BERLIN — Hello and goodbye.
Less than six months after its launch, Martha Louisa, the online shoe platform from Mytheresa.com founders Christoph and Susanne Botschen, has shut down operations.
The Botschens, who sold their Mytheresa Munich-based store and luxury e-tail business to Neiman Marcus in 2014, staged their comeback in spring 2018 with the upscale and multilabel women’s shoe site Martha Louisa. Going live with 80 labels, Martha Louisa aimed to reach a wide shoe-loving audience with a mix of top designer brands including Gucci, Prada, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Aquazzura and Gianvito Rossi, plus contemporary labels and newcomers such as Aeyde, Alchimia Di Ballin, No. 21 and Vibi Venezia.
Informing their partners that “the business has not met our expectations,” the Botschens canceled existing orders and put a stop to further deliveries in late September. Describing the enterprise “as an exciting experiment,” chief executive officer Christoph Botschen then said Martha Louisa would be closed down at the end of the year.
The final step came sooner than planned and marthalouisa.com is now history. “Goodbye shoe lovers,” reads the site’s remaining page, which informs visitors that the entire site and its content have been “retired permanently.” The Instagram account of Martha Louisa has also been deleted.
The Botschens long had a thriving luxury footwear business, first at their Munich-based fashion specialty store Mytheresa and later with mytheresa.com, whose success stymied e-tail skeptics, particularly in Germany. While the Botschens were a highly respected retail duo in the highest fashion circles and Mytheresa a well-known name among luxury shoppers worldwide, Martha Louisa was not.
The Botschens could not be reached for comment. However, some market observers noted that in today’s more highly competitive and costly e-tail environment, a quick exit may have the least painful option. Building brand recognition takes time and patience, they said, not to mention very deep pockets for the necessary marketing and SEO.