I’m Blake Geffen, founder of Vivrelle, a luxury accessories membership club that provides members access to an unlimited closet of designer handbags, jewelry, and diamonds for a flat monthly fee.
Our members enjoy some of the most coveted accessories in fashion with brands ranging from Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Fendi, Balenciaga, YSL, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and more. With sustainability, flexibility, and affordability as the cornerstone of our business, Vivrelle makes fashion achievable by providing a fresh take on the try-before-you-buy model. With this optionality, members can swap monthly, hold their items as long as they want (we never ask for the items back), or try before they buy and save significantly.
Since launching a little over two years ago, we’ve seen tremendous growth, even through 2020!
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
Before Vivrelle, I worked in fashion public relations and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University. My PR background definitely comes in handy on a day-to-day basis as I lead on our strategic marketing decisions.
It’s better to take a chance, even if you fail, rather than sitting back and not taking a chance at all.
The idea for Vivrelle came about while I was wedding planning three years ago. I was searching for the perfect accessories to compliment my wedding weekend looks and realized there was no convenient way to experience the accessories I was looking for to complete my wedding weekend looks without making the splurge to purchase. I searched for somewhere that would allow me to borrow the luxury accessories I needed, but I quickly realized there wasn’t a great experience to fulfill this need. My husband and business partner, Wayne, and I went on our honeymoon, put pen to paper and we officially launched Vivrelle in September of 2018!
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
It’s been a busy but exciting whirlwind! With our growth far exceeding our expectations, a lot has changed since day 1! It’s been amazing to watch our idea blossom into this thriving membership! Our journey started like many other startups - in a small office, with long hours, and a lot of unknowns. Although there were a lot of sleepless nights and concerns pre-launch as we put Vivrelle together, on day one, demand exceeded our first month’s projections!
Since then, it has been a wild roller coaster of managing that growth - from logistics to customer service. From day one to today, it has 100% been about customer service and meeting our continually growing demand. We are laser-focused on excellent customer service and growing our service team quickly to meet demand. Our showroom was next on the list of big milestones and opened last summer. Now we are working on the future and some exciting things are coming soon. While we still have many sleepless nights and the challenges are still there, watching our membership excel to where it is today is worth all the ups and downs.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are growing triple digits year over year and we’re projecting continuous strong growth. Since the volatility started in March, we’ve retained approximately 90% of our members, something we’re really proud of.
Our members really view Vivrelle as a valuable utility to their everyday lives, rather than a fleeting trend. We think our members feel a sense of community and view their membership as a true extension of their closet versus a transactional-based experience.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
We’ve learned that hyper-personal customer service is key. It is a significant factor in what sets us apart from any other business out there. We value every one of our members, and future members, and connect with our customers directly to ensure the membership is working for them. We often get hand-written notes from our members thanking us as well as emails daily complementing our exceptional customer service. There is nothing more important to us!
We also think it’s incredibly important to give back in any way you’re able to as a business owner. Most recently, for Breast Cancer Awareness month we partnered with Fashion Fights Cancer, a non-profit that aims to improve the lives of those affected by cancer worldwide. We donated 10% of October membership fees, along with an additional $100 for every pink accessory borrowed or purchased throughout the month. Next month, timed to the holiday season, Vivrelle will be donating 10% of new membership fees to No Kid Hungry throughout December to support their mission to end childhood hunger in the U.S.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Instagram! We take personalized customer service very seriously and we know that our members live on that platform, so if there is any question, inquiry, item request, etc. they know they can DM us and we’ll answer right away.
We also engage our members and followers there with our new arrival stories and our members know that if there is something that is in our story that they want, they can DM us to reserve it!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Life moves fast, so if you are passionate about something, take a chance on it. It’s better to take a chance, even if you fail, rather than sitting back and not taking a chance at all.
As a business owner, it’s difficult to figure out when to turn off - stop checking emails, making phone calls, etc. Work never stops but you need to find time every single day that’s just for you. Without taking an hour each day to do something for you, you are going to burn out quickly, and it will be harder to lead your company and provide the service your customers deserve.
Where can we go to learn more?
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