oki-ni: A Brand Profile
Men’s fashion can often lack complexity and vicissitude; relying on old marketing standby’s and common retail practice to appeal to the masculine sex. Men are often left to wonder why no one is attempting to make a retail experience as memorable for them as they do for women. Online retailer, oki-ni, seeks to close the gap between men’s and women’s retail experiences by providing men with a unique and defined experience unlike anything the male consumer has ever seen before.
Co-founders Charles Perez and Ben Banks founded oki-ni in 2001. The project began as a shared gallery and retail space located on London’s famous Savile Row. Savile Row is a location in Central London that is traditionally known for bespoke tailoring for men. In the fifteen years since the brands inception, oki-ni has grown to become a significant e-commerce destination serving the fashion forward on a global scale.
How does oki-ni set itself apart from the bevy of online men’s retailers? Aside from offering a distinctive and broad range of apparel and accessory brands, oki-ni is widely known for its limited edition capsule collections, which feature collaborations with top brands such as Levi’s, Adidas, and Paul Smith. These exclusive and limited edition collections are aiding in the evolution of the modern fashion collaboration. The fashion retailer frequently champions and endorses young up and coming designers who seek to create one of a kind innovative products for men seeking pieces outside the status quo. With amazing collaborations and a focus on customer experience, oki-ni is quickly cementing itself as a true fashion terminus.
Acquisition by MenInvest Group
In May of 2013, oki-ni was acquired by the menswear focused media and e-commerce group MenInvest. Under the direction of French media savant Marc Menase, MenInvest launched in 2010. Menase previously founded the dynamic online marketing firm Nextedia, which is based in Paris, France. Oki-ni co-founders Charles Perez and Ben Banks were taken on as shareholders and advisors. When MenInvest acquired oki-ni, the Savile row location was closed and the brand became a strictly endeavor. Both MenInvest and the co-founders of oki-ni agreed to maintain what made the brand so unique in the first place, both sides vowing to never compromise oki-ni’s objectives for any reason. MenInvest is well known in the e-commerce industry for specializing in the distribution and marketing of male fashion brands such as MenLook. They also focus heavily on providing their customers with engaging editorial content, something that has always been the cornerstone of oki-ni’s approach to crafting a different kind of customer experience. ManInvest distributes products to over 120 nationalities globally. Sites acquired by ManInvest currently attract 1.5 million unique visitors a month from over 60 countries. Prior to the acquisition, oki-ni was valued at €2,516,386. The key piece of the acquisition is the growth strategy by both parties to reach €100 million in revenue by the end of 2016.
Content Meets Customer Experience
With customers in over 150 countries, oki-ni is constantly challenging itself to create a customer experience that sticks, hoping to create customer’s for life, rather than customers for the moment. One way that oki-ni attempts to create an experience unlike any other is through it’s editorial magazine READ. Launched in 2015, READ encourages men to participate and immerse themselves in the culture of fashion. The idea of an online editorial is something that other online retailers such as ASOS have toyed around with for years. However, oki-ni is approaching READ from the perspective of crafting a lifestyle around its brand. READ currently focuses on topics such as fashion, technology, travel, culture, and food. Aside from offering unique content, the oki-ni customer experience is also based upon offering a seamless shopping venture across both desktop and mobile platforms. With a minimalistic user interface, customers are treated to a simple yet dynamic website that seeks to make the process of online shopping as immersive and painless as possible. Oki-ni currently attracts over 500,000 unique web visitors a month and currently ships to 75 different countries. The brand’s biggest following is currently in the United Kingdom, with over 40% of all annual sales stemming from the UK.
Challenging Fashion Stereotypes
Oki-ni’s greatest strength as a retailer lies with their ability to engage customer’s on several levels while challenging fashion stereotypes. For one, some retailers believe that men are a bit easier to please than women, and therefore don’t require the same level of customer service that a female client demands. Oki-ni believes that men are just as interested in fashion as women, but often lack a platform that allows them to fully engage in their interest without being bombarded with marketing ploys or advertising. On the whole, oki-ni knows that men deserve a customer experience that is stellar and individualized. With this mindset, oki-ni is on par to reach their goal of €100,000,000 in sales by the end of 2016.
– Co-founded by Charles Perez and Ben Banks in 2001
– Privately owned company, acquired by MenInvest in 2013
– Ships to over 75 countries globally
– Valued at €2,516,386
– Known for high-end brand collaborations and strong editorial content
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