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The BoF Podcast: Moda Operandi’s Ganesh Srivats and Lauren Santo Domingo on Their China Expansion Plans

Imran Amed sits down with the luxury e-commerce site’s co-founder and CEO to discuss plans to enter the Chinese market and capitalise on the ‘crystal ball’ of data.
Imran Amed, Lauren Santo Domingo and Ganesh Srivats attend the BoF China Summit | Getty Images
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SHANGHAI, China — As a junior editor at Vogue, Lauren Santo Domingo had privileged, front-row access to the the epicentre of the fashion world. But she soon realised that there was a “disconnect between the industry insiders and then the actual customers, the women who wanted to buy the clothes going down the runway.”

Santo Domingo's desire to close this gulf brought about Moda Operandi, the trunk show for the digital age that allows customers to pre-order pieces straight from the runway. Since its inception in 2010 with co-founder Aslaug Magnusdottir, the company has raised over $290 million in funding, with its latest round securing $160 million to focus on expansion into China.

Speaking at the BoF China Summit, Santo Domingo — now the luxury e-tailer's chief brand officer — and chief executive Ganesh Srivats unpack their strategy for entering China. For Srivats, it's not about "looking for a big quick win," but a question of laying the foundations suitable for the company "three, five years out... We're going to build something here from the ground up."

But Moda Operandi’s success prompts questions of expansion in another area: data. As well as forming a lean model for inventory control, the company’s consumer-led trunk show approach has created a wealth of data for predicting consumer patterns and trends. Going forward, it’s a central part of the company’s strategy, says Srivats.

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