So, what’s Martha Louisa?
According to the new website, it’s “the new luxury destination for shoes”.
It’s been just over three years since the partners sold their luxury boutique to Neiman Marcus Group for just about $186 million.
So why now?
Well, due to a contractual obligation, the couple were on a mandated break from the industry.
And with a very oversaturated, yet competitive luxury e-commerce market ( according to Bain & Company, is expected to account for 25 percent of luxury sales by 2025), this gave the couple the perfect amount of time to really map out and best prepare for their next move.
In an interview with BoF, Susanne opens up about the mandated break, saying:
“I probably would have started the next day if I hadn’t been forced to hold back and sit tight. But in retrospect, it was a good time for making up our minds and getting our heads clear.”
But also mentions that the selection of luxury goods available online today has become overwhelming:
“[Large e-tailers] buy every style in every version and colorway to fulfill their enormous buying budgets. And the customer has to really dig deep. We know people lose interest after the second page.”
With that in mind, the power couple decided on Martha Louisa – a website dedicated to high-end footwear for women.
The website is set to officially launch in March 2018 and from what you can see currently, the website gives off a very approachable, playful and feminine vibe.
So, why tackle footwear?
According to Bain & Company, footwear happens to be the fastest growing luxury category online, with very few specialist sites in the space.
And while this seems like a perfect opportunity, it’s important to note the major barriers to entering the luxury e-commerce business.
Not only is customer acquisition costly but it’s also time consuming.
But of course, it doesn’t stop there.
Finding a system that can manage inventory and also ship internationally quickly and accurately, is both logistically challenging and expensive to scale.
For Martha Louisa, the Botschens have decided on the wholesale model.
With that, comes some pros and cons:
Wholesalers are better at curating their product selection while also being able to control almost every aspect of the customer experience.
Wholesalers have to take on significant inventory risk and have high working capital requirements.
But the Botschens have already proven that the model can work and they have zero intention or trying to “invent a new wheel,” says Christophe.
But before finalizing their decision to launch Martha Louisa, the couple knew they needed to secure the right brand partners.
So, they went on a “road show” to test the concept with some of their former vendors:
- Miu Miu
- Saint Laurent
Thankfully the concept was well received. But the founders say these partnerships would not have been possible without their proven track record.
“They know that we always respected pricing, sales, their DNA — there is a trust that we have built.”
And addition to the mentioned brands above, the following have also joined;
- Bottega Veneta
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Gianvito Rossi
- Proenza Schouler
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Stella McCartney
Founder of Aquazzura, Edgardo Osorio says:
“Susanne and Christoph were one of my first European clients with MyTheresa when I launched Aquazzura.”
And also mentions:
“With Martha Louisa, I think they are bringing a different online concept, in a market that has so much growth potential.”
And in terms of the Martha Louisa edit, you can expect “the best styles in their best versions” that truly represent the distinctive qualities of each brand.
Martha Louisa will also feature smaller names, such as:
- Brother Vellies
- Le Monde Beryl
- Marais USA
- Vibi Veneza