• Anne Heaney, Director

Threads raises $20M for its Luxury Goods Boutique that Exists Only in Messaging Apps

London-based Threads has raised $20 million in funding for an operation that courts high-end, millennial, mostly female customers with tailored selections of luxury fashion, which it then sells to them on services like WeChat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Apple’s iMessage for their primary interactions with a team of human (not AI) shopping assistants.

With customers in 100 countries — 70 percent of them under the age of 35, with Asia one of its fastest-growing regions — Threads says that the average amount people spend in a shopping session (basket size) is a very healthy $3,000. And because of its success in linking up expensive goods with people willing to buy them, it’s secured relationships with designers and brands like Dior, Fendi, Chopard and some 250 other luxury names to source key items for its clients. As a marketplace, Threads makes commissions from the suppliers when items are sold.

Founder and CEO Sophie Hill says that its chat-based shopping service fits into a wider world of busy activity and travel for a typical customer, who will nonetheless expect a high level of engagement as part of a five-star service, even if it originated in chat. So, Threads has been known to organise designers flying in from one city to another to show off a specific piece to a client, and also pulling together shopping to hand deliver it to a client in whatever location she happens to be, or even organising excursions to actual, physical boutiques when those customers take a trip to a city, either specifically to shop or for something else.

“It is a complement to what they need and how they want to shop for luxury goods,” she said.

The next stop for Threads will be expanding to more product categories beyond fashion and jewellery — although Hill would not say what — and adding more offices to provide services closer to its customers on both sides of the marketplace. New York and Hong Kong are first on the list.

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