Collecto is an online luxury retailer that offers an unparalleled gifting experience through distinctive product curation, exceptional gift presentation and bespoke customer service.

Collecto founder Federika Longinotti-Buitoni, WG’18 gives her elevator pitch… in an elevator

Why is Collecto important?

Collecto was born from a combination of passion and need–passion for luxury and design, and need for an exceptional gifting experience. Our mission is to create a high-touch experience by combining technology with product curation expertise to ultimately bring people closer together. Most importantly, through our discovery platform, Collecto will help small luxury brands be discovered, be recognized and be admired.

What is your previous startup experience?

Prior to Wharton, I worked for an online luxury retailer based in NYC called Moda Operandi (M’O). I joined a team of 15 employees at the time as their first and only intern, when the company was 4 months old. After 5 years, the team had grown to over 150 employees and revenues of $75M+. I perfectly remember the first email from my boss, assigning me the task of organizing ten events in cities across the U.S. and one in Paris, in a three-month period! This was the biggest marketing spend at the time. I love this example as it shows how working in a startup can give people greater exposure, allow them to explore new roles and teach them how to be resourceful. My time at M’O was undoubtedly the best experience I could have asked for. Not only did I get to know the customer and the luxury market very well as I learned from women with exquisite taste and vast experience, but I also made very close friends along the way.

What entrepreneurship classes have you taken, and how were they useful to you?

I have taken several entrepreneurship classes both at Wharton and at Babson College (where I did my undergraduate studies). The two entrepreneurship courses at Wharton that I would strongly recommend are Entrepreneurial Marketing taught by Martin Lautman and Leonard Lodish, and Venture Implementation by Patrick Fitzgerald.

In today’s world, it is important to have a well-planned marketing strategy, and most importantly, to allocate your marketing resources in a smart way. With the advent of social media, customers are exposed to hundreds if not thousands of products every day. In this engaging and dynamic class, I learned everything from hiring an A+ team (after all, you must use your marketing skills!), to calculating the CAC, to attracting investors. I also loved Venture Implementation as it gives students a high-level overview of an entrepreneur’s world. The goal of the class is to create a pitch deck for a start-up (can be yours or someone else’s), forcing you to think about every aspect of the business. I got great feedback from the professors through both courses.

Posted: May 27, 2018

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