Maxuri aims to dispel the myth that one can never sell luxury goods online
I first heard of Maxuri from a friend who was working in a local startup.
“There is this new startup in my building,” he messaged me one day. “You should definitely write something about them.”
“And why would I?
“Because they are selling A SUBMARINE on their site!”
Months later, I finally get to sit with co-founders Andy Roberts and Sophie Gorecki at their office in South Jakarta to understand what this new startup is all about.
“Maxuri is an online luxury marketplace,” Roberts explained. “We have handbags, jewelleries, both new and pre-owned. We also have yachts, properties, fine vases, premium scotch and wine, and a submarine on the website. And we want to get into jet packs, arts, and memorabilia.”
And do people buy these things? It seems so. According to the co-founders, the most popular items in the platform are handbags, jewelleries, and watches, though properties are also huge among users.
To authenticate the luxury goods, particularly handbags, Maxuri has a team who is charge of making sure that all the items sold in the platform are genuine. The startup also works closely with luxury goods suppliers, and is currently preparing an escrow system to ensure greater sense of security for users.
“We don’t just work with anybody. Our target market is niche; both B2C with the clients and also B2B with the merchants,” says Gorecki.
Apart from being an online marketplace, Maxuri also runs a luxury lifestyle blog and provides a concierge service.
The startup hires a couple of senior concierges from the hotel industry, and they help arrange clients’ requests such as arranging a trip to the Milan Fashion Week or booking a private jet service.
“A new generation of high net worth individuals are not just about the products, but also the experiences and memories they can make from it,” Roberts says.
Prior to Maxuri, Roberts ran property marketplace Rumah123. After taking some time off to travel, he began figuring out some startup ideas that can be run between Singapore and Indonesia.
“We came up with 20 different ideas, launched four or five of them, and Maxuri is the one with most success,” he said.
As for Gorecki, the luxury goods industry is a part of her heritage as a French-Indonesian, and she felt the calling to preserve and maintain it.
“For me it is very important to keep the legacy of craftsmanship, and all those principles in everything I do. Joining and building Maxuri with Andy is very important for me because Andy also shares the same principles,” she says.
Saying no to naysayers
I am particularly curious about how Maxuri is going to respond to the idea that one just cannot sell luxury goods online, because of the high risks involved and the different ways high net worth individuals are shopping.
Roberts and Gorecki have met plenty of such skepticism.
“People are saying that about buying groceries online five years ago,” Roberts says.
“People are buying properties online. I used to work at Rumah123 and I can tell you that a lot of Chineses are buying properties in Melbourne, my hometown, and they have never even visited the property. And we’re talking two to three million dollar apartments. It happened; it doesn’t happen in every case, but it happened,” he further elaborates.
To prove the point, Gorecki pointed out that even well-known luxury department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue in New York are embracing e-commerce by purchasing flash-sale e-commerce platform Gilt Groupe in January.
“The retailers are seeing that there are real threats and they want to medicate that as much as possible,” she says.
“The future of luxuries is actually online, especially in cities like Jakarta,” the co-founder stresses.
Ready to roll
Maxuri currently has offices in Singapore and Jakarta. Armed with a team of 16-17 people, which also includes an in-house team of concierge and photographers, the startup is set to launch on December 7.
“Our head office is in Singapore but we are really looking forward to expand to Indonesia. Not only Jakarta, but Indonesia in general,” Roberts says, adding that many users accessed their site from cities such as Surabaya, Medan, Bandung, and even Balikpapan.
“A lot of Indonesians don’t purchase luxuries in the country. They purchase it in Singapore, Europe. What we are interested in is the potential,” he concludes.
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