Today, we meet Simon Vancoppenolle and Olivier Danniau, cofounders of Hommeos the private sales platform for men and startup incubated at Look Forward.
What’s Homméos concept?
S : Hommeos is the first private sale for men. We propose good deals with good brands. We focused our platform on 4 universes: fashion, tech, design: all that can please a man.
O : A 100% private sales website for men could seem awkward, in fact you can’t find any in Europe. Yet, elsewhere than Europe there are many of it and have a lot of success!
Please, tell us about how you got here.
O : We’ve both made a business school in Belgium, the Louvain School of Management. During our studies, we followed an entrepreneurship training program. We’ve worked on various international projects, even in the USA. And finally when we came back to Europe, graduated, the only desire we had was to start our own company.
S : At first, we both operated in large structures, in Belgium and then in France. We worked respectively in Montpellier and Marseille. Regularly, we found ourselves in Arles – halfway between the two cities – in hotel lobbies, bars, restaurants. And it is here, under the midday sun, that our idea has been built up, and became a concrete project.
O : And then naturally, as soon as the opportunity arose: prospecting, market research, and start of Homméos. It was a year ago.
How did you come up with the idea?
O : I worked for a private sales site for almost two years, as a purchasing manager. I quickly realized that there was a market for men. Simon and I, realized that there was a place to take. And we took it!
S :The man segment, in several B2C industries, is today undoubtedly a “growing niche”. In our opinion, there is even room for huge growth.
What was your biggest challenge?
O : It was to quickly create a community. We didn’t have that much experience in customer relationship in a digital universe. But we’ve had advice by domain experts. That was a very rewarding experience.
S : It’s also really challenging to manage the full value chain of a company. The e-commerce is a really complete and complex profession, that asks to have many tricks up your sleeve. It’s a daily challenge and continuous learning.
Is it easier to be innovative in a large company or when you’re an entrepreneur?
O: It’s hard to say. Big companies can provide all the resources required, human and financial when it comes to set up innovative projects. An entrepreneur is faced with the necessity of being constantly innovative. It’s a vital issue for society.
S : Obviously, It depends of the corporate culture. But, a startup has to be innovative. If we want to impose ourselves in a market (keep one’s nose in the trough), it is really indispensable to differentiate your company and innovate. And so, in some ways, it’s more « natural » to innovate when you are an entrepreneur.
What is your ambition for Homméos ?
S : Simply to reach the European level. Our goal is also to become a key partner for our brands, to be indispensable.
O : In order to realize this ambition, we must now accelerate the recruitment of our community. We also aim for absolute reliability in the service provided to the customer.
You integrated the third incubation promotion at Look Forward. What does this years at Look Forward mean to you?
O : This is obviously a new step for Homméos. We have been able to prove that our model makes sense and that there are strong growth prospects in the world of private sales for men in France and in Europe.
S : It’s a really great opportunity for us, Showroomprivé is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in France, furthermore it’s specialized in private sales.