AstleyClarke.com, a high-end fashion jewelry site based in London, has announced a $5.5 million (£2.75m) in funding from Index Ventures in London. Despite gloomy, credit-crunch market conditions, big spenders continue to do so, and they are doing more of it online in the luxury bracket. The move reflects Index’s recent interest in the eCommerce industry with Betfair, Lovefilm and Glasses Direct. Index partner, Danny Rimer, will join Bec Clarke from AstleyClarke and Mark Esiri from Venrex on the board of directors.
Online luxury players are in a good position, as they can be more nimble and bold than established brands, which are normally afraid of making their cherished brands look cheap by selling them online. In fact, they have badly mis-read their own audience. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics data says that eight out of ten “high net worth consumers” are hammering the Net with their platinum credit cards faster than I can type this sentence.
Bec Astley Clarke, a former executive at Tesco.com, founded the website in 2006 and will use the new investment to boost marketing and build the company’s infrastructure, including hiring an operations director and an IT director.