The investment arm of RTL Nederland is taking a minority interest in the seller of designer furniture Flinders for three million euros. That will start a TV campaign next month as part of the strategy to expand the brand.
Flinders wants to become the market leader in the design segment within the housing sector in the coming years. Director and founder Geert-Jan Smits thinks that this opportunity is realistic. “The housing sector has been very fragmented to date. Certainly in the higher segment there is no national brand that the consumer knows how to reach and operate via all channels. The current design furniture stores mainly have a regional focus and online superpowers such as Bol.com, Wehkamp and Fonq lack the specialization in the luxury segment. ”
His company is active in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany with its own stores, both online and in the physical world. Also in Germany it is active under its own name and therefore not dependent on Amazon, by far the largest e-commerce party in that country. “Because we only sell design brands, there is already a lot of organic search traffic that comes in with us.”
The money from RTL Ventures is investing Smits in marketing, personalization of the offer and international expansion. Some of the RTL millions go to TV advertising. Flinders will selectively advertise on television in the next two years. In two weeks the first campaign will start on the RTL channels. “In order to establish our brand, we are going to claim the design segment.” Flinders will also issue its own magazine.
“What also struck me a lot is RTL’s knowledge of brand building.” Smits will explain on May 31 during Emerce ‘E-commerce Live with which brand strategy he thinks he can distinguish himself from the big online vendors and market places.
Investment director Vincent Pieterson: “There are enormous opportunities for home shops that can use all channels to inspire and advise residential consumers. With the fragmentation of supply, it is only a matter of time that an online market leader also stands up in this segment. Flinders has all the characteristics to claim that position, thanks in particular to the multichannel approach and entrepreneurs at the helm with a proven track record in e-commerce. ”
Flinders wants to keep its sales growth of fifty percent per year. The sales total has to be 25 million euros next year. Over a number of years Smits expects to realize more than half of the turnover abroad. He believes it is feasible to grow to 100 million euros over time.
The investment of RTL Ventures is the second round venture capital. Peak Capital invested in 2013. Until then, Smits, once the founder of Jungle Minds, also paid for the activities from his own resources.