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Startup Advice with Claire Kent - an expert in Luxury and Retail

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

How can startups become more appealing to investors? How can startups be prepared for the future challenges? The Startup Club held an interview with Claire Kent, independent luxury/retail consultant, to answer these questions and gain insights into the luxury industry!

The Startup Club: Could you tell us more about yourself?

Claire Kent: I’m an independent luxury/retail consultant based in London. I spent 25 years as an equity analyst researching the European luxury/retail sector and then founded my independent consulting service 14 years ago. During my career I’ve had the privilege of being involved in some of the market’s largest luxury/retail IPOs including Bulgari, Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Pandora.

The Startup Club: What do you usually want to see in a startup before you decide to look into it further?

Claire Kent: I want to believe in the basic idea that the start-up presents and be sure that there is a gap in the market for it. There is no point looking into further details unless you believe this.

The Startup Club: Based on your experience what are some of the frequent mistakes that startups make in their first steps?

Claire Kent: Sometimes raising capital gives startups a false sense of security. This means that they don’t behave like a startup in terms of expenses.

The Startup Club: How did you get into this investment sector?

Claire Kent: I got into the investment sector through my background as a luxury/retail equity research analyst. At the time of starting my independent consulting business, I made my first investments in startups.

The Startup Club: What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

Claire Kent: I love learning more about the luxury/retail sector all the time through the independent research I write and the projects I undertake for my clients.

The Startup Club: How can a startup best prepare itself to succeed in the present?

Claire Kent: Test the concept thoroughly before deciding to press ahead and raise capital. Don’t let your passion alone convince you that it’s a good idea.

The Startup Club: What are the top 3 traits that startups should have to be more appealing to investors?

Claire Kent: A startup needs to be completely authentic and have a genuine mission.

It should not be about trying to become rich. They should have tested the concept thoroughly before trying to raise capital. A startup needs to have a realistic financial business plan (and fully understand the numbers). Too many startups think that by typing numbers into a spreadsheet, it makes them real. It’s better to start with only 3 years of projections and making sure you reach them. If you don’t reach your numbers in year 1, understand why and adjust your future forecasts downwards.

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