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Quick Pitch: Pre-order accessories "straight off the runway."
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Genius Idea: Gives shoppers another incentive to pre-order by stocking brands difficult to obtain in the U.S..
Keiron McCammon and Shari Rudolph thinks there's room for more than one Moda Operandi on the web.
McCammon and Rudolph, both former executives of Hearst-owned style discovery platform Kaboodle, took the wraps off of Bonfaire.com last month. It shamelessly imitates a business model pioneered by Moda Operandi, which raised $36 million in its last funding round in June.
Like M'O, visitors can pre-order next season's fashion goods "straight off the runway" -- i.e., shortly after they've been shown to buyers and press. Shoppers pay 50% upfront, which helps cover designers' production costs, and the other 50% when it's shipped three to seven months later.
Why pre-order? It's one way customers can ensure they'll get the items they want in their sizes. Often, what appears on the runway doesn't make its way into a store -- and even some designs that do are only carried in sample sizes. Furthermore, Bonfaire is focusing on labels that have limited distribution in the U.S. Rudolph cites Innue, an Italian handbag designer, as an example.
"Our assortment will ultimately be our key point of differentiation," Rudolph wrote in an e-mail to Mashable. "We will have brands that Moda Operandi has not/does not carry, but that alone is not the goal."
Bonfaire is carrying a few big-name brands, including Missoni, Etro and and Giambattista Valli, as well this season. Bonfaire will also focus more on accessories than apparel, which Rudolph believes appeal to a broader audience.
Price points will likewise be more accessible. Bags and shoes will typically fall between $400 and $900, and jewelry will be priced as low as $100, Rudolph said. Most items on M'O, by contrast, cost $900 or more, although the site this fall has introduced several lower-priced lines, such as Marc by Marc Jacobs and 10 Crosby Derek Lam, which offer products in the $350 to $600 price range.
Though far more limited than M'O, I was pleasantly surprised with the product selection on the site. These were brands and products I hadn't come across before, and several of the designs -- a red, heeled sandal from Chelsea Paris, above, and a pair of gold-plated and jet crystal drop earrings from Anton Heunis -- were seriously tempting. The fact that I may not be able to get my hands on these goods in the future gave me a compelling reason to pre-order.
Meanwhile, M'O is expanding internationally, and will begin carrying in-season merchandise alongside pre-orders this holiday season.
Thumbnail courtesy of Flickr, Alicia Nijdam
This story originally published on Mashable here.