Flash sales sites like Gilt Groupe have proven to not only be a popular e-commerce experience, but also a profitable business model. In fact, Gilt is on track to hit $450 million in revenue this year, with rumors of an IPO swirling. But while Gilt pioneered clothing and accessory-focused flash sales, One Kings Lane entered the space last year as one of the first sites to go after the home goods market.
Launched in April of 2009, One Kings Lane runs brand- and theme-specific sales, at least two to three per day, five days a week. During the 72-hour window that items are on sale, members have can move to purchase limited quantity of hand-selected home goods products at significantly reduced prices. Luxury items range from Ralph Lauren home accessories, to Missoni towels to Frette sheets.
Founded by Alison Gelb Pincus (the wife of Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus) and Susan Feldman, One Kings Lane raised an undisclosed amount of funding from led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, First Round Capital and angel investor Reid Hoffman last December.
However, as other flash sales site, such as Gilt and Ideeli; have entered the luxury home goods vertical, One Kings Lane is now facing a considerable amount of competition to the space. But Pincus doesn’t seem to be to worried about the added players in the arena and tells me that she welcomes the challenge of competing with Gilt in the home goods space.
Pincus and Feldman just brought on a new CEO Doug Mack, a seasoned e-commerce exec. Mack co-founded Scene7, a rich media platform provider for the e-commerce industry, which was eventually sold to Adobe. The site has also added Tastemaker Tag Sales, which allows renown interior designers to create curated sales of items that reflect their style. Mack tells me that these sales are meant to give users fresh content and design inspiration from professionals. And for designers, Tastemaker Tag sales are an opportunity to draw attention to their brand and style.
And One Kings Lane is seeing significant growth. Q3 sales are up 561 percent year over year and the site is seeing high loyalty from consumers, with more than 50% of customers as repeat purchasers. One Kings Lane is now getting into other verticals and will be launching food category in the near future.
It should be interesting to see how One Kings Lane continues to compete with challengers like Gilt. One way the startup could drive traffic is via partnerships with retail stores. Gilt just launched a sale with Target to feature the store’s designer-created home goods and fashions. While One Kings Lane would want to retain its focus on the luxury home goods market, a deal with stores like Restoration Hardware or Design Within Reach could be a good fit.
Regardless, the flash sales model for e-commerce is here to stay and One Kings Lane is proving that vertical-focused sites can grow in the crowded space.