China’s La Miu Slips into Series C
Lingerie Investments Getting Sexier
Asian women are enthusiastically hopping on to the trend of mid- to upper- range lingerie eCommerce as La Miu steals their hearts and sweeps major Chinese spending dollars. The company also has its own brand of underwear and casual sportswear that it distributes via LaMiu.com in addition to merchandise from other brands. La Miu has just closed a Series C round for which details have not been disclosed but reports speculate a total in the $10M range. CEO Dong Lu explains that his intentions for La Miu at its establishment were to provide Chinese women with “not only comfortable but also fashionable lingerie, and also reasonably priced.” In addition, Lu felt that he could cultivate a sophisticated environment for the Chinese customer new to eCommerce with all the necessary and desired service characteristics of an ideal experience– an “oasis” for shoppers in a “desert” as Lu describes.
Lu also firmly believes in the future of mobile shopping and expects mobile purchases to account for 20-30% of his company’s business. His view on mobile apps at present is that they essentially replicate the retailer’s existing website and cannibalize its web sales. The La Miu app aims to be “sexy and “more interesting.”
DCM led 2010’s Series B round which totaled $40M for the blossoming company. 2009’s Series A was provided by Japanese sources Rakuten, Daiwa, and Lotte. A 2008 seed funding was also gained from primarily Japanese sources. Plans for this year include a Japanese and Malaysian presence for La Miu in the form of local distributors. The company aims to establish stable footing throughout the Asian region.
It is evident that investors’ minds are scanning for the key words: Lingerie eCommerce. As we reported just a few days ago, Indian lingerie e-tailer, Zivame, is exploding as it eliminates the Indian woman’s concern about shopping for intimate apparel in public. As seen with the public’s reaction to La Miu, the Chinese customer is also privy to the idea of shopping for unmentionables online. While the culture does not necessarily view such purchases with judgment, consumers definitely prefer the hassle-free online method. For women, they can see a number of products clearly and compare similar goods side by side. Ascertaining that one’s size is available is made effortless and home delivery over mall trekking is ideal. Furthermore, this method is also significantly more comfortable for male consumers who might be purchasing gifts. While some men will venture into a lingerie department and hastily purchase a gift, shopping online affords them the ability to take their time and comfortably purchase an appropriate item. Most importantly, La Miu’s attention to detail has afforded the company a nearly zero percent return rate, which is unheard of in the eCommerce arena. The company’s call center employs about 30 females: 15 answering phone calls and 15 manning the instant messaging desks. The expertise of these specialists leads customers to their best options and proves successful in gaining a loyal following.
By Natalia Ignaczak