ABURY - Prospering in EntrepreneurCountry
In September, EntrepreneurCountry Global interviewed Andrea Kolb, Founder of pioneer fashion brand ABURY. ABURY, an online e-commerce platform, is combining traditional, old world crafts with avant garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters intercultural exchange and preserves tradition.
ABURY brings together exciting designers with traditional artisans from remote and inspiring cultures. This exchange of knowledge between the old world and the cutting edge allows for a new context to emerge, leasing crafts a new life and lending design an emotional and ethical component.
ABURY Founder Andrea Kolb attended the Amsterdam edition of the David and Goliath Must Dance Dinners on the 8th September 2014 which focused on ecommerce and logistics. Start-ups are essentially 'revenue-generating algorithms' which enable net new digital revenues in partnership with Corporates when they open up their distribution to solve the customer acquisition challenge for start-ups in this network-based world. EntrepreneurCountry Global asked Andrea what the ROI of the dinner for ABURY was.
1) You attended our David & Goliath Must Dance™ Dinner in Amsterdam – tell us a bit about your experience of the Dinner?
I arrived from Berlin and met most people at the bar. The atmosphere was great – everybody was open and talkative. Within a minute I was involved in a very interesting talk with a representative of an investment company. Julie and I were the only two women, but perhaps this will change soon. When we went to our table in a private dining room, Julie facilitated the introductions, rationale for the dinner, and ensured that we had one conversation throughout the dinner instead of fragmented ones.
2) What were the themes discussed at the Dinner, and how are they relevant to Abury?
The range of companies was really well chosen – at least for us. For example, Knomi helps retailers to recognize their customers on walk-in and enables sales personnel to provide a tailored sales experience in-store. Also Mobile Pocket – a free app for loyalty cards and coupons, or Locafox, a search-engine for products and shops in your area - all of them are relevant to our business. Also the Goliaths were represented by IBM, DIYMaxeda and an investment company that surprised me with their openness.
Big data and the use of data was a great discussion – to be successful you must not only know how to collect but also how to exploit the data in the right way. We discussed the different ways of the organisation of Davids and Goliaths – both sides have to develop an understanding for each other. We talked about the future of retail business, the cloud and engagement with the customer. What got me thinking at the end was Julie's last sentence, saying that successful companies think of the profitability of their industry not just their company. This makes you look at the bigger picture and sometimes you forget to look at your market from a meta-perspective.
3) What partnerships and relationships have emerged as a result of the Dinner?
For us the dinner was a great success and we've had really concrete results out of the dinner. I guess we were the smallest "David" at the table, but there were so many opportunities. Just before Christmas, we raffled one of our handmade bags to more than 1 million clients of Mobile Pocket. They promoted us with an extra banner for our foundation for free too – which led to some more donations and greater visibility within the Austrian market.
Moreover we are now in negotiations with Locafox, to be included on their platform. Just after the dinner we had our launch in London and Markus from Knomi - who are based in London, gave us some tips on who to invite. And – as ABURY is all about handmade – we also exchanged ideas with DIYMaxeda on possible cooperations for the future.
4) Why is it important for Digital 'Davids' and Corporate 'Goliaths' to 'dance'?
Because both sides can learn so much and profit from each other. Davids are quick, on the pulse of time, flexible – Goliaths have contacts, money, experience. To create the right environment for an innovation that becomes a success – you need both.
5) How does ABURY organise the Ecosystem Economics™ of its sector, incentivising multiple stakeholders?
ABURY is a vertically integrated business model – we control every step from sourcing, production, design and sales to the sharing the profits and re-investing 50% into education projects in the countries we work with. So we have many stakeholders to organise.
For the craftsmen and women, they benefit from a fair salary, respect towards their skills, and innovative ideas to bring their crafts to the next level. And – they are contributing to the development of their community as well – which earns them respect! The designers we work with benefit from a once in a lifetime experience – living in a country for 3 months, working with the craftspeople directly. They are promoted through PR and their name is attached to the collection they have created – a great step in the very difficult fashion market.
Our customers benefit not only from exclusively designed and handmade pieces – but also from emotional stories behind every piece – and their direct contribution. Each product shows the production time - and we give back the production time in education time – so the customer leaves a positive impact every time they buy an ABURY product. Our retailer partners also benefit in being able to become part of the story and also show their commitment in disrupting the fashion market.
Finally our corporate partners benefit in not only showing their corporate responsibility but in being able to create a more emotional bond to their customers – ABURY is a storytelling platform – a positive content generator.
6) What does the future hold for ABURY, and what role will EntrepreneurCountry Global play in that future?
I always say – "you walk in the images you paint." This is what we are working on – we have clear picture of where we want to be in a year, and in five years. We have an idea (and plan) of how to get there. The first step is an international designer contest – the ABURY Design Experience - that we'll launch next week, presented by Harper's Bazaar! This is the first platform that brings together avantgarde design and luxury, with exclusive craftsmanship with a cause (education). EntrepreneurCountry Global is a great platform for us already, and will be even more so in the future to find partners and allies, exchange ideas and learn.
To find out more about ABURY, visit the website at http://abury.net/
Andrea attended our Amsterdam dinner in September – if you would like to organise and attend your own David and Goliath Must Dance Dinner, please contact DavidandGoliath@entrepreneurcountry.com
Read EntrepreneurCountry Global's previous interview with Andrea here.