LONDON — Munich may be best known as the capital of Bavaria, headquarters of Oktoberfest and for its consistently high quality of life, but it’s now emerging as a breeder of hot fashion e-commerce sites.
Home to Mytheresa.com, which was acquired earlier this year by the Neiman Marcus Group, the city is also the headquarters of Stylebop.com, another site that’s playing — profitably — in the fashion and luxury space.
Like Mytheresa, its founders are kin and have bricks-and-mortar in their background: Brothers Mario and Thorsten Eimuth cofounded the company in 2004, leveraging their family’s experience as full-service logistics providers. Before Stylebop, the brothers cofounded Sarajo, a Munich-based fashion and accessories concept store, which they sold in 2005.
Their focus now is to grow Stylebop — which, like Mytheresa, has been profitable from Day One, according to Mario, whose title is chief executive. Growth will be organic and independent, and there are no current plans to seek outside investment, he said.
This year sales on the site, which stocks upwards of 250 brands and 15,000 products for men and women across fashion, accessories, swimwear, lingerie, and jewelry, are set to reach up to 100 million euros, or $125 million, with about half of that coming from German-speaking markets and the balance from the U.S., Australia, the Middle East and continental Europe.
The average annual growth rate has been 40 to 50 percent over the past decade since the company’s founding.
The site’s guiding principle has been to take the “catwalk to the sidewalk,” and to buy deep into designers’ runway collections. The site’s well-traveled fashion-oriented core customer ranges in age from 35 to 45, and has a passion for culture and the arts, he said.
New brands on the site for spring include Thierry Mugler, Carven, Alexander Wang, Sonia Rykiel, Marco di Vincenzo and the Mexican beachwear brand Hacienda Montaecristo. They join names such as Valentino, Balmain, Jil Sander, Maison Martin Margiela, J.W. Anderson and Prabal Gurung.
“Our plan is to grow organically, invest in innovation and intensify our relationships in the countries we already do business with,” said Mario Eimuth during an interview in London alongside Leila Yavari, the site’s fashion director. “Online growth continues to be strong, and taking on new investors is not in our plan.”
He added the site, which has more than 3 million users, boasts a loyal customer core with 69.3 percent of all shoppers making repeat purchases.
Eimuth has recently introduced a brick-and-mortar styling suite concept in Berlin, where customers will be able to try on their purchases and take advantage of tailoring services. “It will give more visibility to the brand, and a sense of trust to customers. They’ll be able to touch the fabrics, and even have clothing fitted in-store,” Eimuth said, adding that he will consider opening more next year.
Yavari said one of the site’s strategies has been to align itself with emerging talent and the arts and keeping the feel of the site “within the zeitgeist.” Last year, in partnership with the British Fashion Council, the Stylebop team took a group of young British labels including Roksanda, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou — and their designs — to Los Angeles to meet with Hollywood stylists ahead of red-carpet season.
Earlier this year, at Coachella, the site created a festival-themed capsule collection and then threw a pool party to mark the launch and celebrate some of the new music talent at the fair.
Other collaborations include last September’s 360-degree Fashion Week, where the site enlisted industry figures, such as the accessories designer Olympia Le-Tan, to take behind-the-scenes pictures and offer commentary on the fashion collections. It also created a fall collection with the German label Clemens en August, that was sold on the site immediately after the show.
As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations this year, the site has been sharing exclusive images from designers, friends and influencers across its Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. The site’s Instagram followers can also participate by submitting their own “10-Sign” selfies and pictures that will be posted to the site’s social media platforms. Pictures will need the unique hashtag #stylebop10, along with @stylebop and #stylebop in order to qualify for repost.