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US-based luxury fashion e-commerce platform Olivela raises 35 million in Series A funding

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

24 Sep 2019

New York – Olivela, a luxury apparel e-commerce platform based in the U.S. has recently completed a fundraising round. Led by Morgan Stanley, it secured 35 million dollars in Series A funding.

The retailer plans to use the new funds to expand its business “both digitally and physically,” says CEO and founder Stacey Boyd. “We are building our internal product team to continually evolve the product offering to ensure that it’s best in class, while also expanding our retail footprint in the U.S. and internationally,” she said in a corporate release.

The e-tailer launched online in June 2017 after Boyd took a trip in 2016 with activist Malala Yousafzai where she visited girls in refugee camps in Kenya and Rwanda. As she carried around her designer bag, Boyd realised she could send the girls she met to school for a year for a fraction of her bag’s cost. When she returned home, Boyd called several luxury brands and told them about her experience. Soon after, she launched Olivela with 12 luxury brands, including Valentino, Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana. Now, it stocks more than 400 luxury brands.

This expansion of its business also will help Olivela find and partner with more charitable organisations in the U.S. and around the world, Boyd says. Additionally, the retailer plans to open additional boutiques this year with the fresh funding, accelerating their holidays’ focus. On this note, Olivela claims it registered 90 times the number of transactions in December 2018 than in January 2019.

Technology put at the service of the greater good

Olivela uses technology in some of its stores across the U.S. to show off every purchase’s “Olivela Effect.” Within 11 seconds of completing a purchase, a customer sees the impact of their purchase displayed on the wall. For example, it might say: “Thank you, Ashley, you just sent a girl to school for 53 days.” Olivela developed their own technology that connects with its point-of-sale system to do this.

As explained by company sources, Olivela’s mission is providing girls in underdeveloped countries with the opportunity to go to school. 20 percent of every purchase made at Olivela goes to benefit educating girls around the world through one of its three partner charitable organisations: Malala Fund, CARE and Too Young to Wed.

"It's exciting to be reinventing luxury retail with purpose. For every Olivela purchase, we donate 20 percent to causes our customers care about through partnering with non-profit organisations and luxury designer brands," said in a corporate announcement Kristen Sosa, Olivela Chief Merchant.

As of mid-September 2019, sales from Olivela have provided more than 161,000 days of school to girls worldwide, according to the retailer.

Image: Official website, Olivela