Monogram raises nearly €3 million
Monogram wants to give itself the means to achieve its ambitions. The specialist in the sale of high-end and luxury second-hand products, which was originally called ByLuxe at its creation in 2015 before renaming itself in 2021, is carrying out its first round of financing. On Monday, its founder Beverly Sonego announced that the company had raised nearly 3 million euros from the family office HWA and four other business angels.
"We had offers from industrialists to take over. But we thought about it and decided that it was too early to sell Monogram," says the entrepreneur. "So we decided to raise funds. And it went very quickly. In the autumn, we started the process and, in December, we had found our partners for a first round of financing." Beverly Sonego, assisted by Cécile Maudy, general manager, and Ornella Perez, operational manager, presented Monogram's ambitions and seduced William Ayache, director of the unicorn company Dental Monitoring, a company that has digitalised access to dental care, who therefore invested 2 million euros in the company with HWA. The four other business angels, entrepreneurs and tech players, are contributing nearly one million euros and their expertise to the company's development projects.
Recruitment, technology and international development
The founder lists three areas for acceleration. The first is recruitment: the company, which employs around forty people, is moving to new premises in Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine) and will be recruiting around fifteen employees. A human resources manager is due to arrive, while a marketing director and a technical director have just been hired.
The second focus is on its technical infrastructure. "We have already invested in digitising the company because we started out as a physical business model," says the founder. But we want to become a much more tech-based company and be 'phygital'. This means developments to make the user experience on the website more fluid, an increase in the power of the CRM tools and in-depth work on the online product authentication tools. In a second phase, Monogram could also improve its pricing tools, its content management system and launch a dedicated application."
Finally, the third point involves developing outside of France. In Paris, Monogram opened its first shop on Avenue Victor Hugo last year and is building on its presence at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. The platform is testing a number of formats and has also opened a space in the boutique of the upmarket conceptual restaurant Maison Russe in the 16th arrondissement.
It recently set up a kiosk in La Vallée Village brand village, where it offers luxury brands that are not present in boutiques. The space located in the east of Paris is managed by the Value Retail group. "The ephemeral spaces worked very well and the launch of our permanent zone is very promising," says the director, who points out that the company has just opened a pop-up in the Maasmechelen village in Belgium and is aiming to open more in London, Milan and Barcelona. An internationalisation via partners but also an acceleration on neighbouring markets such as Luxembourg, where Monogram has a pop-up at Smets, Switzerland and Germany, as well as on three markets where Monogram has already made its first steps: Morocco, Israel and Dubai. Three countries where the platform could open points of sale in 2024.
An acceleration that should be noticeable from 2023. After having achieved, according to its managers, a turnover of 9.5 million euros last year, Monogram is expecting 15 million euros this year. A goal that can be reached through investments and the realisation of projects, but also thanks to its financial partners.
"In reality, raising funds changes everything," says the founder. The process involves preparation and in-depth analysis of all the company's performance indicators. We embarked on a study of our customer experience and the impact that our rapid growth may have on it. We did a logistics audit and structured the process of implementing RFID solutions. We had to make internal changes and rethink the way the management team operated, while maintaining the company's caring identity. This is essential, as it allows us to have a clear vision."
A roadmap that has therefore found funders, a challenge at a time when many are reluctant to invest. And it should enable the company to achieve double-digit growth over the coming months.
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