The e-commerce market in Africa is going through the roof. In the past 3 years, we’ve seen tech unicorns, logistics companies, and even fintechs enter the space. What we have not seen so much of, though, are niche-specific e-commerce players. This is where The Fashion Kingdom (TFK) has a competitive advantage. The fashion-based e-commerce startup is focused on digitising the way fashion items are bought and sold in Egypt, and now, they have raised $2.6 million in funding to scale operations.
TFK was founded in 2020, the pandemic year that saw e-commerce rise exponentially in Africa. The CEO and founder, Fadi Antaki, set out to solve the following problems in Egypt’s e-commerce fashion space: inaccurate data systems, unclear photography, inaccurate size charts, complicated returns processes, and inefficient customer support. In their latest press release, Antaki claims that they are positioned perfectly to become the best choice for fashion shoppers in Egypt, and investors seem to think so too.
TFK’s marketplace aggregates a wide range of products—clothes, accessories, beauty products, etc— that meets the needs of Egypt’s diverse demographics. Also, the startup takes a step further to provide an omnichannel experience that allows customers to seamlessly shop and exchange fashion products when needed.
“We established the company pre-COVID. And at the time, we saw a big gap or maybe a lack of focus on a place dedicated to selling fashion products, recommendations for what to wear, quick deliveries, and different payment methods. There wasn’t anyone focused on this, especially in fashion,” Antaki said to TechCrunch.
One hundred and fifty thousand Egyptians have, by their monthly patronage, validated TFK’s business model. There are presently more than 200 merchants on the e-commerce platform, with merchants growing at a monthly average of 12.5%. Notably, TFK has 40% of its sales from returning customers, an above-average rate by industry standards.
Perhaps, TFK’s repeat rate stems from its devotion to customer experience. The startup provides secondary services to its users in several ways. One of such services is a virtual fitting room that helps brands to understand customers and their needs more effectively. Armed with important details like customers’ sizes and preferences, the brands can then recommend outfits for different occasions. However, this virtual fitting room feature is yet to be active on the e-commerce platform.
TFK’s “360-degree value proposition” for brands also involves covering operations, co-marketing, and digital content creation services.
“Earlier this year, we found that one of the most important areas we thought we needed to focus on was the brand. There are good quality and price brands that don’t have the know-how to sell online. They need a lot of support in operation, fulfilment, warehousing, and digital production and photography,” the CEO said.
“So besides selling their products, we help them with the different aspects that would then be able to sell well online, whether supporting the operation or the marketing side. And for us, it’s not just about reselling their products but also going in as their digital partners.”
Antaki confirmed that between April 2021 and April 2022, TFK tripled its sales volume and increased its revenue accordingly. Its revenue comes through the traditional e-commerce revenue model, which counts a mark-up to products, and a consignment model, which takes a commission. Extra revenue comes from additional services like photography and marketing, which the startup provides to brands.
Remarkably, this $2.5 million raise is TFK’s first funding round since its inception in 2020. Egypt-based venture capital firm CVentures led the funding round with participation from Raba Capital, Foundation Ventures, The Cairo Angels, Sunny Side Venture Partners, Nasser Chourbag, Lotus Capital, Paul Antaki, and A15(an early-stage VC in the MENA region which has Antaki as one of its general partners).
Per TFK’s press release statement, the company will use the investment to accelerate growth, build scalable technology and develop its team.
“We intend to fill in the needs in terms of talent, build our technology, optimise our operation, and end-customer experience. So basically, using the funds in tech, talent, and operations,” the CEO remarked.