Two young entrepreneurs have launched a new online market for men’s fashion and lifestyle focused on bringing brands that offer craftsmanship, heritage and unique stories to a new audience. Bombinate is the brainchild of childhood friends Massimiliano Gritti and Elliott Aeschlimann and it launches on 8 May.
The pair, who are based in London’s Shoreditch, have spent the past 12 months searching the UK and Europe for brands with which to launch their site and have secured 30 from an Italian-made swimwear brand to a UK-made grooming products brand. Bombinate (which is a rarely used old English word meaning to hum or buzz) will showcase the brands on its site and tell their stories, as well as offering opportunities to take advantage of wider benefits of being part of its “hive” such as collaborations, cross promotions influencer outreach.
Gritti and Aeschlimann say they intend to do away with the “dusty workshop” associations consumers can have of crafted products by representing them on a high-tech platform. “After travelling throughout Europe in search of talent, we discovered that craftsmanship is perpetuated by dynamic and passionate brands that have never been so numerous,” they said.
The pair are being advised on the venture by Renaud Dutreil, former president of LVMH North America and French SMEs Minister who said that no one had created an online platform that premium artisanal brands felt comfortable with. “They are unlikely to sell on Amazon or Etsy and they don’t want their brand image associated with high-street brands in other marketplaces. These brands are often absent from the traditional online retail circuit as they do not fit into the next hour delivery model. Achieving quality takes time and this leaves them with no other options,” he said.
Gritti said the inspiration for the site came about while he and Aeschlimann took part in a charity trip along The Silk Road. “We started asking ourselves, what’s quality today? What does it mean and who is promoting it?” he said. The pair then visited trade shows, including Pitti Uomo in Florence, to scout for brands, as well as scouring social media and asking for word of mouth referrals.
The site will run on a marketplace model (individual brands will fulfil orders but Bominate will hand all order taking and payment) and part of the ethos is to encourage brands to collaborate with each other and share each other’s networks. “Brands are embracing what we are doing to bring back quality; we are doing it together,” Gritti said.
Fabio Attanasio, an influencer and co-founder of The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear brand said he was impressed by the number of brands that answered Bominate’s call. “I think there is a growing number of such brands out there that are eager to reach beyond their respective niches without having to compromise on what makes them special, and Bombinate offers this window,” he said.
Bombinate launches Monday 8 May at 1pm.