Bay Area luxury bag company Senreve expanded its senior leadership, adding Mark Chou to the executive team as its chief growth officer.
An adviser to the digitally native start-up, Chou has more than a decade of experience in e-commerce and finance. At travel brand Away, he scaled the business from launch to nine-figure revenues in less than three years as its vice president of growth marketing and e-commerce before becoming vice president of international. Chou also founded Bradhurst Ventures, which works with early-stage brands such as Senreve as an operator, adviser and investor.
“I’ve always gravitated toward the earlier stages of start-up growth, and the types of challenges and opportunities that Senreve has currently are ones that I find very exciting,” Chou told WWD, of the four-year-old company. Having advised Senreve for two years, he had a first-row seat to how the brand’s founders, Coral Chung and Wendy Wen, built the company.
“Seeing Coral and Wendy build a company where its core markets are already profitable was something I found to be very compelling, given a similar focus I’ve had at prior companies,” he added.
While other brands have focused on survival or loss mitigation through the coronavirus pandemic, Senreve has seen growth, especially in international markets.
“We’ve reached a critical inflection point as a brand and as a company,” Senreve’s Chung explained. “We have ambitious goals for sustainable and profitable growth.…[Mark] has the added relevant international growth experience, which is particularly important for us as our international markets reach 10-times year-over-year growth.”
That’s not to say that recent times haven’t taken a toll on the business. The company saw two of its factories in Italy close due to the pandemic, while attempted looting of its San Francisco flagship last month led the company to board up its doors.
“It’s during tough times like this when we really lean on our brand values of innovation and empowerment and rely on the financial discipline that’s in our DNA, the creativity and grit of our team, and the brand momentum that we’ve built in a short amount of time,” said Chung, of the efforts of her 35-employee organization.
Senreve ships to more than 150 countries, with U.S. growth markets popping in areas such as Chicago and the Midwest, Boston and Seattle. Internationally, it plans to focus more on Asia.
As the company heads into this pivotal growth stage, it’s relying on Chou to steer the brand through technological and global expansion. That’s no small feat for a data-driven business run by founders who hail from the tech and finance sectors.
“One of my main areas of initial focus will be to make Senreve’s data infrastructure even stronger,” said Chou. He’ll look to scale up areas, such as aggregating, reporting and analyzing customer and marketing data.
“I believe this investment will help drive better insight and decision-making across everything, from marketing strategy to our digital roadmap to future product assortment expansion,” he said. “This is particularly important as the company becomes more global, introduces more products and grows in complexity.”
Since its series A in November 2019, the company has launched a Vegan collection, a product called Alunna — an exclusive for its Hong Kong pop-up — and new categories, such as Senreve at Home, which includes luxurious 100 percent cashmere pieces. Going forward, Senreve plans to double down on unique digital marketing, virtual experiences and more content, as well as memorable and personalized customer experiences.