Mon Purse raises $3.1 million Series A to push retail expansion and US launch

- June 23, 2016 2 MIN READ

Fashiontech startup Mon Purse, which allows customers to design their own handbags, has raised $3.1 million in a Series A round from investors including Catch Group’s Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Jonathan Lui, Rolf Krecklenberg of oo.com, and Macdoch Ventures, with Spreets founder and existing investor Justus Hammer joining the startup’s board.

Founded in 2014, the startup raised a seed funding round of around $750,000 late last year, at which point founder and CEO Lana Hopkins said Mon Purse would look to raise north of $2 million in its next round to help widen its bricks and mortar presence and expand globally.

The startup followed the Shoes of Prey model, opening a flagship bricks and mortar store of its own and then partnering with Myer to expand its retail footprint over Christmas; it now has design kiosks at Myer Melbourne and Sydney City, with further expansion around Australia to come.

The design kiosks combine the online experience by giving customers the ability to see and feel the products in person, and then design their own on the roaming iPads.

“From a retailer perspective, custom design presents an ingenuous way to rectify the problem of holding inventory, making educated guesses, and getting caught up in the markdown and promotion cycle. We are no longer guessing what customers want, instead we allow them to tell us what it is they actually need. It’s a customer centric mentality,” Hopkins said.

Gabby Leibovich said, “Mon Purse is a remarkable ‘millennial’ concept as it is fashion, tech and also experiential. For me, ideas that engage consumers and at the same time provide a valuable service, are worth investing in.”

Speaking about its seed funding last year, the startup claimed its sales were doubling week on week, thanks to a number of influencers posting about the brand. It has since brought on model and actress Jodi Anasta as a brand ambassador.

With its Series A closed, Mon Purse is now setting its sights on the US market, launching through a design collaboration with Laura Brown, executive editor of Harper’s Bazaar USA, that will see Brown design a range of capsule bags.

“We are thrilled to have Laura Brown come on board, her involvement and expertise will no doubt elevate the Mon Purse launch into the US market,” Hopkins said.

If Shoes of Prey’s success in the US market is any indicator, Mon Purse may also have significant potential: Shoes of Prey raised a US$15.5 million Series B round in December, with US retailer Nordstrom coming on board as an equity partner.

The startup’s involvement with Nordstrom goes back to 2014, when Shoes of Prey signed a deal to launch physical design studios in six Nordstrom stores across the US. The new partnership will see the launch of new studios, while the Shoes of Prey brand is now also available on Nordstrom’s online store.

Image: Lana Hopkins. Source: Supplied.