August 29 2014

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By Invitation Only: VonRosen


An interesting invite came across my desk recently. Inside the leather-bound envelope was a card with a Web site address,, and a private access code. Logging on, I was asked to provide a password and some personal data, after which I could shop what site founder David von Rosen calls its classic, high-quality basics: a loose-fit silk dress, a kimono blouse, a stretch cotton poplin button-down. But not everyone’s so lucky. VonRosen does members-only shopping sites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La one better; it’s an invitation-only shopping site. Anyone can apply, but a heartfelt letter of appreciation for its subtle logo, a small metal oval on the right hip engraved with your own initials, isn’t necessarily going to get you in. Of course, the agony of rejection is exactly what VonRosen is banking on. In Berlin, where the brand is based, the company invited successful people from all sorts of backgrounds, from acting to business to medicine to architecture. And in return they’ve received requests for access that have included actual curriculum vitaes. “All customers have the right to choose a brand,” von Rosen told me. “We wanted to turn the perspective around and choose our customers. We don’t want money as the only hurdle to exclusivity. Yes, we’ve turned down people who’ve applied, like a good club would.” Turn down business in times like these? Von Rosen acknowledged that it’s a long-term approach, but still, he said, “we believe in the idea of it.” His innovations have proven successful in the past. Before launching VonRosen, he founded CareerConcept AG, which provides higher-education financing that allows student to pay back their debt as a percentage of their future income. It’s not as sexy as cashmere, but the business did get him elected Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum Davos. Invites to VonRosen are going out to U.S. VIPs within the next week or so. Did you make the cut?

Photo: Courtesy Vonrosen



  1. Ian_Larraga says:

    It’s all about the human psyche. People would rather be in as opposed to out. Exclusivity sells even in this economy.

  2. NotMod says:

    What are the odds I’m going to bump into my dress at the next club party shopping there?

  3. mimilaboo says:

    WOW. How dumb is THAT. Choosing their own customers? Sure, go ahead…see how long THAT lasts…the exclusivity of it might be alluring and intruiging right now, but in six months time everyone will be on to the next big thing.

  4. ToucanBoutique says:

    There are a lot of businesses who would love to chose their customers and we’ve seen the controversy surrounding the brands that try to alienate the people who support them (Cristal anyone). So with this VonRosen will attract only the people who buy into this kind of marketing, so really it’s a win win situation: The company gets to boast about it’s exclusivity, and the people who care, get to feel special.

  5. NotMod says:

    How long? Interesting question: how long would Alaia last on the high-low?

  6. abegurko says:

    Studio 54 marketing of a new “luxury goods” brand, rather, basics, that exists only online sounds like so many oxymorons in one fell swoop.

  7. apismellifera says:

    Yuck, what a an unpleasant idea appealing to people with an inferiorty complex. Wouldn’t want to be a member of their club if they asked me to.

  8. greif says:

    I’d rather have some exclusive & personalised item than running around with a LV bag everybody has…I think the idea is appealing.

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