Lucinda Chambers and Serena Hood Collagerie – The modern online retail experience can be summarized as follows:
“an overload of information and choice, mindlessness that enables the endless scroll on websites, or, in the words of former long-time Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers, that all-too-relatable moment “when you’re looking for a black T-shirt and the next thing you know you have eight tabs open and have found a cute lampshade. And then probably bought it.”
Enter Collagerie, a multi-label online retailer offering a tight edit of curated lifestyle essentials (including the likes of both black tees and lampshades) sourced everywhere from mass-market brands on the high street to luxury labels and lesser-known independent designers.
The website launched less than a month ago is the brainchild of Lucinda Chambers and Serena Hood, who spent five years working together at Vogue. Chambers was Fashion Director at the title for 25 years and Hood was Executive Fashion Director, first at American, and then at British Vogue.
Eighteen months ago, the two reconnected and sought to streamline the fragmented user journey of e-commerce shopping by creating a platform to showcase high street and luxury in tandem, at a range of price points.
“It feels reflective of how modern women dress,” Hood says of Collagerie’s varied offering, inspired by the pair’s highly curatorial approach to their former jobs of selecting pieces to feature in the esteemed pages of Vogue.
Collagerie operates with affiliate partnerships through Skimlinks, a middle-man used by influencers and other websites that pays anywhere from 5-20% of an item’s price in commission fees to the startup. Not every brand on the website is a partner, but according to the co-founders, that’s not the whole point.
“We showcase products regardless of whether we’re making a commission, because it’s about sharing what we really love,” says Hood, albeit noting that as Collagerie grows and scales, trying to bring more brands under the affiliate umbrella “will be part of our job from a business perspective”.
“We’re not growing in a crazy way, but in a methodical and businesslike way,” says Chambers. “It’s manageable but exciting, and feels like we’ve built a solid foundation”. Within months, the team outgrew its original cupboard-sized space and moved to a larger West London office, where there is room to shoot new editorials for the website.
Besides the two co-founders, Collagerie currently employs three staff members, a full-time executive editor, a digital content designer and a part-time digital marketing website manager, with new positions to be advertised in the next few months.
The pair are not disclosing figures, but Hood shared that Collagerie raised a seed round of investment with five angel investors a year ago. Future investment plans are currently being evaluated with the company’s board, although they declined to name the board members. Continue reading