Blond-haired, blue-eyed and always wearing a spotless white shirt, the king of the e-commerce in the Middle East is 26. Born and raised in Germany, Andreas Skorski decided to move to Dubai to launch The List, the luxury e-commerce marketplace that raised 1.7 m dollars this month.
KAWA: The List was launched in 2016 and it raised 1.7 m dollars this month. How would you explain this huge and quick success?
Andreas Skorski: The success is based on our team and team effort, our unique and scalable business model and the general market potential in the region.
Can you give us few figures to understand The List in 2018?
We are planning to considerably increase our current partner base of currently 200 retail partners from 22 countries and further enlarge our product portfolio. Additionally we, are also expanding within the region, with a focus on Saudia Arabia and Kuwait. Additionally, we are aiming at more than tripling our current team of 20 and achieving triple-digit growth in 2018.
What pushed you to leave Germany and launch your business in the MENA region ?
My entrepreneurial spirit always pushed me to leave my comfort zone and when I moved to Dubai 5 years ago, I realized the huge potential for e-commerce companies due high internet and mobile penetration and tech-savviness in the region.
I came up with the idea of creating The List and digitally connecting retailers and customers from all around the world, when I experienced that many of my favorite luxury brands and products were either not available in the Middle East or only at marked up prices of up to 20-30% and secondly most international luxury retailers were not able to set up their own e-commerce and reach customers globally due to the complex requirements for technology, logistics fulfillment, and marketing
The List is based in Dubai. Can you tell us more about your clients in the region?
Our headquarter is based in Dubai, but we reach out to customers across the GCC and due to our business model are even able to reach customers globally. The luxury consumer and our clients specifically are younger than in other regions. They always seek inspiration and the latest trends and want to express themselves and their individual style with special, new and unique pieces.
They are particularly interested in fashion, accessories, design, art, and interior, are generally well informed. They for example like to combine a vintage watch from the 1970s with a modern limited edition sneaker and have furnished their homes with an eclectic mix of designer furniture from different periods. The e-commerce growth in Saudi Arabia is even bigger than in other Middle Eastern markets
The e-commerce growth in Saudi Arabia is even bigger than in other Middle Eastern marketsAndreas Skorski, founder and CEO of The List
Saudi Arabia is changing fast. Saudi prefer to buy in shops or using e-commerce platforms? What kind of buyers are them?
The e-commerce growth in Saudi Arabia is even bigger than in other Middle Eastern markets due to a limited product and brand offering. Purchasing power mostly lies with women, especially for limited and special edition pieces and collector’s items.
Which are the most sold items?
Fashion is our strongest category which we will focus on even further. Our top-selling categories are bags, shoes and jewellery.
Which are the top three brands sold on The List? How would you explain it?
This slightly varies seasonally and across countries. However, our current topselling brands are Hermès , Chanel and Balenciaga.
Men are an important part of the clients, or mostly women buy online?
Both buy online, just with different needs and shopping behaviours. Women tend to browse and want inspiration, men rather search for something specific. Currently our split is 70% women, 30% men.
Vintage is a new part of the business that is growing also in the Middle East. Was it easy to “explain” the interest of buying an old bag/dress in the region?
The luxury consumer today wants to dress uniquely and therefore likes to combine for example a vintage Hermès or Chanel bag with a piece from the latest ready-to-wear collections. It is important to mention that most of our vintage products are in new condition and come from top curators from around the world.
Which suggestion would you give to a young entrepreneur starting a business in the MENA region?
Be fearless, be persistent, be visionary.
What is the next step for The List?
Since we firmly believe in the game-changing opportunities of mobile, we are going to build an entire m-commerce ecosystem and launch innovative mobile solutions (iOS first) that will integrate offline and online retail even more closely and will bring the vision of a new, personalized way of luxury shopping to life.