Combine online flash sales with an emerging consumer market hungry for luxury clothing brands and you get what Bêmbele CEO Dean Schaffer hopes will be a recipe for success in Latin America. The site, which went live for Colombian buyers yesterday, sells designer men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from brands like Nicole Miller, BCBG Generation and M Missoni, among others.
Bêmbele offers flash sales to site members, curating these limited-time deals via a carefully designed email marketing campaign. Schaffer also noted that spreading the word about deals via social media is a big part of the company’s future plans.
It can be difficult to purchase luxury brands in Latin America because companies do not have stores in many cities in a particular country or they do not offer shipping outside the U.S. So a big part of what makes Bêmbele’s model work is that the company is able to distribute products from its facility in Miami, Fla., (a major business hub for Latin America) to another in Medellin, Colombia.
Now that markets like Europe are struggling, Schaffer points out that vendors are enthused at the prospect of being able to reach out to burgeoning Latin American markets online. Thus, Bêmbele is set to bridge that gap for an emerging tech-savvy and middle-class market in Latin America that wants access to luxury brands but at “affordable” prices.
“There is a lot more growth in an emergent market like Latin America that allows more people to go online and shop, versus a saturated market in the U.S.,” Schaffer said.
The website is in Spanish, and currently operates in Colombian Pesos only, but will eventually expand to other countries, such as Chile, Peru, and Mexico, he said. Another reason the site wanted to launch here, he said, is because the country is No. 1 in Internet access in Latin America and it’s the region’s third-largest economy.
Bêmbele is a joint venture between private equity firm PanAmerican Capital in New York City and two unnamed groups in Latin America that Schaffer said had “major” ecommerce experience in the region.