The trade fair season is over. It is time to reactivate the contacts made there, send photo material to potential buyers and keep new customers up to date. "We have investigated what this work after the fairs costs. Each new customer contact costs between 2000 and 3000 Euros," explains Pierre Sapin, chief partnership officer of the American company Born. The enterprise offers an online platform that connects a global network of design-led brands and retailers. Founded around three years ago by Jean-Christophe Chopin in Los Angeles, the start-up already has a number of prominent customers: the retail chains Fred Segal, Harrods, Ron Robinson and trade fairs such as Design Junction in London and now, very recently, Tranoi in Paris.
Born sees himself as an extension of the fair. Pierre Sapin: "Today, many orders are only placed after the fair, because often the budgets can only then be properly allocated". But how can brands as well as buyers keep in touch?
"Large department stores like Harrods are bombarded with offers after the fairs and receive 150 e-mails per day. Nobody looks at them anymore. Instagram is not a suitable platform either, because it is a BtoC social media platform. On LinkedIn, there is no possibility to show enough pictures. Here, we offer a better solution." The Born app enables brands and retailers to present themselves comprehensively. They can explain their corporate philosophy in videos, entire collections can be uploaded and provided with detailed information (material, price, minimum purchase, conditions). Products can be curated in personal recommendations. Shops can present their interiors in pictures and explain their assortment. "Born helps retailers to source the best products for their store so they can focus on selling not searching. And the brands to find the right retailers for their brand."
What is the difference to online trade fair offers? Sapin: "We firmly believe in the physical first contact at the trade fair - especially when it comes to fashion. That's why we also look for cooperation with trade fairs and showrooms." The goal of the American company, whose European headquarters are in London and Asian branch is in Hong Kong, is to unite 3,000 brands and 15,000 dealers over the next two and a half years.
Participation at Born costs 15,000 Euros per year. Pierre Sapin: "At first glance, this seems a lot, but it is still less than the salary of a junior sales manager who would otherwise be entrusted with these tasks. In addition, we guarantee five new contacts in the first year when you register". The fact that the platform primarily addresses multi-brand stores, which have been declining for decades, is of little concern to the 45-year-old manager. "We think that there is a shift from multi-brand shops to shops with multi-categories. Today's stores offer design, furniture or food in addition to fashion. That's why we have a lot of design companies on sale." The experience with the Design-Junction design fair in London, with which Born has been associated for two years, is very satisfactory, he said. "No one has much time left today. We see ourselves as digital support, bringing the right partners together and expanding business opportunities".