Rejoice, oh all ye online shoppers, because Avenue 32 is yet another (but delightfully different) mecca for browsers of the fashion kind. The site was launched in 2011 and took a few months to get going, but by now it’s a serious rival for Net-A-Porter, and according to its website, already voted by Vogue UK as the second-best online fashion retailer.
The persona behind Avenue 32 is Roberta Benteler with co-founder Juri von Randow, and the concept is that of a platform for designers, both established and just emerging, to have their own shop and their own presentation, with a little expert editorial assistance. Roberta comes from a strong background of both finance and fashion (read her story at her blog; it’s irresistible) and the Avenue 32 team includes Erin Mullaney, formerly the Buying Director for Browns.
Roberta says she has been an avid online shopper for years, and with her experience working for a young designer plus her finance-oriented education and passion for fashion, the idea for an outlet that brings designers and consumers together was the natural outgrowth. She says her own online shopping tended to be frustrating because of the relative lack of selection and the fact that many sites were just ‘not engaging enough’.
With the plethora of shopping options online, Roberta thinks that today’s online consumers are much more sophisticated and picky than they used to be, and she knows that many new designers find it very difficult to get their message and product across effectively. Avenue 32 is meant to support and cater to both the designer and the customer and make it easier for them to connect.
Avenue 32 differs somewhat from Net-A-Porter and other sites such as Mytheresa in that each designer curates his or her own shop within the e-store. They control their individual content and how it’s presented, but the Avenue 32 staff consults with each one and suggests the styles and ranges that they believe will work best on the site. Photography, warehousing, marketing, shipping etc. are handled by the company, meaning designers can earn more than with typical wholesale models.