12. december 2018
“VASQUIAT was the chance to disrupt the fashion industry.”
The Whoman Journal talks with the young founders behind new online luxury webshop, VASQUIAT. A community based shopping experience set to reach those oh so mysterious creatures: Fashion first movers. Also known as the fashion industry’s unicorns.
While Rafa Blanc was attending business school, he asked himself the century old question: Why the hell would you pay 200 EUR for a t-shirt today, when you know it will probably cost 100 in two months? Well, I agree, it might not actually be the question we most commonly find ourselves pondering. And that is why you and I aren’t the creators behind the new luxury webshop, VASQUIAT, that is set to change the way fashion innovators get their shopping done.
Actually Rafa and the esteemed fashion native Blanca Miró are. Because as the aforementioned question made Rafa begin his quest of redefining the timing of purchasing, he teamed up with the international fashion icon, who is now the Co-founder and Fashion Director of VASQUIAT.
According to their site, VASQUIAT is “(…) an exclusive members club, by invitation only, meant to put together the coolest fashion consumers with the coolest brands. Late fashion buyers currently enjoy all kinds of promotions, whereas innovators have to pay the full price.”
But lets hear it from the unicorn’s mouth: The Whoman Journal sat down with the founders to answer the question of what VASQUIAT really is, how it started and what their best advice for aspiring entrepreneur are.
“(…) the mission of rewarding fashion innovators and trendsetters for anticipating trends.”
Guys, give us the elevator pitch!
“VASQUIAT is the first online platform that lets you preorder luxury and premium fashion at exclusive prices. As part of the club you get to preview future collections and benefit from reduced prices up to 40%, depending on how soon you buy. The sooner you order, the less you pay,” says Founder and CEO Rafa Blanc. So VASQUIAT is letting trendsetters who doesn’t require to see an item worn by hundreds of people on Instagram before buying it, to shop the new styles at lesser prices.
“But VASQUIAT is more than that. Our members are part of a fast-growing community of fashion innovators that come from all over the world. We are building an assortment of really cool brands to connect with them in a whole new way,” adds Fashion Director Blanca Miró.
How did the idea for Vasquiat come?
“As a business student, it suddenly occurred to me, that there are so many promotions in fashion that makes it seem like they want you to wait and buy late in the season. Mid-season discounts, private sales, black Friday, outlets, second hand platforms… The whole fashion industry is promoting a late buyer behavior. I wanted to change this cycle and make the price go up in time, instead of down. That was the original idea. At the same time brands want to sell sooner rather than later, so I started thinking of an exclusive place to connect brands with early adopters,” Rafa Blanc tells The Whoman Journal.
“VASQUIAT was the chance to disrupt the fashion industry. But what I loved the most when Rafa contacted me was the mission of rewarding fashion innovators and trendsetters for anticipating trends. I think it’s beautiful to empower consumers like this, making them feel important and rewarded for innovating. It’s a revolution,” says Blanca Miró.
“Living their ups and downs taught me a lot and I always made my academic and career choices in order to prepare myself to become a good entrepreneur.”
Opposites attract and despite only a distant familiarity with each other, Rafa managed to persuade Blanca to join the team with the help of Whatsapp and a promise of making a change in the industry.
“When Rafa first contacted me, his project sounded a bit crazy. But when we sat down together I immediately realized what an opportunity it was to start a revolution in the fashion industry and make a difference. I loved it!” says Blanca Miró.
Rafa Blanc adds: “I had a fashion tech project but was a complete fashion outsider and had very little knowledge of how it works! Blanca was the person VASQUIAT needed as a co-founder to make it happen.”
Have you both always known that you wanted to be entrepreneurs?
“Since I was very young I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. It’s what I’ve seen in my family: my grandfather founded an automobile company and my father a real estate company. My mother is starting a florist company too. Living their ups and downs taught me a lot and I always made my academic and career choices in order to prepare myself to become a good entrepreneur,” Rafa Blanc says.
“I never followed the regular path that most of the people I knew did. I just followed my instinct and did what I was good at. My dad was also an entrepreneur and I learned a lot from him. I’ve known for a long time that someday I was going to have my own fashion business,” Blanca Miró.
Fashion Director Blanca Miró is in charge of selecting the brands sold at VASQUIAT. The brands all vary, but there are one very important thing she looks for, when choosing the brands that will catch the eye of the always wandering fashion innovators: They need to be leading in setting trends: “I want to offer our members what really are new concepts. I work to have emerging and promising designers, but also more established brands that continue to lead the trends.”
“Our aim is to lead an industry transformation to what we believe online fashion should be: consumer centered, focusing on branding rather than conversion, a social experience that involves fashion lovers and brands.”
It is always easier giving advice, when you are over the hump. But what advice would Founder and CEO Rafa Blanc give now – right in the midst of his own startup – to other aspiring entrepreneurs? “Being an entrepreneur is tough. You don’t really understand it until you live it. The key is perseverance. Having a strong idea is the easiest part! Then you need to assemble all the resources: finding the right people for your team, raise the money, find your first clients, etc. If you are really innovating and you persevere, you can do anything,” he says.
What is your dream for the future of VASQUIAT?
“We want to change the way people buy fashion, and the way it is currently sold. We live in a digital era but little innovation has been made if you compare online stores to offline stores. There are so many things we can do to make the whole fashion experience much more satisfactory for both consumers and brands. Our aim is to lead an industry transformation to what we believe online fashion should be: consumer centered, focusing on branding rather than conversion, a social experience that involves fashion lovers and brands. In the mid-term, we want to reach most of fashion innovators in the world and connect them with the coolest brands in the scene. We have so much work to do,” says Fashion Director and Co-founder Blanca Miró.
You can apply for a membership of VASQUIAT right here. But you might have to wait a bit, as the platform is said to have a waiting list of thousands of eager first movers out there. Begging the question: If we are all first movers, are non of us first movers?
We don’t care, we just really need to get a hold of those Heimat Atlantica handwoven bags before our friends.
Artwork for The Whoman Journal by Pernille Øster