Do you remember Wardroba, the e-commerce and social platform launched by three Part Time MBA Alumni?
The startup, born at MIP and incubated by Polihub, has evolved over the years and now it’s ready for a new adventure.
Indeed, a couple of months ago, the digital platform went physical, opening its first temporary shop in Milan.
As we love keeping in touch with our #Growingleaders, we arranged an interview with Federico Della Bella, one of the founders of Wardroba, to discuss the next steps with him.
Wardroba was born as a “digital startup”. Why did you decide to open a physical store?
When the business was launched, there was a proliferation of digital platforms which were aimed at increasing the amount of time people spent online.
Wardroba’s USP consisted in its “social” features, like the possibility of sharing your favourite outfits with your friends or of taking inspiration from trendsetters’ and opinion leaders’ selections.
The platform displayed both products on sale and items selected by users for their “digital wardrobe”, confusing customers about what they could actually buy. Thus, the platform evolved, giving up the social media dimension and focusing on e-commerce.
This process of evolution reached its apex last year, thanks to a capital increase and the arrival of new team members. In point of fact, Wardroba welcomed Francesco Mantegazzini, a famous Italian Business Angel, and Luca Donnini, former Guess Europe and MaxMara President. The latter brought with him the experience and the authority in the world of fashion that Wardroba needed.
This served as the occasion for investing in many activities, like our first pop-up store, located in the heart of Milan.
The temporary store has just closed: what are your takeaways from this experience?
This shop was a test and it has had quite a positive result. We discovered that selling online is more difficult than selling offline, where customers can see the quality of the products with their own eyes. Certainly, this is particularly true for brands that are less well known.
This kind of product necessitates an omnichannel approach: we need to lead online customers offline and vice versa. Indeed, both channels are important: online you can promote the brand, while offline you make your products more accessible.
The takeaways from this experience have been multiple. We learned a lot about prices, the kind of items and services customers prefer, the mistakes to avoid…
It seems that this experience has taught you a lot! Are there any tips that you would like to share with our students and entrepreneurs-to-be?
My first tip is to test your idea, even with a low budget. Invest some money to discover whether the public is interested in your services.
At Wardroba, for example, we focused more on our ideas than on the real needs of customers. It was a mistake that we could have avoided by testing the platform on the market.
My second tip is to place proper emphasis on your University or Incubator. For us, the brands Politecnico, MIP and Polihub represented a tremendous plus because of their prestige – for both their network and their excellent reputation as Institutions.