Online apparel giant Musinsa to kick-start incubator program for fashion designers

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 26, 2024, 11:01 Updated : February 26, 2024, 11:01
Courtesy of Musinsa
[Courtesy of Musinsa]

SEOUL -- South Korea's online apparel giant Musinsa will kick-start its incubation program for fashion designers who dream of launching their own startups and ventures. The online shopping mall operator has been nurturing young designers through a series of incubation programs including a mentoring system that connects veteran designers and those who just stepped into the professional world of fashion. 

Established in 2003 as a small online fashion community, Musinsa has since evolved into a popular online shopping mall, gaining recognition for its blend of affordability and fashion-forward items. One of its key strategies for success has been its policy of offering significant shopping benefits to customers who upload product reviews, including photographs, effectively driving consumer engagement and fueling growth.

In 2019, Musinsa achieved a remarkable milestone by attaining the status of South Korea's tenth online startup unicorn, with a valuation of $1 billion. This achievement was further solidified by a $2 billion investment from Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm, through Series A funding, cementing Musinsa's position as a unicorn enterprise.

Musinsa said that the company will receive applicants for the fifth round of the fashion designer scholarship called "MUSINSA NEXT FASHION SCHOLARSHIP." The ecommerce unicorn, which has been operating the incubation program since 2022, connects veteran fashion brand operators and designers with prominent entrepreneurs to enhance young program participants' capability to differentiate their branding and improve the curation of their products.

The apparel giant uses networks of entrepreneurs and fashion brands to offer an optimized environment for the incubation of new fashion business operators. In 2021, the company opened an offline store in Hongdae, an iconic fashion and music district just west of central Seoul to connect customers with major and minor fashion brands including Musinsa Standard, Musinsa's self-developed brand targeting young consumers. 

Following this, Musinsa made strategic acquisitions to bolster its presence and appeal to a broader audience. In a bid to attract young female customers, the company acquired Styleshare, a domestic online fashion portal, just a month after opening its offline store in Hongdae. This acquisition not only expanded Musinsa's customer base but also strengthened its position in the competitive online fashion market.

In 2022, Musinsa continued its expansion into offline retail by opening another store, this time in Gangnam, Seoul's upscale southern district known for its affluent lifestyle and global cultural impact. By strategically selecting locations with high foot traffic and cultural significance, Musinsa aims to maximize its brand exposure and attract a diverse range of customers.
기사 이미지 확대 보기