Is it just us, or do most of the flash sale sites pretty much look the same these days? Same brands, same discounts, same offers. Thankfully, vente-privee USA recently launched onto the scene, injecting some much-needed excitement and desire back into flash sale shopping. And starting today, we challenge all Fashionista readers to discover vente-privee for yourselves at http://www.venteprivee.com/takemetoparis and share the site with friends and family for the chance to go on an amazing Parisian getaway…with Fashionista! Let’s start from the beginning... in 2001, Paris tech startup vente-privee came up with a novel idea: each day the site would host a sale of a designer brand, available only to its members, bringing the concept of the sample sale online. Voila, the flash sales model was born. Now, eleven years, billions of dollars and several copycat sites later, vente-privee has finally brought its innovative approach stateside in partnership with American Express. We sat down with two of vente-privee USA’s top executives to get the scoop on the new site, which launched in November 2011. The first thing you need to know about vente-privee is that they are passionate about brands. You need only to speak with the team for a few minutes to know their love affair with designer labels goes far deeper than a fancy-looking tag and the season’s must-have styles. “We’re in service to our brand partners,” explains Laure De Metz, Divisional CEO for Brands. “We want to be focused on the brand. Every morning, we build and launch a digital pop-up shop for each of our brand partners that is an amazing and surprising experience…since you don’t know what’s coming. We want to keep that element of surprise and make it special.”
For vente-privee, that means focusing the spotlight on just one brand. “When we have a brand up on our site, it’s all architected around just that brand,” adds vente-privee USA CEO Mike Steib. “You go to that brand's boutique, you see only that brand in the catalog.” vente-privee, I’m told, collaborates with each brand partner for every aspect of its presentation on the site—from producing original videos and photos that bring brands to life, to the casting and look of every model—something that certainly not all flash sale sites can say. “There are ways to get a brand’s inventory without working with them…,” Steib says. “…and we don’t like it. We don’t like the way some work around brands to get their hands on their products. There may be a short term advantage to folks who do that, but long term, it doesn’t make sense for us or our members.” vente-privee’s immense respect and loyalty to their brand partners has attracted labels like Longchamp, Versace Jewelry, and Maje that have avoided partnering with other flash sale sites until now. “One of the very exciting things that’s happening when we meet with brands is they feel like, ‘Oh, finally we have a place to go [online]’,” De Metz says. It’s a strategy that has paid off for the vente-privee customer too. “You’re going to have your best experience for consumers when you have the best product available, backed by a strong and respected partnership with the team behind that brand,” says Steib. “We would not be proud of a site where we’ve gotten [items] of a good brand that’s going to sell out in a second, and then a bunch of garbage,” Steib explains. “[As in] ‘we drew you to the site with the great brand and now we’re going to sell you something else.’ We want brands on the site that are special and that are going to excite our customers.” Well, we think it’s safe to say we’re already pretty darn excited. So about that free trip to Paris? vente-privee is offering a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the Fashionista reader (and your +1) who refers the most new members to join the site. Sign up at http://www.venteprivee.com/takemetoparis, and find your unique link in “Referrals” to share with your friends. The person who refers the most new members will be off on an amazing four-day, three-night Parisian getaway including round-trip airfare, premium hotel accommodations, a behind-the-scenes tour of vente-privee’s spectacular Paris headquarters (which has a staggering 60 production studios) and the opportunity to soak up the city’s timeless style with Fashionista! Discover and share vente-privee now…bon chance!
Click through to get a glimpse of vente-privee's stylish Paris headquarters