Chiquelle is one of the fastest-growing online fashion retailers in Sweden, but its home country isn’t the only market Chiquelle has its focus on. It has marketing and sales activities in more than 20 countries across the world. We interviewed the CEO and owner of this ambitious and quite rebellious online fashion retailer.
In May 2015, Chiquelle won an award for best mobile experience and one for ‘high flyer’ of the year during the Jetshop Awards, that took place at the Scandinavian E-Business Camp. A confirmation of the fact the online store is rapidly gaining traction in the online fashion market.
Chiquelle is not your average company. Whereas other online retailers first try to succeed in their home country, Chiquelle chose to expand to other countries directly after their launch in Sweden. But according to CEO and owner Pouya Boland this decision isn’t that strange. “Well, we have a quite unique online store offering clothes you can’t find anywhere else. For example, websites such as Asos or Nelly are offering the same products from the same brands, but just trough other channels and websites. We have our own brand and our own products, so that’s one of the reasons we decided to expand to other countries outside Sweden as well.”
Another factor could be that “the demand for other brands and unknown brands are nowadays very high”, Pouya says. “People don’t want to buy a product, wear it and the next day see tons of other people wearing the same product you bought online. What we offer are exclusive products, unknown brands and in limited editions.”
Launching a dedicated ecommerce site in Norway
A second example of Chiquelle choosing to do things differently than others, is the expansion to Norway with a dedicated website. One key reason why Norway isn’t the most popular market in the Nordic region is, is the fact Norway isn’t a member of the European Union.
“It’s true, we do everything differently, contrary to what others do. Companies are mostly scared to open their way to Norway. Their biggest fear is the Norwegian rules and the system concerning customs. But we did it”, he proudly says. We actually expanded to all European countries, but made a specific and dedicated website, with their own language and currency, for our Norwegian customers to better penetrate their market. Norway is quite an interesting and well-doing country with a lot of potential. Norwegians spend a lot on online shopping and compared to other countries the average buys are extremely high, and that’s of course very interesting for us.”
Return to the Netherlands
Chiquelle also had a dedicated website for the Netherlands from 2013 until 2015, but they decided to close the operation due to technical reasons. “We’re talking about payment solutions which we couldn’t provide to our customers. In the Netherlands, about 90% of the people uses iDeal instead of Visa/Mastercard, so that was one of the reasons we decided to shut down our Dutch dedicated channel.”
But Pouya tells us that a new dedicated online store for the Netherlands with the Dutch language and iDeal will launch very soon. “We have products and clothes that are popular everywhere, since they’re fashionable, unique and from high quality, so it’s not difficult for us to penetrate a specific market if we would like to.”
He wouldn’t tell us which other European countries can expect a dedicated website, but he assures us they know their local competitors very good. “But that’s also because they aren’t that many online fashion retailers who are offering what we offer. Of course, there are some online stores selling other clothes and products from not common-brands. But before we penetrate into a country with a specific and dedicated site with that country’s language, we analyze and know every step from our competitors.”
Chiquelle, founded in 2012, claims to be one of Sweden’s youngest and fastest-growing online fashion stores, with an annual growth of nearly 400%. CEO Pouya Boland says the company has big goals in front of them and that they are looking forward to expand their activities and projects. For those wondering what ‘Chiquelle’ means: the name was inspired from the two French words ‘chique’/’chic’ (elegant) and ‘elle’ (she).