Social-selling brand Cabi is expanding to the U.K. on Monday.
The business model, similar to Tupperware parties for women’s fashion under the Cabi label, will allow U.K.-based women to grow their own business in the direct-selling channel through Cabi. Cabi — Carol Anderson by invitation — was cofounded by Kimberly Inskeep, who is chief culture officer, designer Carol Anderson and 10 other individuals.
The women’s apparel firm began in the U.S. in 2002 and was acquired three years ago by two private equity firms, J.H. Whitney Co. and Irving Place Capital.
Lynne Coté, chief executive officer of Cabi, said the U.K. is a top-five global market for social selling and the company is entering the market with a controlled pilot of small teams of brand advocates. The company last year marked its international expansion with a foray into Canada. According to Coté, it will now enter the U.K. with 20 women working as stylists.
“Our stylists agreed that the women of the U.K. would be enthusiastic about the Cabi shopping experience — fashion events that include styling advice from a personal stylist in a social and welcoming home environment — and about engaging with the brand as stylists and event hosts,” Coté said.
The ceo said the company would consider further expansion in the next three to five years as part of a long-range plan, but first wants to test the European market and learn from its U.K. business for nuances that would require adjustments to support the brand and the stylists so it doesn’t overextend itself.
The stylists in the U.K. were recommended by ones who were already part of the Cabi family. They will host event parties in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Coté said pricing has been adjusted to take care of logistical costs, such as customs duties.
The brand now has 96 stylists throughout Canada, and four were recognized for their team-building efforts at the firm’s annual convention at The Scoop in Boston this past week.
The expectation is that the U.K. market initially could support up to 50 stylists in the firm’s first year across the pond, and stylists on Monday will begin hosting shows featuring the fall collection.
Cabi is sold by a network of independent stylists through private home-based trunk shows. New collections, about 100 pieces, are introduced in spring and fall. According to Coté, the offering has now expanded to beyond just apparel to include nine to 12 pieces of jewelry each season. There is also a small selection of scarves. The plan is to add footwear later on. The company recently launched a tablet platform for the stylists, allowing for mobile payment apps. The stylists also have their own e-commerce sites, which allow each individual’s own clientele to shop that specific site in the event they can’t attend a trunk show, according to Coté.
Retail price points range from $138 to $248 for jackets, with pants from $108 to $128. Tops are lower starting at $79, while sweater start at $89. Dresses begin at $89.