Earlier this week we interviewed founder Marie Fiorin, a French-Italian entrepreneur who has launched Marilicious, the all-in-one fashion platform, that has offices in France and Greece.
Together with a Master’s degree in Fashion & Design Management from SDA Bocconi, Marie has an extensive background in the fashion industry, having worked as a fashion stylist and collaborated with major brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Emanuel Ungaro, Fashion TV and Yoox.
When did you have the idea for Marilicious and how was the startup-phase financed?
The idea and concept of Marilicious first came to me when I was just looking for a new way through which I could express my creativity with fashion and beauty editorials. I simply wanted to share my view on fashion, with trends that I liked, outfits I wanted to wear and true beauty tips based on my own experience. So I created a website to showcase all that!
In the vision of providing a full stylistic experience, I then decided to re-construct Marilicious by integrating an online store and a fashion blog.
I came to realise how trends last 2 or 3 seasons and that you can actually use past items to express a current trend. This is what I am trying to show with Marilicious. You can be very trendy and fashionable while wearing last season’s dresses, for example. The cherry on the cake is that last season items are cheaper. I wanted the online store to propose fully discounted items that are still ‘valid’ fashion-wise.
I believe that with the general economic climate it is becoming crazy to pay high prices for clothing and accessories. Marilicious is for people who are trendy and fashionable, and who don’t want to renounce from wearing premium designer brands (for example, we carry Marni, La Perla, Aquilano Rimondi, Rick Owens and more).
The new and updated version of Marilicious was launched in April 2011 and is now an all-in-one online style platform with offices in France and Greece.
As far as the financing is concerned, it was a mix of equity and start-up bank debt, and I am the sole shareholder.
What makes Marilicious unique or better than other fashion platforms out there?
There are so many fashion platforms that are great. Marilicious is unique in the sense that she is the first (and only!) platform integrating an online store, editorials and blog all in one website. She is there to give you a complete, intimate and personal fashion experience.
Marilicious could be considered an outlet, but she is actually the only online store to give the customer a luxurious feel when shopping items at a discount. Usually when you shop at a discount you don’t receive your order in nice packaging and you have to pay for shipping. Shopping on Marilicious is a smart way of shopping luxury trendy brands, have them delivered to your door in a signature packaging and free of charge, and to simply be stylish for less.
With Marilicious you pay a fraction of the price, but still have the luxury appeal and feeling. I want to give access to quality fashion in an economic way.
Marilicious is incorporated in France and opened a branch in Greece – why Greece?
I opened the branch in Greece because I had suppliers and new designers that were in Greece, and therefore it made sense to have a warehouse and showroom in Athens. Although Greece is facing the crisis we all know, the country shows good potential as far as internet and online shopping is concerned. I have been able to collaborate with good online platforms in Greece and received substantial press coverage.
What kind of marketing strategies do you use to promote the platform and to make Marilicious a well known brand amongst fashion lovers?
Many different strategies – the most important of which include collaborations and partnerships with many other websites dealing with fashion and online shopping. It goes from having giveaways, to organizing events and so on, in order to make Marilicious known.
Facebook and Twitter are of course a fundamental part of marketing. Every Friday we have ‘Fashion Fridays’ on the Marilicious Facebook page, which allows our fans to ask me tips on what they could wear for their Friday-night date or on what to pack for their weekend get-away. It is really fun and I enjoy being in direct contact with my fashion lovers.
How many people are working for Marilicious at the moment and are you hiring right now?
I have interns whom I’m planning to hire very soon. Plus I have a fantastic Non-Exec Director helping me with strategic, business planning and financial matters.
Do you have plans to add additional languages to the platform, or are there any new services or features in the pipeline?
Yes, I am working on having the online store in French. I am also planning on adding additional features to make Marilicious more interactive and have you play with your clothes and create mini-looks of your own.
Another very important step will be to add video, with designers’ interviews, and how-to videos.
What are the mid-term future goals for Marilicious and where would you like to see the site in about 1 or 2 years?
The goal is to become the absolute go-to source when you need fashion, beauty and style tips that are genuine and personalized, and when you want to shop the trends for less.
How is your experience with Nice (France) and Athens (Greece) as a location to start a company?
Nice is where I come from and it is actually a very strategic location. It benefits from the glamorous reputation of the French Riviera and it is so close to Milan and Paris.
As for Athens, it has its pros and cons, as does every place. It might be suffering now but whatever goes down will definitely go up again.