Fashion entrepreneur invests $1.2m into "potential global brand".
UK-based online jewellery retailer Astley Clarke is set to launch a US-focused site this month, following a second round of investment from luxury goods investor Carmen Busquests.
The Venezuelan luxury goods sponsor recently invested more money into the online retailer, and has invested a total $.12m (£747,000) into the company to date.
The current round of funding is being used to increase brand equity and to look to international markets, with Astley Clarke’s US dollar website launching this month.
The funds will also be applied to the development of new luxury jewellery collections and interactive technologies that aim to engage the luxury consumer online.
Busquests has also been made a member of Astley Clarke’s board. She was a founding investor and board director of Net-A-Porter.com, and is said to have recognized the potential of Astley Clarke early on, and its appeal to a “new generation of luxury consumer”.
Busquets has said of her appointment to the board: “Astley Clarke is one of the pioneers in building a luxury jewellery brand focused on e-commerce and the first brand to offer a full range of high end, iconic jewellery online, supporting a new generation of luxury consumer who wants the freedom to choose product that is right for them.
“I believe that Astley Clarke has the potential to become a global brand online as well as offline, competing in the international retail environment.”
Alongside its online expansion Astley Clarke has initiated a retail strategy with key partners including Harrods and Liberty. After its first year of trading in Harrods in 2011, Astley Clarke is now one of the bestselling jewellery brands at the luxury department store and will continue to develop its own brand jewellery as well as its promotion of designers from around the world.
Bec Astley Clarke, the founder of Astley Clarke, said: “AstleyClarke is a pioneer in changing the way luxury consumers shop for jewellery online. We are passionate about our brand and are proud to have carved a unique niche for ourselves as a luxury jewellery brand and e-tailer that is far removed from homogenized mass luxury.
“Our online nature means that we can speak to the individual by using sophisticated technologies – this is combined with an incredibly high-end approach to customer service thus re-inventing the way luxury consumers shop.”