Turner). The Turner-curated sale on One Kings Lane (which featured the Bravo endorsement) started the following morning after the episode aired and One Kings Lane saw most items sold out within minutes.

This past week’s episode again featured One Kings Lane as part of the story line, with celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard accompanying Feldman and another One Kings Lane employee to London to pick out items for a similar curated sale. One Kings Lane got much more air time in this past episode, and when the sale hit the next morning, the event was 96 percent sold out 3 hours into the start of the Bullard-London sale. And Wednesday was all time high for daily new member acquisitions, thanks to the feature on the show.

A Bravo endorsement is a big deal for the flash sales site, considering the channel is seeing record viewership among adults ages 18 to 49. Feldman tells us that the site was originally doing a Tastemaker Tag sale with Turner last year, and One Kings Lane actually took a TV crew with them to film the journey in the effort of pitching Bravo with the idea to use the flash sales site in the reality TV show. Upon return, Feldman says Bravo ended promoting the startup in the show because of the strategic fit.

Nowadays, broadcast is traditionally not thought of as a “direct action” marketing channel for web startups. But this example with One Kings Lane and Bravo (who has also featured partnerships with Foursquare and Shazam) demonstrates the power of connecting broadcast to next generation commerce, such as the flash sales model.

One Kings Lane has proven that a niche commerce model can not only draw a large userbase (the company is nearing 2 million users, says Feldman), but see revenue growth as well. The startup grew revenue over 500 percent from 2009 to 2010. In this Wall Street Journal interview, One Kings Lane CEO Doug Mack says that he expects to continue this growth (by “hundreds of percent”) this year as well. And more than 75 percent of sales come from repeat customers (I happen to fall into this category).

The truth of the matter is that commerce is evolving and promotional deals with networks, technology companies and other content providers is just one way in which flash sales sites are innovating. Gilt has been combining editorial with commerce in its foodie site Gilt Taste as well as in its Home And Furniture vertical. And Gilt just launched an interesting deal with in-flight WiFi company Gogo Wireless to offer exclusive in-air deals and free access on the flash sales site.

Celebrity partnerships are another way that flash sales sites are trying to draw business and engage with users. One Kings Lane featured a deal with actress Gwyneth Paltrow to promote her new cookbook and held and event in New York in her honor as well. Gilt and Lady Gaga teamed up for a curates dale featuring Gaga-inspired merchandise, access to Gaga events and more.

Feldman explains that not every celebrity or broadcast partnership is the right one. It’s important to make sure the brands fit, she explains, “where there is good synergy, there’s a win-win for everyone.”



June 16 2011

22:15

One Kings Lane’s Downstairs Offers Discounts On Discounts

It’s no secret we’re big fans of One Kings Lane, a Kleiner Perkins and Greylock-backed flash sales site for home décor, furnishings and accessories. Today, the e-commerce startup is launching a new feature called Downstairs, which will give the site’s members deeper discounts on a selection of items; with prices up to 80 percent off retail.

Until now, discounts have remained in the 50 percent off range so One Kings Lane is now discounting these already discounted goods even more. “Downstairs,” (which seems like a flash sales site’s version of Nordstrom Rack or Filene’s Basement) will still feature many of the brands and designers that One Kings Lane includes in its sales, but selection will change on a weekly basis and there will be a more limited availability.

The new feature will launch June 19. And I’m curious if a more deeply discounted, regularly stocked vertical will become a increasingly common feature on flash sales sites with more inventory.

One Kings Lane has been on a tear of late, raising $23 million in new funding, and revealing 500 percent sales growth in 2010.



March 20 2011

14:26

Why Women Rule The Internet

Editor’s note:  This guest post is written by Aileen Lee, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.  Aileen focuses on investing in early stage consumer internet ventures and previously  worked at Gap, Odwalla, The Northface and Morgan Stanley.  She was also founding CEO of KP-backed RMG Networks.  Full disclosure: some of the companies mentioned below are KP-backed companies.  You can read more about Aileen at KPCB.com and follow her on twitter at @aileenlee.

It feels like we’re in a Golden Age of the web, led by consumer internet services and e-commerce.  Just consider these stats: Facebook—over 600 million users.  Twitter—25 billion tweets last year. Tumblr—1 billion page views a week.  Zynga—100 million users on Cityville in just 6 weeks.  We’re witnessing a generation of consumer web companies growing at an unprecedented rate in terms of both user adoption and revenue.

But here’s a little secret that’s gone unnoticed by most.  It’s women.  Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest growing, and most valuable consumer internet and e-commerce companies.  Especially when it comes to social and shopping, women rule the Internet.

Consider some more data. Comscore, Nielsen, MediaMetrix and Quantcast studies all show women are the driving force of the most important net trend of the decade, the social web. Comscore says women are the majority of users of social networking sites and spend 30% more time on these sites than men; mobile social network usage is 55% female according to Nielsen.

In e-commerce, female purchasing power is also pretty clear.  Sites like Zappos (>$1 billion in revenue last year), Groupon ($760m last year), Gilt Groupe ($500m projected revenue this year), Etsy (over $300m in GMV last year), and Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year) are all driven by a majority of female customers.  According to Gilt Groupe, women are 70% of the customer base and they drive 74% of revenue.  And 77% of Groupon’s customers are female according to their site.

Women even shop more onChegg, which offers textbook rentals on college campuses across the country. Males and females attend college at an almost even rate. Renting would seem an equal opportunity money saver, plus it’s better for the planet.  But according to Chegg, females are 65% of renters.  Why? Renting requires a little more advanced planning.  Chegg’s research shows women are more inclined to plan ahead than men. And, they seem to care more about saving money, and are more likely to be influenced by a friend’s recommendation.

It’s no accident Amazon.com launched a program called “Amazon Mom” last year, or that they bought both Zappos and Quidsi (parent company of Diapers.com, Beauty.com and Soap.com) for almost $1.8 billion in total.  According to the US Census Bureau, women oversee over 80% of consumer spending, or about $5 trillion dollars annually. Women control the purse strings when it comes to disposable income. That’s long been the case.

But what’s different now is that there is an exciting new crop of e-commerce companies building real revenue and real community, really fast, by purposefully harnessing the power of female consumers.  One Kings Lane, Plum District, Stella & Dot, Rent the Runway, Modcloth, BirchBox, Shoedazzle, Zazzle, Callaway Digital Arts, and Shopkick are just a few examples of companies leveraging “girl power.”  The majority of these companies were also founded by women, which is also an exciting trend.

And take a look at four of the new “horsemen” of the consumer web—Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and Twitter.  This may surprise you, the majority of all four properties’ users are female.  Make that “horsewomen”.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has talked about how women are not only the majority of its users, but drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity.  Women have 8% more Facebook friends on average than men, and spend more time on the site.  According to an early Facebook team member, women played a key role in the early days by adopting three core activities—posting to walls, adding photos and joining groups—at a much higher rate than males.  If females had not adopted in the early days, I wonder if Facebook would be what it is today. (Why do you think all the guys showed up?)

How about gaming, seemingly a bastion of men in their man caves?  The titan of social gaming, Zynga, says 60% of players are female.  And a survey by PopCap shows females are the majority of social and casual game players. In fact, they note the average social gamer is likely a 43-year-old woman.

And more women use Twitter, which has a reputation for being a techie insider’s (i.e., male) product.  Women follow more people, tweet more, and have more followers on average than men, according to bloggers Dan Zarella and Darmesh Shaw’s analyses.

Brian Solis’s analysis shows females are the majority of visitors on the following sites, which he calls “matriarchys”:  Twitter, Facebook, Deli.ci.ous, Docstoc, Flickr, Myspace, Ning, Upcoming.org, uStream, Classmates.com, Bebo and Yelp.  The one “patriarchy” site he notes, where males > females:  Digg.

Yes, women also rock sites like Opentable and Yelp. According to Yelp, while half of their traffic is male, the majority of contributors and ecommerce purchasers are female.  And according to OpenTable, the majority of bookings are overwhelmingly made by females.  Why?  Likely because women drive most decisions about where to go and where to eat.

Perhaps none of this is surprising.  Women are thought to be more social, more interested in relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking.  There is also anthropological research to back this up.  Dave Morin of Path introduced me to Dunbar’s Number, proposed by the anthropologist Robin Dunbar.  The number is the theoretical limit of how many people with whom one can maintain stable relationships (thought to be 150).  But Dunbar’s most recent research shows there are different numbers for women than men—that women are able to maintain quantitatively more relationships within every ring of closeness than men.  Knowing that is an important factor if you want to build and stoke social network effects.  More female users will likely help your company grow faster.

So, if you’re at a consumer web company, how can this insight help you.  Would you like to lower your cost of customer acquisition?  Or grow revenue faster?  Take a look at your product, your marketing, your customer base.  Maybe you would benefit from having a larger base of female customers.  If so, what would you change to make your product/service more attractive to female customers?  Do you do enough product and user interface testing with female users?  Have you figured out how to truly unleash the shopping and social power of women?

You could also take a look at your team.  Do you have women in key positions? If you’re planning on targeting female customers, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to have great women on your team.

If you are already targeting female customers, have great women working in your company, and are seeing strong commerce and social network effects, congratulations.  You are likely trying to figure out how to handle hypergrowth right now.  Plus your office probably smells pretty good.

Women are the routers and amplifiers of the social web.  And they are the rocket fuel of ecommerce.  The ongoing debate about women in tech has been missing a key insight. If you figure out how to harness the power of female customers, you can rock the world.



February 11 2011

20:15

How E-Commerce Got its Groove Back

James Slavet is a partner at Greylock Partners, and just co-led the new $23 million financing of One Kings Lane.

E-commerce was an innovation wasteland for most of the past decade. While social media companies such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were growing exponentially, breakthrough new commerce start-ups have been few and far between. As our friends at First Round Capital noted in this blog post, 7 out of the top 15 sites on the Web were started in the past decade but only 1 of the top 15 e-commerce sites was started during this same period. Who was that new, major e-commerce entrant? Umm, NewEgg.

There haven’t been many exciting financial outcomes, either. I’m not talking about pioneers such as Amazon or eBay but the start-ups that came later. Sure, there are a few, such as Zappos, Diapers.com and Stubhub, but not many.

Classic e-commerce businesses were mostly saddled with high customer acquisition costs (loads of Google Adwords spend), low customer retention (one-off transactions), and operating models that consumed cash (due to warehouses full of inventory).

But the e-commerce market is big and ripe for innovation. E-commerce is now more than four times the size of the annual online advertising market. Yet it’s only four percent penetrated.

Better Models Emerge

The same trends that have driven innovation elsewhere on the Web – social, local and mobile – are now driving an emerging class of opportunities in e-commerce. A few years ago, a wave of entrepreneurs started engineering new social commerce models and this innovation is paying off in the form of rapidly growing businesses.

This emerging class of companies features Groupon in local commerce, Gilt in private sales and also earlier-stage start-ups in areas including subscription commerce (Shoedazzle), mobile commerce (Shopkick) and next generation marketplaces (Airbnb). Social commerce entrepreneurs have architected fundamentally better models. They’ve replaced consumer experiences that were uninspiring and overwhelming with experiences that are curated, exciting and addictive. They’ve reduced customer acquisition costs through word-of-mouth promotion and improved lifetime customer value by re-engaging customers on a regular basis. They’ve also produced more efficient operating models by holding little-to-no inventory and getting paid by customers before they have to pay vendors.

Now there are hundreds of start-ups racing around the social commerce track. When evaluating new investments at Greylock, we ask ourselves what will be the defining characteristics of the few companies that make it to the winner’s circle?

One company we’re excited about is One Kings Lane, a promising start-up founded in late 2008 and based in San Francisco. We just announced an investment in the company this morning. One Kings Lane is focused on helping people find high-quality products at great values for home and living, such as furniture, accessories, art, kitchenware, food and wine. We think the company illustrates a few characteristics that will be common among successful social commerce start-ups.

Left Brain, Right Brain

The most successful social commerce teams will combine highly-developed right and left brains. The right brain is essential from the earliest days of a company’s life. By right brain I mean the instincts and passion to recognize and deliver an experience that will resonate in a deep, authentic way with the customer. Most v 1.0 e-commerce sites didn’t seem to use much of the right brain. In social commerce the experience starts with identifying great merchandise that’s unique and hard to find—you can’t just get it anywhere. The experience extends to story-telling so that the company describes the merchandise in a compelling way. In the end, it is wrapped up in a brand and experience that customers are excited to identify with and participate in.

In e-commerce operations there are never-ending opportunities for the left brain to test, iterate and improve. The best companies relentlessly crunch data generated from initial customer contacts through to transactions.

The One Kings Lane launch team nailed the initial customer experience. They provided access to “accessible luxury” through a curated selection of unique, high quality products for the home refreshed on a daily basis and sold at reasonable prices. One Kings Lane arrived like a trusted, knowledgeable, stylish friend to help shoppers (mostly women) on their never-ending quest to find great products to decorate their homes and entertain. It was the team’s highly-functioning right brain that recognized and tastefully marketed the truly great finds.

But the One Kings Lane team, including CEO Doug Mack, founders Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman and a management team drawn from Walmart.com, eBay, Amazon, Zappos and Netflix, also represents some of the more highly-tuned left brains in online retail today.

Some teams’ brains are strong on the right or the left, but the magic comes when they’re strong on both sides.

Addicts and Evangelists

In the past, even the best known e-commerce companies grew at a linear pace and acquired the vast majority of their traffic through a combination of paid marketing and SEO. Commerce didn’t take off right away through Facebook and Twitter because the products and the experiences most people engage with on classic e-commerce sites were engineered for simplicity, speed, and comprehensiveness. They just weren’t exciting, fun or interesting enough to warrant sharing with friends.

What makes a social commerce business work at the core is an experience that is fundamentally worth sharing. The act of sharing involves social capital – you’re withdrawing a deposit from the social capital account with a friend when you share something lame with him, and you’re earning social capital when you share something cool.

Most social commerce companies do spend money on marketing (in some cases lots of it) but the key difference is that their ROI on paid marketing is amplified by high lifetime value customers (addicts) and viral spread (evangelists). This amplification is what’s driving the near exponential growth and increasing defensibility of breakout social commerce companies. When customers are addicted and willingly infect their friends, strong companies get stronger and become ever more difficult to beat.

I first discovered One Kings Lane through my wife and her friends. The women in our neighborhood were showing signs of One King’s Lane addiction. Online products that inspire this kind of daily habit are unusual. One King’s Lane customers are their greatest champions and the company is acquiring the majority of their customers through word of mouth.

Markets, Not Just Mechanics

Social commerce companies are adopting a range of mechanics that have proven successful in driving user behavior in other kinds of existing social products – including invitation-based access, time-limited sales, daily emails, offers tied to friend referrals and achievements. Over time, I think we will see more e-commerce companies attempt to replicate the mechanics of existing players. Some will execute well on these features, most will not.

But the ultimate driver of new valuable social commerce businesses will be based on the potential of the underlying market the company is addressing. Is it a big enough market? Is it poorly served by existing players?

We were attracted to One Kings Lane’s vertical focus. There are very few consumer verticals that aren’t already dominated by an existing online brand. The market for home décor products is under served and massive: $150 billion. Think about this question: Who is the defining Web-native e-commerce brand today for home décor products? It doesn’t exist. Williams Sonoma generates billions in annual revenue but lacks unique selection. There’s a huge amount of vendor fragmentation in the space, which makes it hard for consumers to discover new brands.

One Kings Lane is emerging as the leading e-commerce player in the home décor vertical and the business opportunity is about more than just daily emails or events – it’s about successfully addressing a massive, underserved market.

A new generation of breakout social commerce companies is emerging. It’s an exciting time to shop!

*Disclosure: Greylock Partners is invested in some of the companies mentioned in this post: Airbnb, Facebook, Groupon, LinkedIn, One Kings Lane and Shopkick.

This article was also posted on the Greylock Partners blog here.



10:00

One Kings Lane Grows 500% In 2010, Takes $23 Million Investment


One Kings Lane, cofounded by Zynga CEO Mark Pincus’ wife Alison Pincus, has raised its second round of financing.

And it’s a big one – $23 million in a round led by Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Kleiner is a previous investor, as is Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman. The size of that previous round was never announced. Previous investors First Round Capital, as well as Hoffman, also invested in this round. As did TriplePoint Capital and Marissa Mayer (this is the first investment by Marissa that we’ve heard about).

The company also says that 2010 sales were up 500% over 2009, and more than 75% of sales come from repeat customers.

One Kings Lane is like Groupon with daily deals, but only handles upscale products for the home. Furniture, bedding, art, stuff like that. I’m a regular customer there, and the good stuff always sells out very quickly each morning.

The Pincus family is turning into a bit of an entrepreneurial dynasty.



January 18 2011

00:00

One Kings Lane Buys Publishing Design Firm Helicopter To Boost Editorial Content

Flash sales site One Kings Lane has made its first acquisition today, purchasing publishing design firm Helicopter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

We’re big fans of One Kings Lane, the Kleiner Perkins backed startup cofounded by Ali Pincus and Susan Feldman. The site offers deep, limited discounts on home décor, furnishings, accessories, and gifts.

Helicopter is a design consultancy that has worked for a number of well-known publishers including Condé Nast, Time, Hachette, Hearst and The Wall Street Journal. Helicopter is best known for launching Domino magazine, redesigning Jane magazine and WSJ magazine.

Helicopter’s expertise will be used to bring “design and content capabilities” to the online retailers. According to a release issued, Helicopter will help develop and curate original content around home decorating, interior decorators, gift-giving, entertaining and more.

With new talent, leadership and a new acquisition, One Kings Lane’s business appears to be booming. Last fall, the company told us that revenue grew 500% since 2009, and grew another 60% within a three month period. And more than 50% of customers make repeat purchases.

Ensuring a retail site focused on home decorating has proper design elements isn’t surprising. But what’s interesting is that the startup is going to be incorporating more editorial content into the flash sales site, which should add an interesting element to the competition, which includes flash sales giant Gilt Groupe. If done right, this could be a win for One Kings Lane.



October 07 2010

17:42

One Kings Lane Hires 10 Year eBay Veteran Greg Fant To Head Marketing

Flash commerce site One Kings Lane continues to tear things up. The Kleiner Perkins backed startup cofounded by Ali Pincus (Zynga’s Mark Pincus is her husband) has just hired Greg Fant as Chief Marketing Officer.

Fant is a ten year veteran of eBay – his most recent job, ending today, was vice president of North America marketing where he managed a team of more than 100 employees.

In a recent post we noted that One Kings Lane was hiring a chief financial and marketing officer. CEO Doug Mack says that they are still looking for their CFO.

And revenue is supposedly on a tear. The company simply won’t disclose or even hint at how large sales are, but we’re digging. What they will say is that revenue grew 500% since last year, and grew another 60% in the last three months alone. Our guess is revenues are in the low tens of millions – anything less and they probably wouldn’t be able to hire this caliber of employee at C-level executive positions.



September 16 2010

04:00

One Kings Lane May Have A Little Groupon In Them

One Kings Lane isn’t just a hot flash commerce site. It’s a hot commerce site that has been backed by Kleiner Perkins, First Round Capital and Reid Hoffman. And cofounder Ali Pincus is married to Mark Pincus of Zynga fame.

The site launched in May 2009 and offers users deeply discounted high end home furnishings via daily sales. Like Groupon most of the inbound traffic comes from daily emails sent out to registered users. And repeat buyers are basically camping out on the site, driving 80% of total orders. The really rabid ones don’t even wait for the email, they just hit the site at 8 am to buy stuff before it sells out.

Revenue is nicely up and to the right, up 500% over last year. New CEO Doug Mack started in May when the company had 30 employees. Today they have 65 and are hiring like crazy.

They’ll announce three new executive hires tomorrow – Ed Komo as vice president of engineering, Jim Liefer as vice president of operations and Yulie Kim as head of product. This group has experience from Walmart.com, eBay and Hotwire…and in the case of Ed, the dreaded Jigsaw.

I’m a customer of One Kings Lane, and have made a few purchases for my new house. They always have really interesting curated stuff for sale at every price range, and they buying process is simple. Like Groupon and Gilt they seem to have found a business model that really works.

It works so well, in fact, that it isn’t out of the question that the Pincus household could have not just one but two IPOs in the coming years – Zynga and One Kings Lane.

Mack is aggressively building out his executive team, he tells me. They are recruiting a VP Marketing and a CFO right now. So if you’re looking, they may be the right fit for you.



August 22 2010

19:02

One Kings Lane: Q3 Sales Up 500 Percent; ‘We’re Not Afraid Of Gilt’

Flash sales sites like Gilt Groupe have proven to not only be a popular e-commerce experience, but also a profitable business model. In fact, Gilt is on track to hit $450 million in revenue this year, with rumors of an IPO swirling. But while Gilt pioneered clothing and accessory-focused flash sales, One Kings Lane entered the space last year as one of the first sites to go after the home goods market.

Launched in April of 2009, One Kings Lane runs brand- and theme-specific sales, at least two to three per day, five days a week. During the 72-hour window that items are on sale, members have can move to purchase limited quantity of hand-selected home goods products at significantly reduced prices. Luxury items range from Ralph Lauren home accessories, to Missoni towels to Frette sheets.

Founded by Alison Gelb Pincus (the wife of Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus) and Susan Feldman, One Kings Lane raised an undisclosed amount of funding from led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, First Round Capital and angel investor Reid Hoffman last December.

However, as other flash sales site, such as Gilt and Ideeli; have entered the luxury home goods vertical, One Kings Lane is now facing a considerable amount of competition to the space. But Pincus doesn’t seem to be to worried about the added players in the arena and tells me that she welcomes the challenge of competing with Gilt in the home goods space.

Pincus and Feldman just brought on a new CEO Doug Mack, a seasoned e-commerce exec. Mack co-founded Scene7, a rich media platform provider for the e-commerce industry, which was eventually sold to Adobe. The site has also added Tastemaker Tag Sales, which allows renown interior designers to create curated sales of items that reflect their style. Mack tells me that these sales are meant to give users fresh content and design inspiration from professionals. And for designers, Tastemaker Tag sales are an opportunity to draw attention to their brand and style.

And One Kings Lane is seeing significant growth. Q3 sales are up 561 percent year over year and the site is seeing high loyalty from consumers, with more than 50% of customers as repeat purchasers. One Kings Lane is now getting into other verticals and will be launching food category in the near future.

It should be interesting to see how One Kings Lane continues to compete with challengers like Gilt. One way the startup could drive traffic is via partnerships with retail stores. Gilt just launched a sale with Target to feature the store’s designer-created home goods and fashions. While One Kings Lane would want to retain its focus on the luxury home goods market, a deal with stores like Restoration Hardware or Design Within Reach could be a good fit.

Regardless, the flash sales model for e-commerce is here to stay and One Kings Lane is proving that vertical-focused sites can grow in the crowded space.



April 01 2010

15:16

Groupon Goes Ultra-Chic With Luxury Private Sale Site Groupöupon

Poking fun at their more gilded competitors, group-buying site Groupon announced its launch of Groupöupon. As far as April Fool’s jokes go, the site is pretty convincing. It’s actually not far off from some of the pitches we see for elitist group buying startups. I was almost fooled, until I saw the umlaut (a bit much), and the fact that for each featured item, Groupöupon’s price is actually higher than the crossed-out original price.

The luxury private sale site features items such as sleeves made from “ostrich neck, baleen, pressed toucan beak, snakeskin (heated), and mane” ($6,500 for just a pair of sleeves, shirt not included), a Sleke watch that “eliminates the most cumbersome element of traditional watches—the face” ($14,500 for a right-hand model, $18,000 for a left-hand one), crowns ($68,000), and a money collage ($250,000).

Before you can join this exclusive buying gröup, you need to place your eye up to a “retinal scanner” on the site so that Groupöupon “can check your identity against our online database of confidential tax records.” Prospective members are also asked to supply documentation showing their net worth, along with any of the following proofs of status:

  • Domestic organizational chart (must show a minimum of 20-40 servants)
  • Audio recording of you properly annunciating the dictionary
  • Photos with celebrities and public officials are encouraged (photos taken at book signings will not be considered)
  • Fitting records for white tuxedos
  • Silver-mine deeds
  • Explanation of how carats are used differently when measuring diamonds vs. when measuring ivory
  • Sex tapes

This one gets an A+.

Here’s the definitive list of 2010 April Fools jokes




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