Meet Doli Grace, EMiLUX Alumna, Class of 2021 and the Founder of LEXCLUSIVE, an experiential luxury platform that sells exclusive luxury pieces and experiences to users around the world. Despite 2020 being a complicated year, Doli Grace recalls her time at ESSEC as a rewarding, challenging journey of discovery and improvement that she associates with the words...
#Passion #Resilience #Teamwork
ESSEC is one of the best Business Schools in the world and provides the most International program on Luxury and entrepreneurial development. I am now an entrepreneur, but I have an unusual background... EMiLUX enabled me to discover different aspects of the luxury industry and to build a reliable personal and professional network. The whole experience was the driving force behind my project... my first source of knowledge, clients, and partners.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during the program?
The biggest challenge for me was to follow the program until the end and stay strong when I had some family issues to deal with amidst a pandemic. At some point, I decided to fight and never give-up. Pursuing my goals has always been a priority. At times, it was really hard... but I found the strength to keep on building my future.
Did you have plans to start an entrepreneurial project before beginning the EMiLUX program or did it come during/after your time at ESSEC?
I had already started my own company before joining the EMiLUX program. My original vision remained the same, but the idea evolved, and I was able to scale-up my business model. I also found what was missing in the current luxury market and decided to start implementing this new idea during my time in the program, and three of my classmates ended up being a part of the adventure.
Tell us more about LEXCLUSIVE:
LEXCLUSIVE is a luxury membership digital platform that opens the doors to a fine selection of exclusive luxury pieces, the best tailor-made experiences with experts, and lifestyle services worldwide. Our vision is experiential connectivity and our mission is to create experiences for the luxury brands, all while harnessing a network of personal shoppers and connecting luxury consumers with each other, and with luxury brands.
We give access to exclusive events, both online & offline, curated for luxury houses and emerging designers in 12 cities around the world. The platform LEXCLUSIVE will operate in a multi-sided market, since we stand between luxury brands, high net-worth clients and personal shoppers around the world. LEXCLUSIVE brings extra connectivity to what luxury brands are already doing...
Does your project relate to your previous work experience?
Definitely!! I am the Founder and CEO of Esthelism, a luxury concierge company that focuses on tailored experiences. The idea of LEXCLUSIVE was born during the pandemic, that emphasized the problems luxury brands face with shipping: it was easy to see that luxury brands are slightly conservative concerning the digital world (especially when it comes to special/limited edition pieces) and that the pandemic pushed them into adopting more e-commerce tools.
On the other hand during, but also after the first covid-19 wave, clients started to rely more on digital strategies. Today, e-commerce within the Luxury industry serves as a marketplace for luxury goods, but two things are lacking: care and attention. Working in the luxury industry for many years now and knowing the problems that the market faces inspired me to create LEXCLUSIVE.
What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome on your entrepreneurial project so far?
For me, every day is a new challenge: both in my personal life and in my entrepreneurial project. Our challenges include following our vision, fighting to partner up with different renowned luxury houses, and collaborating with amazing brands. I am now discovering a new area within technology, and I learn new things every day with my CTO and my tech team. This will definitely help me connect the company vision to technology.
The ESSEC Incubator is well known and respected in France. Being an ESSEC Alumna and considering that I met half of my team during my program at ESSEC, we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. I knew we could get close support from experts in an environment of collaboration and support. The ESSEC incubator is the perfect place to grow my business, get expertise and mentorship, and possibly meet investors.
How did the ESSEC Incubator assist you in achieving your goals?
The ESSEC incubator is of big value in my entrepreneurial journey. We have learned so much from the incubator and we have met with incredible mentors, such as Nicolas LANDRIN, Delphine BEAU, Naima JEBBOURI, and different business angels, as well as ESSEC Career Services Director: Claire TAGAND-BATTARD. They give us the keys to scale our business, understand the different problems we could face, and also help through the many steps to start a company, while keeping a startup spirit and successfully structuring the team.
Where is your project at right now and where do you see it heading towards in the near future?
In March this year, we launched the first MVP (minimum viable product), with concierge services and live fashion show streaming. A chatbot was available with a fashion expert to help customers who wanted to order, to pre-order items, or simply to ask a question.
We had strong support on social media during W&W (an event that celebrates fine watchmaking worldwide) and created different reports with Audemars Piguet & Panerai. We also invited some of our members to a private zoom with Panerai’s CEO.
In the near future we will launch our membership access and the MVP e-commerce part will be launched the 7th of June. A selection of emerging designers & luxury houses will be offered to our members, as well as tailored experiences with luxury watch companies. We already raised 100K € during our first financing round and are now preparing for our second of 500K €. This will help us to further develop our technology and scale up our business.
Who inspires you most on a daily basis?
I am inspired by many incredible women in different domains, like fashion, art, the media, sports... but I’m also inspired by maleartists, entrepreneurs, professors, and friends who have creative mindsets. However, my number one inspiration is my mother. I inherited her values and she is my role model. She is my biggest supporter and has always believed in me..
What would be your advice to an EMiLUX future or current participant interested in starting their own business?
The road to a successful business is not easy. I would advise to stay focused on your priorities and what is important to you. Don’t be scared of reaching out for help and support. Call on your trusted advisors and contacts to help through your setbacks… people that will get you back on track. Listen to what the market is saying, and adapt your business accordingly. Lastly, I will say that resilience is key.
Be yourself and stay confident in your goals.