Salut, Menlook! Maxime Brunet, Head of Singapore, Meninvest talks about going regional and using the city-state as a stepping stone
Having officially launched Menlook, a France-based online retailer for menswear under media and e-commerce group Meninvest, in Singapore earlier this month, Maxime Brunet, Head of Singapore representative office, sat down with e27 for a chat about the firm’s plans to expand in Asia.
“Singapore is a fashion hub for Southeast Asia. We are also working to open an office in Tokyo, as well to target Japan and Korea,” said Brunet, who is the only one based out of the city-state for now.
Is Southeast Asia important to Menlook? “For now, not yet, but we hope that it will be an interesting market, and we believe that there is a demand for new brands, and more qualitative and less brand name-focused brands. In Singapore, it’s always the same brands in the mall, especially for men,” he explained.
Update: Menlook will focus on deployment of its strategy that saw success in Europe, in Asia in 2014. To this end, the newly-opened Singapore office will focus on Southeast Asia and Australia. This office will be supported by the installation of a second team in Japan by the end of the year.
Not only does Menlook curate and carry more than 250 brands such as Nudie Jeans, Kenzo and Sperry Top Sider, it also has a private eponymous label that comes up with “a vast array of basics” such as shirts, sweaters and shoes.
Furthermore, efforts to expand outside of Europe and onto Asia is boosted by the concept that this part of the world is only starting to thrive. “It’s a market for the next 10 years,” added Brunet.
However, payment issues still continue to plague Southeast Asia. He said, “That’s something we’re working on, and it’s also a reason why we launched from Singapore. … Credit cards are not a problem here. We offer Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal, and for the other countries, we’re still thinking of a solution. It’s an issue.”
Customers will be able to enjoy worldwide shipping on Menlook with UPS at a fee of S$35 (US$28), which will be waived if the total order is above S$350 (about US$278). “We believe that shipping is an important part of service,” said Brunet, “and we hear a lot of complaints ordering from websites here and having trouble with SingPost and having trouble getting their packages, which is why we partner with UPS to deliver quickly and with quality in all of the region.” (Sic)
At the moment, Menlook does not seem to face much competition from local menswear online retailers, other than perhaps Singapore-based custom shirt business Marcella.
Brunet noted, “Basically, our competitors here would be more ASOS on the lower end — our brands are a little higher-end than ASOS — and MRPORTER would be the higher end. MRPORTER has the luxury brands you can find at Orchard Road quite easily. ASOS has more of the high-street brands, and we have more of the designer brands. It’s not easy to find the in-between.”
Undoubtedly, the launch of the e-store is great news for men in Singapore who would like to have more options when it comes to shopping online.