Sourcewhere, self-funded by Wright, will compete against the brands themselves, ready to access their global inventory; and luxury retailers like Net-a-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Farfetch, Mytheresa, Saks and Mytheresa, which have in-house teams of personal shoppers to cater to affluent customers who can account for up to 40 percent of the business, according to the companies. There are also a variety of personal shopping apps including Threads Styling, and the used sites like Vestiaire Collective, RealReal, and StockX.
Getting it all is at the core of its appeal, says Wright. “Our network is designed to give buyers the best possible chance of finding a specific item. In an area heavily dominated by peer-to-peer marketplaces, there is an opportunity to build a global network of trusted suppliers focused on personal requests.”
The platform will rely on an organic network of people to support distribution. Joining as founding advisor and lead curator is Gab Waller, a personal shopper for stars like Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington Whiteley. She will lead a team of 15 established personal shoppers, some of whom are ex-ecommerce employees, as well as private collectors and sellers across the UK and Europe including @oldcelinearchive, @mies_preowned and @cricketfashion.
Internal personal shoppers’ sourcing capabilities are typically limited to the seasonal inventory and brands they carry. Today’s consumers don’t want to be isolated, says luxury consultant Robert Burke, who was formerly senior vice president of fashion and public relations at Bergdorf Goodman before founding his own consulting firm in 2006. “More than ever, customers are in control and brands need to be as fluid online as they are in-store,” he says, reflecting on how this shift is opening up new opportunities for independent personal shoppers.
Opportunities in personal sourcing
The idea for Sourcewhere came from Wright’s personal frustration trying to find desirable products like a sold-out pair of Celine sandals. “I’ve learned it’s a recurring challenge for fashion editors and industry insiders. I thought they had access in the first place, but [they also] struggled to get our hands on those pieces,” she explains. Frustrated with trawling search engines and posting “back in stock” alerts, she saw a gap in the market for a faster, less frustrating way to shop.