Female first names seem to be their recipe for success. In 1987, Susanne and Christoph Botschen opened their luxury womenswear store Theresa in Munich immediately after completing their studies. This was followed by two additional retail stores (one for menswear) of their own and the first German Prada store which they opened in close cooperation with the Italian brand. In 2000, the two womenswear boutiques were fused into a large one and six years later, that venture went online. Mytheresa.com became a global player in women's fashion e-commerce and that finally led to a takeover by the Neiman Marcus Group in 2014.
During the ensuing forced break the Botschens traveled a lot–but that was not enough for them. So now the power couple is back with a new project: their shoe webstore Marthalouisa.com will go live today (Thursday, March 15)–and promises a digestible selection of products from the largest luxury labels as well as up-and-coming designers. We had a quick chat with the fashion entrepreneurs about their new baby.
After the successful sale of Mytheresa.com and several years of downtime why are you plunging back into the highly competitive world of fashion e-commerce?
Susanne (SB) and Christoph Botschen (CB): We are sure that the time is ready now for online specialists, as all the so-called big players are getting bigger and bigger and it gets more and more difficult for the end consumer to navigate. And we think that the customer should face a curated selection and have the feeling that somebody has chosen the best for them. We really tried to enjoy the time out, but it didn’t satisfy us.
Luxury shoes are nothing new in the net. What will MarthaLouisa do differently?
SB & CB: MarthaLouisa offers its customers a curated and very specific choice of luxury and contemporary footwear. Instead of being “overloaded” by a huge and unfiltered selection the MarthaLouisa customer will find key pieces and most importantly we will offer all important powerhouses next to upcoming names under one “roof”–at least half of our range will be new talents.
What exactly does curating mean in this context? Surely there will not only be a very small selection of shoes and brands...
SB & CB: Of course not! We are starting with 80 brands for s/s ’18 and will have over 100 brands for f/w‘’18. That means we will be able to serve all our shoe loving customers’ needs. Curated means that we don’t have the urge to offer every single style from a brand’s collection–we pick the styles that represent the brands’ DNA.
Which of the Martha Louisa labels/collections do you find particularly exciting?
SB: Well there are numerous brands that I strongly believe in. I am proud of our established designers, but also new talents like Yuul Yie.
What labels will there be at the entry-level price level?
SB & CB: We are having lots of shoes in a contemporary price range, where you can find for example a pair of ankle boots for €350. We will also have brands like Hunter which are absolutely affordable. There will also be Converse sneakers and the wonderful Ancient Greek Sandals that have retail prices starting at €135–only to name a few.
Sneakers aren't exactly a luxury but the category is also becoming increasingly important for high-end designers. How do you approach the topic of sneakers?
SB & CB: We are having a sneaker section in our navigation of shoe styles, dividing them into High-Tops, Low-Tops and Slip-Ons. There is quite a nice range of sneakers in our portfolio–from luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, Balenciaga and Loewe but also Puma, Veja or Vans.