February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

Founder of new fashion sourcing network Sourcewhere is Erica Wright.

With a background in luxury and stints at leading e-commerce heavyweights, we find out how different it is launching her own business and what the future of shopping looks like.

What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine?

I like to start my day as calm and slowly as possible, because from the moment my laptop opens it’s rather the opposite. I make a coffee first, then go through my list for the day and write everything down – for both work and personal life – before getting ready. I try not to look at any screens for at least the first hour of the day, although that’s easier said than done! It took a while for me to establish a routine when I started the business but ultimately learned that it’s important to take that time for yourself and set some boundaries, especially when you’re working from home.

When was the moment you realized you had to make the leap and start your own brand and how did your previous roles pave the way for this?

I think first and foremost, it’s important to say how much my time at various global brands gave me the opportunity to learn and experience what I was passionate about which was products and people. I think PR and Communications is one of those departments where you’re really exposed to everything – from marketing to editorial, buying and personal shopping, even tech and finance. Whether you’re writing a press release for an exclusive capsule, or managing interviews for key spokespeople, you constantly have to be wearing different hats to effectively communicate these stories and perspectives. I was always curious and wanted to learn more – I was very lucky to work with and for some incredibly inspiring people who gave me both the tools and autonomy to do just that. The decision to start a new business came about naturally, I had an instinct that the idea I had was worth exploring, so I started the research – speaking to everyone who would listen, and it all went forward from there.

What is at the core of Sourcewhere, the DNA and business model?

Sourcewhere is a place to find and request curated luxury and contemporary fashion, or as we like to put it, “beautiful things”. We’re a marketplace that connects people to source what they’re looking for, be it a current season favourite or a rare past season find. In a digital age, it seemed almost unthinkable that customers were still having to spend so much time trawling through search engines, marketplaces and even calling stores to find items that weren’t easy to locate, so it felt like the right time to create a digital tool that would make sourcing accessible for everyone.

We’re solutions-driven when it comes to creating a space where all these issues are addressed in one centralized place, particularly our software and logistics. At the same time, the curated focus across our content and community is key for us – it was important that what we were building had a clear purpose and solved a problem, but the execution of it had to be with a brand aesthetic that made the Sourcewhere “world” instantly recognizable. We believe that less is better, and this is really at the centre of everything we do – from how we communicate and present our visuals, to the product curation we have on Sourcewhere.


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A post shared by Sourcewhere (@sourcewhere)

How do the commercial and creative sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business? Who supports you – do you have a team?

They very much go hand-in-hand as ultimately, the user experience is what matters most. There are a lot of complexities involved in the logistics and operations of the sourcing process, so whilst those need to be addressed, it also has to be done in a way that is engaging and seamless. That’s where the creative part comes in – you can have the most seamless and considered structure for your product, but the creative and artistic direction is what keeps your brand’s point of difference clear, and your audience engaged. I loved the creative process the most when I started Sourcewhere – it felt more natural to me, but I learned so much through the technical build process and somehow, it switched to this – for now at least. Which brings me to people; I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented individuals throughout this process who are now core team members or advisors. Whether you’re working with full-time employees or part-time freelancers, surrounding yourself with people who really believe in the vision and what you’re building is the core factor of any and all support.

What has been the largest challenge since deciding to build the brand and how did you overcome it?

Product development. When you’re building something new, there are about a million different ways that you can do it. I learned pretty quickly that you can’t get hung up on every detail being perfect – you constantly have to change things and keep moving with it. It started with an idea, a laptop, and some post-it notes, and now we have this incredible software and system that is the result of so many moving parts, hours spent researching and building, and ultra-talented people coming together. It’s a special thing to see the product start from a single line of code to people interacting with something that might seem simple, but is actually very complex.

Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you?

I have been lucky to have both worked with and met some brilliant people that are experts in their individual fields, prior to and whilst building Sourcewhere. The key piece of advice I’ve always taken throughout this process is if you hear the word impossible, always ask what is possible. Building something new can at times feel completely unrealistic, but you have to keep moving forward and believe that you’ll find a solution – it might not be the perfect one, but it’ll get you to the next step and likely teach you something new along the way.

Which products have you had the most requests for to date?

So far, we’ve seen a lot of requests for brands such as Amina Muaddi and Bottega Veneta, to Céline by Phoebe Philo, The Row and Totême. It’s interesting to see the demand for some of these pieces that have unexpectedly sold out very quickly, especially with some of the niche, contemporary brands that are hard to find. We see a balance between present and past season items, which is what’s unique to our business model and specifically, sourcing.


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A post shared by Sourcewhere (@sourcewhere)

What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand?

As we’re early stage, we’re very much focused on one channel only right now which is Instagram. I think in a very over-saturated space, you have to really pinpoint what your customers love to engage with and continually work to make that area the most exciting, interesting part of promoting your brand or business on social media. It’s definitely an important area of the business for us to grow our community and organically engage with existing and prospective customers. It’s incredibly important as a start-up to listen to your users from day one – when you’re engaging with a like or a comment, your marketing strategy is also your customer service strategy. They’re ultimately who you’re building the platform for, so their feedback via this medium is paramount to the future of the business.

This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that?

I think that a curated, personalised approach is going to be essential to the way consumers engage with luxury fashion in all forms, whether it’s new items, re-sale or rental. Shoppers have never had more to choose from, yet they still struggle to find what they’re looking for. Sourcewhere is the antidote to excessive choice – our aim is to significantly cut down the browsing time customers spend searching for their desired piece but in an accessible way. Be it a one-time purchase or returning client, we’re streamlining the process of finding items online and offline and providing a space where shoppers can have direct access to a network of trustworthy suppliers who can source exactly what they’re looking for. Additionally, we want to highlight how important a less, but better approach to shopping is, not only for the individual but the impact that has on the industry as a whole. Our hope is that by helping shoppers to find the pieces they’re truly coveting, they’ll look after these investments for the long term. The future of luxury shopping is personal, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive.

February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

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Images: Supplied