European Off-Price Designer Marketplace Otrium Launches In U.S.

Atrium is an e-commerce site based in Europe. Alternative for overstocks of designer clothes is growing in this country and may soon be a new digitally-native rival in the same way as T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack JWN, and other brick-and-mortar stores priced at a discount.

Atrium The name is meant to reference outlets, online or Atrium (as in an elegant shopping center). The concept was first introduced about five years ago in the Netherlands. The owners of a high-end clothing business decided there needed to be a better solution to manage their surplus inventory.
Today, with a $ 120 million Series C funding round to boost expansion in the U.S., Atrium hopes to be popular in America like it has been in Europe. It has 3 million customers registered (members), and it claims to have saved 6.7 million clothes from landfills or incinerators through the sale of excess stock at prices up to 75 percent off.

Customers sign up as members on the website and are then notified when the merchandise is sold.
Zuhairah Washington, who is in charge of the company’s U.S. expansion as the company’s president, stated that Atrium has upscale clothing brands that offer a lot of advantages over traditional ways of managing surplus stock.

“It provides sway over price and inventory in a way that just doesn’t exist in your traditional offline stock buyer connection, and candidly that does not exist with a lot of the online players as well who purchase inventory,” Washington declared.

Additionally, she added, Atrium is a platform for technology that provides brands with real-time information and analysis about how the products they sell are doing.
“Often in market places that transparency of data is not part of the model that they’ve built, but it’s critical to us, given our broader purpose is to ensure that all clothing that is produced is worn,” Washington stated. “So we want brands to captivate with that data and use it to make their processes more efficient.”

The site also allows brands to sell their products online without the expense of building their websites and provides analytics that shows how to price surplus inventory to reach the goal of selling through.
For the consumer, Washington said, Atrium provides them with a means to search for new brands online and at a lower cost and feel great that they are helping make fashion more eco-friendly.

The Atrium forms part of a growing trend to tackle the massive amount of waste generated by the fashion industry because of products that are not sold. Brands, especially luxury brands, destroy unsold items to avoid selling off-price items that could lower the brand’s worth.
According to Atrium, most of the clothing produced ends up in landfills or incinerators within one year of its production and over eight percent of the global CO2 emissions generated by the footwear and apparel industries.

The atrium was established by childhood pals Milan Daniels and Max Klijnstra, who launched an apparel line as recent university graduates. Atrium now has more than 270 employees and has locations in London, New York, and Amsterdam.
Brands ship their surplus stock in Atrium’s stores. Atrium sells it through its website and manages the fulfillment, shipping, returns, and customer service.
Suppose Atrium cannot sell all its inventory. In that case, it collaborates with other sellers at a discount and non-profit organizations to ensure that the items are donated or sold, but or disposed of, Washington said.

Atrium has 300 brands on the platform at present. However, none of these brands are accessible within the United States. Atrium anticipates having 50 brands on the platform before the end of this year.
Brands that are available for U.S. customers include Cynthia Rowley, Faherty, Adam Lippes, and Reiss. Brands that are major on the European platform, like Karl Lagerfeld and Asics, are also on the U.S. website.

Designer Adam Lippes, a brand from the United States, is an example of a company that can benefit from the benefits of Atrium, Washington said.
Atrium’s U.S. Atrium site has been online and has been accepting new customers for several weeks. However, the company did not begin promoting it until this week. Atrium plans to make use of social media platforms and influencers to encourage Atrium in the United States.
Retailers that sell off-price clothing were late to the scene as sales were moving online. Chains like Loehmann’s, based on the traditional in-person treasure hunt, brick-and-mortar shop model, were wiped out. In the meantime, TJX Companies, owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, has launched an online shopping site to T.J. Maxx in 2013 and an online store for Marshall’s website in the year 2019, but, as of fiscal 2021, the total of its online operations accounted for only 3.3% of sales, as stated in the annual reports.

The virus has brought the designer and luxury fashion industry much more knowledgeable about e-commerce. Atrium is now entering the market of online outlets with a more significant amount of competition than it has been facing just in the past.
Atrium hopes to succeed by providing brands, specifically smaller designer brands, a better solution for overstocked stock. Washington believes Atrium will also attract those who would like to save money on designer clothing and accessories and are interested in protecting the environment.

“There’s a shift that we are all seeing to consumers looking to have their wallets match their values,” Washington declared. “From our perspective, shopping at Atrium and wearing items that are already produced is a great way for consumers to exercise their values.”

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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