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Kunal Kapoor – The man who satiated the huge appetite for luxury in the Middle East!

Every year, Middle East’s rich embrace luxury goods with fierce abandon and The Luxury Closet takes care of the deserted!

The Luxury Closet

People in the gulf continue to buy new designs, clothes, bags, shoes – often building a portfolio of products from fashion houses such as Chanel, Cartier and Louis Vuitton that no longer are desirable and are left to sit in the closets to collect dust

On the opposite side, you see people who have never bought Louis Vuitton, who dream about owning a product! 

Addressing this problem, a former retail sales manager at Louis Vuitton, Kunal Kapoor decided to build a platform for those who cannot afford – The Million Dollar Closet.

Studies indicate that by 2020, the e-commerce business in the Middle East is expected to grow to US$13.4 billion. 

What drove you to take this journey and start your company ‘The Luxury Closet’?

In 2010, I started working as a Sales Manager for Louis Vuitton at the Mall of Emirates boutique, one of the busiest stores in the world, and it was extremely exciting to come work for the leading global luxury brand.

However, my excitement was defeated by my family and friends who thought they would be getting heavily discounted bags. Not long after they realized that Louis Vuitton has never gone on sale in their 200-year-old history, and it’s is the same case for most of the top luxury brands in the world.

I had to constantly manage the queue of clients at the store’s door who dreamt of owning the brand.

Maybe life’s too short to wear boring stuff!  😉

A year later I decided to leave Vuitton with the aim to start my own business. A few weeks after, I had come up with a statement of purpose and narrowed down what I wanted to do: ‘to build a saleable company that sold a product that I loved, where I had some expertise’.

Tell us briefly about ‘The Luxury Closet’?

The Luxury Closet

The Luxury Closet was founded in 2011 and is the largest online marketplace for buying, selling, and consigning pre-owned luxury items at discounted prices in the Middle East.The online luxury marketplace sees products from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Rolex, Cartier, Louboutin and many other top brands sold for up to 70% off the original price.

We aim to democratize luxury and give customers a chance to buy designer items, when they otherwise wouldn’t be accessible to them.

The Luxury Closet is on a journey to turn the assets in it’s customers closets into cash!

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What have you learnt about customer demand for your service?

There are different types of consumers in the pre-loved luxury market that we cater to:
Firstly we have the fashion savvy shoppers, who are always looking for exclusive, limited edition and one-off pieces, which are in-demand and on-trend. 

Then there are the collectors, who solely search for vintage finds or collectors items, usually in the field of watches, fine jewelry or handbags. We also cater to the bargain hunters, who are interested in fashion, but are always on the lookout for a great sale and discount. 

And lastly, the market for selling in the UAE is huge, with plenty of consumers buying straight from the store, only wearing the item once or twice, then selling it on to us. 

Every type of customer has different demands and requirements, and we do our best to cater to each and every one.

Who are your current and likely competitors? How does your company differentiate itself?

We don’t currently have direct competitors in the region in the pre-loved online luxury market.

Over 60% of our sales comes from brands that do not discount!  
Therefore that’s the only way to buy them at a lower price than retail is to buy them pre-owned. The only way for us to find this unique merchandise is directly from closets of which the Middle East region is the best source.

We see this as a competitive edge that will allow us to build unique business and a focal point for luxury buyers and sellers across the world. Dubai is an amazing city to start a luxury company, and we hope to expand further outside the region.

The Luxury Closet
The Faces Behind Luxury Closet

Are you looking forward to expand your company in other countries?

We believe that we are one of the exception companies in this region!

We ship to 63 countries internationally and see massive potential in taking our model across the GCC, India, and many other regions.

What aspects of business you find far more challenging than you expected?

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The Luxury Closet’s sales come from the top end brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Rolex.

We are a luxury company that’s also a startup, and these two things are contradictory.

In a startup environment decisions are made very quickly, and based on small data. Contradictorily in the luxury world of business, decisions are slow and made based on a large amount of data and information. This applies to all aspects of a business from customer data, to process, to people, etc..

How have you adapted your ideas from the original vision?

Technology is constantly becoming a much bigger focus for our company henceforth getting our vision is  more interlinked with how to scale via technology, and our ideas are adapted accordingly.

Does the company have plans to enter new markets? 

We are constantly experiencing fast international growth.

The United States for instance, is one of the areas where our clients are most attracted to our unique Middle East supply and this is continuously growing.

Growth and momentum are what a startup lives on!

Additionally, we look forward to further expanding in the GCC market.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Either it’s couch season (Apr – Jul), or it’s race season (when the weather permits outdoor physical activity).

Most of the year I follow the Dubai race calendar! (Dubai Marathon 10k, Wadi Bih 72k Relay, Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, Spinneys 92k Bike Race, and a triathlon with an easy swim) which means I stick to a training calendar.

My weekly training’s simultaneously serve as social affairs, as my wife and some close friends participate in the races as well, especially the Al Qudra Friday morning bike ride.

Besides being a bit sporty, my wife and I enjoy watching Netflix. 😉

Kunal Kapoor
CEO And Founder of The Luxury Closet!

 What one advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

In terms of tips, I think that what I learned most is that you have to choose a business that has a large addressable market. Going after something small will take much more effort, ending up in a smaller business.

The second tip is in creating a team. Great people give you tailwind, and not so great ones give you headwind!

It’s key to hire the right people at the right time, while it’s impossible to get it 100% right, it’s an area where you have to make most decisions right.

The third tip is to have technology at the core of the business and automate processes once you get them right.

I think the combination of the three will make a fast growth business that can run the marathon that’s required. 😀

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