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Four-year-old One Kings Lane, the home industry’s leading flash-sale site, is on track to surpass $300 million in sales this year.
This story first appeared in the May 29, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
When chief executive officer Doug Mack joined the company in 2010, a year after the site launched in March 2009, he reframed its mission — instead of being the first to bring the flash-sale business model to all things home-related, he wanted to become the number-one commerce destination for the home. His goal is to reach more than $1 billion in revenue.
Today, the site has nearly eight million members and launches between 2,000 and 3,000 new products a day. In 2011, the site did $100 million in sales, and in 2012 this more than doubled to over $200 million, according to Mack. Mobile as a percentage of revenue is about two times what it was at this time last year, and 28 percent of overall sales and 33 percent of traffic come from a mobile device. From its inception to today, 80 percent of monthly revenues come from repeat shoppers.
“We focus solely in the home market, and what we’re really all about is every single day bringing interesting, unique products along with daily design inspiration,” Mack said of the variety of goods available on the site. They span new, vintage and designer products that consumers are unlikely to find anywhere else.
A focus on curation and presentation of these products is paramount, as is creating compelling content to give members inspiration and advice. He explained that the e-tailer welds the editorial expertise one might find in a shelter magazine with product that can be purchased directly, which he feels is special in home commerce.
“The home market is a place where consumers sometimes have anxiety about making design choices,” Mack said. “What ends up happening is that people often go to mass-market chains because it’s put together for them and you don’t get anything particularly unique or personal. What we’re innovating with is every single day we look to come up with themes that we put together for our customer.”
For example, a sale one day might be centered around the color emerald and navy or earth tones, or it might be three ways to make over a guest bedroom.
As for which category is best-selling on the site, Mack maintains that there is none. There are four categories — furniture, area rugs, decorative accessories and textiles — that each comprise at least 10 percent of the business. Tabletop, kitchen items, art and lighting also perform well site-wide.
Cofounder Susan Feldman said when One King’s Lane began, she and her team worked with manufacturers to obtain product, but in June 2010 added “Tastemaker Tag Sales,” where higher-end designers would come to the site and either sell things they had collected or designed. This was a game changer for the company, which led to the creation of two additional categories: Destination sales, where Feldman scours the world shopping for one-of-a-kind items (she recently traveled to Peru with Nate Berkus, for example), launched in 2011, and “Vintage & Market Finds” last year.
“It’s kind of the opposite of other retailers. It’s not about key items, it’s about the breadth and diversity of products that we offer that appeal to a very broad audience,” said Mack, who previously cofounded and served as ceo of Adobe Scene7, a rich media e-commerce platform that powers Web sites for over 1,000 retailers, from Nike to Macy’s. Adobe purchased Scene7 in 2007, and Mack was appointed vice president and general manager of digital imaging and dynamic media at Adobe, where he led Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash Media.
One Kings Lane is colocated between New York and California, with just shy of half of the 450 employees based in the office in Manhattan’s TriBeCa, the center for the creative and merchandising teams. The San Francisco headquarters houses Internet operations, marketing, technology and customer service, and there is also a Beverly Hills office with 40 employees that focuses on vintage, designer and celebrity relationships.
The site has raised $117 million in Series A through D note funding from investors such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management, Institutional Venture Partners, First Round Capital, TriplePoint Capital, Scripps Networks Interactive and angel investors Reid Hoffman and Marissa Mayer, ceo of Yahoo.