From The Straits Times    |

Credit: OnTheList

You might have seen their sprawling showroom in the CBD, or heard about them from one of your friends. Maybe you’re already on their mailing list. One thing’s for sure, if you’re an avid shopper who loves a good bargain, then you’d definitely be no stranger to OnTheList (OTL).

A members-only flash sales concept platform, OTL was founded in 2016 by two French entrepreneurs, Delphine Lefay and Diego Dultzin Lacoste. Noticing an absence of options for distributors and brands to clear old inventory occupying valuable warehouse space, the couple decided use their knowledge of the Hong Kong retail industry to close this gap by pioneering this unique concept of an independent, members-only fashion sale in Asia.

Not only did this method of clearing stock helped luxury brands from clearing past-season stock in a more environmentally way (as opposed to say, destroying them), the concept also offered consumers access to premium products at attractive prices and the brands a chance to connect with new customers.

This method proved successful, and now four years on, the platform has held over 150 flash
sales and partnerships with over 500 premium brands such as Balenciaga, Valentino, Longchamp, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs and more. The best part? Despite it’s exclusive name, membership is free and customers can easily sign-up to be a part of their mailing list.

Diego Dultzin Lacoste

In town for a special flash sale for local brands as part of a partnership with CRIB for their fourth anniversary, we caught up with OnTheList co-founder Diego Dultzin Lacoste to chat on why their members-only flash sales concept is so successful.

One of the reasons why OTL is so successful can be attributed to yours and Delphine’s background in the retail industry. Can you share more about that, and did you feel that experience helped make the brands feel more comfortable when deciding to partner with OTL?

Delphine and I have both worked in fashion retail with international leading lifestyle brands in France and Hong Kong. Delphine was in sales management leading a group of responsible, accessible online brands, and I worked on the business, commercial and retail operations with notable luxury brands.

This experienced has enriched us with the understanding of the uniqueness and challenges of brands face with past season inventory. OnTheList was founded as a sustainable solution to clear seasonal inventory to a dedicated database.

Brands do trust partnering with OTL, as we work like part of their team adhering respectfully to all the respective brand guidelines with our combined retail experience and reputation.

How tough was it at the start to get the luxury brands on board with your vision for OTL?

It was super tough at the start as the idea and concept was new, but I understood the hesitation. OTL is brand centric in how we think and operate and our intention of transforming inventory into opportunity eventually gained the support of the many luxury brands continue to work with.

What makes OTL different from any other flash sale concept is because:

  • We have a showroom in the CBD versus the usual strategy of placing outlets far away from the city area
  • It’s open from 8am – 8pm, allowing our members to shop anytime
  • We operate both in-store and online channels at the same time
Credit: OnTheList

What can brands expect from you when they agree to partner with OTL?

One advantage for brand partners is that they will be able to reach out to a new group of potential members from the database who are active shoppers. The current data base is at 62,000 for Singapore, and 700,000 globally across Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia and Malaysia. Through this database, we can also target the specific target audience that the brands are looking for. We work with a whole host of retail and lifestyle brands in many categories, and this gives us the ability to offer our OTL members an exciting ongoing ‘Flash Sales’ access.

For your fourth anniversary this year, you partnered with CRIB to host a special flash sale featuring local brands as well as an entrepreneurship panel sharing session – what inspired you to do this, and can we see OTL doing more events like this in the future?

We want to continuously to connect with, and make a positive impact in the community we operate in. As an entrepreneur myself, together with my wife Delphine, the partnership with CRIB is extra special. The flash sales with these local brands gave the brands an opportunity to reach a new customer base, and the entrepreneur panel sharing session was such an enriching session of shared experiences and a supportive dialogue.

OnTheList x CRIB Entrepreneurship Panel. Credit: OnTheList

My team and I saw new contacts being made as well as new ideas exchanged during and after the session. We are definitely looking at planning more such events in the future, and in Singapore are looking at sustainability and perhaps gathering the local community within the Raffles Place area where our showroom is located. We do have plans to conduct more events in our Showroom where our members and friends can visit more often for an OnTheList experience.

Does OTL plan to expand beyond flash sales? Perhaps more partnerships with entrepreneurs?

Flash sales and providing our members with this special access is still the main focus on OTL. We will continue to plan meaningful events at our showroom for members, and these events will have focusses around entrepreneurship, sustainability and “giving back” to the community.

Working as a couple must have its advantages and disadvantages – do you have any advice for future couples who plan to go into business together?

Working as a couple with Delphine, founding the OnTheList business together, I have seen only advantages, to share the excitement, triumphs and the challenging periods – it’s been a great adventure.