Melijoe.com: how a mix of e-commerce mastery & pure fashion DNA led to a global lifestyle brand

Melijoe.com: how a mix of e-commerce mastery & pure fashion DNA led to a global lifestyle brand

Since its launch in 2007 Melijoe.com has grown into the world’s leading children’s fashion website, thanks to a rare mix of capabilities and culture. It’s a story of metrics driven e-commerce expertise meeting smart fashion sense – embedded in a digital start-up culture.

The Melijoe.com secret is not to offer the largest number of brands or products, but to select the best ones every season and present them consistently in a focused, inspirational, mix & match style.

Appreciated by an international audience of style-conscious moms (and dads), the company has quickly become the trusted, online business partner of the most important fashion houses, including Gucci, Burberry, Kenzo, Karl Lagerfeld and Dolce & Gabbana. Melijoe.com also partners with leading European kids brands, such as Bonpoint, Tartine & Chocolat and Petit Bateau. Through its highly selective marketplace, the company has recently begun working with distinctive local boutiques and brands, like Ovale and Gabriel et Valentin.

A global lifestyle brand, not a French e-tailer

Very early on Melijoe.com made sure its vision could convince a global community of parents who appreciate style and fashion. Today the e-tailer operates in five languages and makes express deliveries to 100 countries. Over 70% of its fast-growing turnover is realized outside France. Free website traffic makes up a very large majority of the site’s one million visits per month, driven by a large database of eager and loyal followers of the Melijoe.com newsletter. Solid operations, a unique Paris-inspired image in the trending mass-niche of kids fashion, and a platform with global reach: these form the basis of continued potential.

Melijoe’s growth is happening against a dynamic background of turbulence in the global distribution landscape of lifestyle brands.The channel strategy of lifestyle brands has been evolving for some years now,” observes Gert Kerkstoel, Partner in the Gimv Connected Consumer platform. Drawing on previous experience at Nike, he explains, “Organizations and processes are being reshaped to guarantee a premium experience. The aim is to protect brands and manage a constant flow of new products in multiple, differentiated channels. This is especially challenging in an online environment where everything is transparent and globally accessible.

Eventually, Gert points out that, a strong lifestyle brand will end up with a strong direct-to-consumer solution, combined with a limited number of strategic partnerships with professional retailers that have a meaningful connection to consumers. Melijoe.com has everything needed to be that partner to the strongest brands in a sector that is in full swing.

The decision to enter into a partnership with Melijoe.com was not a matter of investing in e-commerce in a general way. It was inspired by specific insights into the sector and the belief that Melijoe.com has all the ingredients to succeed in these changing conditions.

Gert Kerkstoel - Partner in Gimv's Connected Consumer team

Wanted: a partner that knows brands

Gert Kerkstoel, Partner in Gimv's Connected Consumer team and Nathalie Genty, Founder and CEO of Melijoe.com

Gert Kerkstoel, Partner in Gimv's Connected Consumer team and Nathalie Genty, Founder and CEO of Melijoe.com

Based on this clear vision, in November 2014 a capital round of EUR 9 million was led by Gimv together with CM-CIC Capital Privé. With Gimv on board, Melijoe.com continues to focus on growing its topline on a global scale. But not any business is good business.

As a first step, a pre-agreed plan covering both the sales and purchase side was executed to fundamentally improve the contribution margin(1). This enabled Melijoe.com to invest more in marketing and international business development, paving the way to accelerate its mission to become a true lifestyle brand.

(1) Contribution margin = gross margin - fulfillment costs (eg. transport, distribution, payments costs,...).

Strong alignment between founder, management and shareholders – all recognizing the value of developing an international brand in a global mass-niche – is a fundamental strength for the future of the company. With its international team of experts, the Gimv Connected Consumer team is able to provide relevant support for executing the strategy.

Nathalie Genty, founder and CEO of Melijoe.com, agrees: “Gimv shares our ambitions and engages in a true partnership, with regular sessions on the evolution of brand, business and retail strategy, and occasionally operations. It is definitely a plus for Melijoe.com to deal directly with people who have an entrepreneurial mindset and a practical knowledge of running and growing a consumer business. To be pulled out of the day-to-day – making sure we stay on track towards the bigger, more ambitious goals we set together – is definitely something I appreciate.

It is definitely a plus for Melijoe.com to be associated with a financial partner that has an international mindset, and to deal directly with people who have the practical knowledge of running and growing a consumer business.

Nathalie Genty - Melijoe.com founder and CEO

Today already 70% of turnover realized outside France. What’s next?

With a clear vision, the fundamentals in place to serve the global consumer, and positive energy in the children’s fashion business, this is no time for Melijoe.com to rest. The year 2017 will be about continued growth and investment in initiatives to improve the customer experience, develop the international business and build the brand and organization.

Working together, Melijoe.com and Gimv will continue to create a global reputation as a strategic partner to the strongest brands in kids fashion, offering customers a premium online shopping experience.

Would you like to know more about this partnership?

Don’t hesitate to contact Gert Kerkstoel, Partner in the Connected Consumer team.

Or visit the website of  

Gimv Connected Consumer

The Gimv Connected Consumer platform invests in companies that, anticipating evolving consumer needs, have a strong vision on what and how the Connected Consumer will buy. The platform has a clear growth perspective: innovative, trending products and services offered through inventive channels and concepts, with an emphasis on customer convenience.

www.gimv.com

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