The Samwer Brothers and Rocket Internet have launched another site to further populate their e-commerce empire, which now spans fashion, food, mobile payments and more. What’s perhaps surprising, given the current economic climate in Europe, is that the latest effort is taking on the luxury goods industry: Emeza (sounds like Amaze-ah), an offshoot of Rocket’s European fashion portal, Zalando, follows in the footsteps of sites like Net-a-Porter by offering premium brands and high end clothing and accessories. The average price per item is several hundred euros, going as high as €1,000 ($1,300). The site is live now in Germany.
The move follows news in December that Rocket had picked up its first investor from the fashion industry. PPR, owners of a number of iconic luxury goods brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, took a €10 million ($13 million) stake in Lamoda (big in Russia) and Dafiti (big in South America), as part of operation “Bigfoot.”
The site was spotted and reported by the German newspaper Handelsblatt. Contacted for more information, a spokesperson for Emeza tells me that the version online now is a “rough” beta with about 30 designers on the site. Emeza has yet to kick off any online marketing, although there is already stock and the ability to buy goods on the site. The plan is to launch a full version in March or April in which it will have significantly more brands on offer, he said.
He also tells me that PPR is not linked in any way to this effort. Its brands may appear in the store, the spokesperson notes, but it is not taking any investment.
For now, Emeza is live in Germany, although Rocket is assessing other markets in Europe for more expansion.
While it seems like a crazy idea to launch a site focused on expensive fashion, while so much of Europe remains in a financial pinch, the spokesperson defended the strategy:
“The market is working well in Germany for luxury goods, with sites like Net-a-Porter already selling very well,” he said. Indeed, Richemont, the luxury goods owner of Net-a-Porter, saw a 43% jump in profits last year to £1.2 billion ($2 billion). “So we thought it would be a good idea to create a shopping experience that could compete.” Really, no different from many of the other efforts, both successful and otherwise, that have shot out of Rocket.