From idea to marketplace: introducing Mia Burton
Carlo Alberto Lipari
Carlo Alberto Lipari Friday, 19 June 2020

From idea to marketplace: introducing Mia Burton

Choosing a pair of glasses online often generates more doubts than satisfaction. Did you notice that? I did, being a digital marketing enthusiast grown up in a family of passionate opticians.

As a frequent e-shopper, I noticed that fashion websites describe frames as generic accessories. But glasses are so much different from bags, or scarves. People need accurate information about materials, sizes, and proportions; they want to be reassured about quality (expecting glasses to last more than a t-shirt) and know whether a certain model will fit their face shape or not.

Many other e-commerce websites are more focused on the technical features of the frame rather than on the design or peculiarities of brands and collections. Users can browse adequate catalogues and take advantage of functional transaction tools, but they are less emotionally engaged.

These are the gaps I’m looking forward to bridge, with the help of my brother Gabriele. Being a skilled optician with a genuine passion for eyewear, he has the pulse of what customers want.

The idea of Mia Burton aspires to be an international marketplace, a hub for the fashion eyewear addicted and an accelerator of commercial synergies. For this reason, the experience we’re designing goes far beyond the purchase of a pair of glasses.

We want people to feel welcomed, as if they were entering a specialized boutique. We want to enable a closer and detailed look to the frames, creating the feeling of something you can touch. We want to assist them at every step of their purchase, making the process as human and empathic as it can be. In other words, we’re trying to integrate the best part of the analog experience into the digital one; more than this, we’ll give customers the possibility to choose among thousands of different models, selected by our partners from all over the world. Our advanced search will help them focus what they truly want and find it more easily.

We imagine Mia Burton as a place to find inspiration and discover new objects of desire. Editorial content and products will alternate within an immersive collage, plus, we’ll constantly scout and cover emerging designers and trends. Last but not least, we’ll create new opportunities for retailers, in order to expand their business and foster collaborations on a global scale.

A vision with solid foundations

I believe one of the project’s strengths is how we’re making it a reality. The path we’ve been tracing to get to is very distant from the canonical startup journey.

We choose certainties as our starting points. First of all, we’re leveraging the insights acquired in over forty years of retail experience in the field of optics. We’re aware of the needs of eyewear customers, we know the logistic chain, and we’ve learned how to manage the personal and commercial relationship with brands and partners.

We can also count on our reputation and on a solid network, which allowed us to establish a strategic partnership with Luxottica and Kering while closing deals with successful marketplaces in Europe, USA, and Asia.

And we’re putting to use my past experience with Papèm, a digital-to-retail app for fashion and design. I learned so many valuable lessons from the conclusion of that adventure.

These assets were used to build the foundations of Mia Burton.

In 2018 we developed, a vertical e-commerce involving the work of a cross-functional team of 16 professionals; meanwhile we launched an international network of marketplaces which registered rapid growth. Thanks to the data collected on the platforms in two years, the decisions we take are truly informed: we took a lot of the guessing out of Mia Burton’s go-to-market strategy, as we’ve already validated many crucial aspects.

Following this line of action we’ve also set the premises for financial solidity. Compared with 2019, transactions have increased by 150%; we expect our turnover to reach +160% at the end of 2020.

This approach is beginning to bear fruit. It is gaining us the trust of advisors and other stakeholders while allowing us to attract talented professionals, even before the marketplace is officially launched. We recently recruited our Partnership Manager, Head of Eastern Market Development, and Country Manager China: they have already joined our office in Milan to enhance our Italian network and fine-tune our plan for breaking into Oriental markets. In the meanwhile, the team based in Palermo’s headquarters is working hard for the launch.

There’s so much more to tell. We’ll unveil more about Mia Burton’s progress in the upcoming weeks.