This luxury world, which combines a marketplace that offers rare and fine products with a carefully-curated array of exclusive experiences, is delivered via an app to users’ mobile phones. The offerings are refined by the company’s team of experts across all the lifestyle categories including restaurants, fine wines and spirits, bars, events, fashion, health and wellness, art and culture, hotels, travel and more.
Designed as a secure, personal portal to the luxury world, the mobile app aggregates all the different facets of the luxury lifestyle into a single ecosystem providing three pillars of access to the user: specialist content, purchasing ability and reservation opportunities. Depending on the access tier chosen, the user will be able to browse content crafted by Sarment’s lifestyle ambassadors, buy top-drawer products not easily available elsewhere, and unlock privileged experiences.
Users will not only be able to secure coveted tables at fine restaurants, they will also get to select more exclusive appointments such as a test drive of the latest sports car, a private tour of an art exhibition, or even a bespoke stylist session at a fashion atelier – all at the touch of a button. They will also be able to access Sarment’s team of ambassadors who are all well-versed in their chosen fields of luxury expertise, making the app a first-of-its-kind mobile companion for today’s discerning consumer.
Sarment just raised C$19million (£11.3m)in its initial public offering on the TSX Venture Exchange. The proceeds will be used to fund the luxury lifestyle service provider’s technological development and geographical expansion.
Chief executive Quentin Chiarugi says: “While we have always offered our clientele both fine products and personal services, we had reached a point where we could only handle so many in-person interactions given the very high service standards we wanted to maintain. Going digital and automating as much of the interaction process as possible has enabled Sarment to scale our business model to meet the growing demand in the luxury industry.”
Paolo Bulgari, one of Sarment’s key shareholders and honorary chairman, is convinced by this strategy. The chairman of Bulgari Spa says: “Sarment has the right approach as a contemporary company in the luxury industry. By integrating technology with innovative services, it is getting the industry to evolve in the right direction. Personal services are essential for today’s customers and Sarment is doing the correct thing by focusing on the experience around the consumption of luxury goods. I believe this approach is an important part of the future of the luxury industry.” Prior to its listing, Sarment was the only non-listed company that Mr Bulgari ever invested in personally.
The company was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Bertrand Faure Beaulieu providing “art de la table” products and services to both private individuals and enterprises active in the luxury community. It quickly evolved into a broader lifestyle service provider offering premium experiences to its expanding base of affluent clients in Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, London and Paris. Over the past six years, Sarment has specially selected luxury products and services sourced from 1,100 partners across multiple luxury genres made accessible to over 3,400 users.
It started investing into artificial intelligence technology in 2016 and is currently rolling out its digital offerings across the major Asian markets. It aims to expand into the North American and European markets in the coming year.
This proprietary artificial intelligence system is constantly learning about each individual’s preferences and behaviour, evolving the platform to be more personal to each user with every interaction.
The digital platform has allowed the company to adopt a B2B2C model focusing on growing the business through enterprise clients rather than individuals. This has enabled Sarment to overcome the scalability issue in the industry which all luxury players face. These corporates include banks, private members clubs and luxury brands. Providing the mobile app to these enterprises that want to offer their customers entry to the luxury world, Sarment is able to grow its luxury ecosystem by thousands of users at a go.
Mr Chiarugi explains: “Since we position ourselves as a provider of products and services for these high-net-worth individuals, it makes sense to work with enterprises which have already acquired these consumers. This model allows us to reach a broader base of high-net-worth individuals at a much faster pace avoiding substantial client acquisition costs.
”Sarment’s technology also collects valuable big data from users’ interaction on the app, giving enterprises a back-end customer management system to use as an effective customer engagement and retention tool.
Says Mr Chiarugi: “With our platform, we knew we had an incredible opportunity to collect dynamic data never collected before to this extent in the luxury industry. Sarment’s proprietary artificial intelligence-enhanced system is the first in the luxury world allowing for the collection of dynamic and contextual data from the elusive high-net-worth individual segment.
”Since starting development of its digital platform last year, Sarment has already partnered with one of Southeast Asia’s largest banks among other corporate clients. While giving the bank’s gated community access to Sarment’s ecosystem of premium products and luxury experiences, these corporates will also use the system’s smart technology to understand its clientele better and provide a more personal approach for each individual.
In February 2018, Sarment was ranked Asia’s fastest growing luxury company by the Financial Times in its inaugural FT 1000 High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific list. It came in at number 54 – the top-ranked luxury company – in the list of 1,000 companies across Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Australia and New Zealand.