1. February 2012–
Monoqi boss Simon Fabich is exactly the kind of Berlin founder I like to meet in my free time: He's under 30, spent the last eight of his ten formative years abroad, likely rides his bike to work, and only lives in Mitte because it's convenient (far too trendy for this native Berliner). Plus, he can tell me exactly why his company is going to be nothing like ahalife.com.
As I slide into the comfy banquette at Cookies Cream (Cookies' vegetarian dig near the Westin Grand), I'm pleased to observe that the CEO of this week's most-talked-about shopping club (Christophe Maire's new luxury design market Monoqi) is polished, well-spoken, and only a glass of wine late.
"Our ideal customer is male, gay, and wealthy," Fabich says, as the butternut squash soup arrives. He's genuine and genuinely well-dressed.
When he mentions a third of his team is American, my heart starts beating...
"How do you say it in English...liquid? They tend to be influencers. It's the Apple effect."
Is it too soon to fall in love? Maybe. But Monoqi's got good schwag.
I haven't even received my official invite yet, but, I can't help it. I'm already digging Monoqi. And what's not to dig?
1.) They retweet Unlike's comments about Cut & Paste. 2.) They were trained by local design luminaries like Matthias Dietz and Christophe Maire. 3.) Unlike the traditional shopping club models about town (like Brands4Friends, or Rocket's new and not-so-Fab clone Bamarang), they're steering far away from overstock. 4.) They've already got Felix Petersen and Esther Perbandt signed up to blog 5.) plus loads of intriguing characters on board, like Jillian May, performance artist Adina Bier and Chicago-bred artist Alexander Coggin. 6.) About half their staff (25 since October) come from an art or design background (Schlegel's father owned a luminary company.) 7.) Together, they hail from ten separate countries. 8.) They share pictures of customized notebooks from Paper Works on Facebook 9.) They like to race Rockets side-by-side (and are getting a thrill out of it) 10.) They have (so far) done a good job of keeping themselves classy (unlike that girl you took to prom)- in design, team, and vision.
"We're offering design products from around the world to people with impeccable taste," says Fabich, who started adulthood as a strategy consultant and met his co-founder Felix Schlegel in Singapore while getting his MBA.
"The European design market is more conservative than in the US," Fabich explains, finishing off his second glass of Chardonnay. "Often if a European designer is sold in the US it's through a mediator so there's less care in terms of the price and representation." Interesting...
Curious: Who are these 10 design scouts and can I meet em? Thanks for turning up to save the day, Monoqi. If only I knew what your name meant....