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

Updated: Oct 31

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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