Avail, a new social e-commerce platform, was launched today to bring together emerging fashion brands and fashion lovers. It is an initiative of entrepreneur Wouter Torfs and the Belgian venture capital fund 9.5 Ventures.
Micro-stores and curators
Avail consists of various micro-stores, which are compiled by so-called curators. These curators are comparable to influencers on other social media and they often have a large number of followers. Farah El Bastani has 14,200 followers on Instagram and stylist Florrie Thomas 11,300. In total, Avail starts with ten more or less well-known curators, who share photos of their favourite fashion items on their own page. They can draw on the offer of more than 30 European fashion brands to put together their own micro-store. Visitors can buy the products shown immediately. For each fashion item sold through their photos, curators receive a commission of 5%.
Behind the concept are familiar names like CEO Wouter Torfs of the eponymous shoe chain and venture capital fund 9.5 Ventures. Noëmie Haverhals will be CEO.
'Airbnb of fashion'
Avail focuses specifically on emerging brands, which is no coincidence. "Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly looking for the next it-brand. But these brands are often invisible in the tsunami of large, high-end or commercial brands, so that's where we want to make the difference. For emerging brands, the support they receive from people with a strong online profile can mean a breakthrough," says Haverhals.
In principle, anyone can set up their own micro-store at Avail. The platform is free for the users. "Today, our own webshop accounts for 18 percent of turnover and is growing rapidly," says Wouter Torfs at De Tijd. "We see Avail as our moonshot. We aim high. We want to become the Airbnb of retail, where everyone can manage their own microshop in the long run."