5 Questions With Florence Coirier Giraudon, Founder of BuyMeDesign

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Having worked in the design industry for many years as a designer and account director for various agencies, Florence launched the first design publication for Asia when she first moved to Hong Kong in 2009. Through this, she was able to develop an eye for spotting emerging talents. After interviewing local designers, she went on to curate several design events such as designr-rdv at DETOUR Hong Kong.

Realizing she had a passion for spotting, sharing and supporting designers from around the world, BuyMeDesign was born as a combination of a blog, community and e-commerce site. In their launch, BuyMeDesign’s first featured product was the Pop Phone by Native Union – which has gone on to achieve legendary and iconic status.

What is your startup?

Buymedesign is the Asian online curator for designers and shops. We are not doing flash sales, we sell at premium to retailers and consumers. At our core is the ability of our design curators and spot contributors to scout the world and reveal undiscovered gems of design.

A scalable designer retail site with: dedicated e-corners for each designer who update their offer live, track orders and stocks, BuyMeDesign is also an editorial site with an open CMS to publish reviews, interviews, trends and syndicate the best articles to famous media.

With the value proposition: “spot and buy design products from emerging talents,” BuyMeDesign has a unique curation model which combines our expertise in design spotting with online technology to connect designers and design enthusiasts across the world.

The expertise behind BuyMeDesign’s curation aims to alert, educate and sell quirky products to retailers and consumers. Its brand building tool helps designers promote and sell their products at an affordable budget – a fixed fee for B2C and B2B with 30% commission on every sale.

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How did you come up with this idea?

Having worked in the design industry for many years as a designer and account director for various agencies in advertising-print and digital. I launched the 1st design publication for Asia when I first moved to Hong Kong in 2009 and through this I started spotting emerging talents, interviewing local designers, collecting their needs and I went on to curate HIT products that were not available in the local stores.

I saw some limitations in expanding a print publication in design in Asia, at this point I saw a real opportunity to grow online and create a new business model that mixes print, e-business and PR services for designers and shops. Furthermore, I wanted to spot, share, support and curate designers from around the world with a global audience, and thus buyMeDesign was born as a combination blog, community and e-commerce site.

Who are you targeting and how big is the market in HK/Asia?

1.We support designers
Most Hong Kong and Asian talented designers are little known internationally. They have limited budget and resources to afford media coverage and grow their business. This trend is global.

2.We source consumers, retailers and architects.
They need to find and source original design from Asia or get traffic to their stores.

B2C Ecommerce opportunity and market size in North America and UK (41% worldwide Ecommerce market): BuyMeDesign product offering is at the cross-road of 3 product segments: apparel & accessories, furniture & home-furnishing, toys and hobby markets.
These are the fastest growing ecommerce sales categories, stronger and larger than the computer and electronics segments.

What are your future plans for your startup?

Our development plan in Hong Kong in the next three years is to secure Hong Kong as the number one market to develop the model while expanding the B2B model with sales agents in key Asian markets and overseas. We also want to reinforce our brand image and promotion with our event In Bed With Designers (Asia’s first boutique designer sleepover) and long-term media partnerships and design fairs. Another thing we want to do is take advantage of Hong Kong’s trading and logistics strength to expand the business overseas – and to also open our first showroom, a flagship store.

1 Benefit and 1 Challenge in the HK startup scene?

It has been a real challenge to launch in Hong Kong a start-up in e-commerce and design since Hong Kong is not recognized as a hub for design and consumers are mostly going to buy in shops.

As part of our mission we have to:
- Educate a new generation of consumers and professionals to develop a culture of design
- Develop a taste for quality, utility
- Promote the local craftsmanship
- Fight against counterfeit and product standardization related to mass production

Florence Coirier Giraudon on Startbase.HK: Florence Coirier Giraudon

BuyMeDesign on Startbase.HK: BuyMeDesign