ALL IN THE BAG: Little Black Bag is adding the element of surprise to online subscription services. The Los Angeles startup, which launched Tuesday, is based on the Japanese New Year’s Day custom fukubukuro, in which merchants sell grab bags full of discounted goods. At $59.95 for a single purchase or $49.95 monthly for an ongoing subscription, Little Black Bag users are virtually given similar grab bags of two to four items at 50 to 70 percent off suggested retail prices. They have seven days to trade the contents of the bags with fellow users before those contents are shipped.

“The gaming aspect of this makes it different from other subscription models. There is a little competitiveness to it,” said vice president of merchandising Suzanne King, who worked at Macy’s for 13 years before joining Little Black Bag. She has assembled a selection of more than 80 brands such as Vince Camuto, Z Spoke by Zac Posen, BCBGeneration, Betsey Johnson, R&Em by Rebecca Minkoff and Kenneth Jay Lane for initially around 500 stockkeeping units of handbags, jewelry, cosmetics and home goods. Next up are shoes and apparel.

This story first appeared in the February 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The founders of Little Black Bag include chief executive officer Dan Murillo, who was senior associate at venture capital firm Greycroft Partners, and president David Weissman, previously a vice president at GSI Commerce. The company has secured $2.75 million in Series A funding, led by GRP Partners and with participation from DCM, Chamath Palihapitiya, Tim Kendall and David Tisch.

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