A shoppable magazine for active gentleman, SEIKK is a concept born out of a desire to merge content and commerce online and bring together a more considered lifestyle approach for active gentlemen. Here, RLI speaks with Charles de Paula, Founder & CEO of the business to discuss how the company started and what its aims are for the future.
Drawing together a compelling flow of curated products and stories, the mission of SEIKK is to help customers discover the tools they need for their next adventure. Through the cultivation of tailored micro-environments, they create a more immersive and sustainable shopping experience. For active gentlemen who like whisky, menswear, surf, vintage rides and the great outdoors, this is the place for you.
“Having worked in or around retail for most of my life, I have found the experience to be often quite boring, particularly online,” explains Charles de Paula, Founder & CEO of SEIKK. “Most of what we buy these days are ‘wants’ not ‘needs’, but retail remains rather entrenched in convenience and monotony rather than experience and entertainment.”
Deep down Charles has always loved the idea of department stores and this is evident throughout the SEIKK brand. The company is a department store of the future for active gentlemen. Since launching in 2018, they have built up partnerships with over 200 retail partners and 2,000 products.
Their focus is currently on the UK with it being the brands home market and where most of their current suppliers and customers are based. However, being an online concept with a strong social media presence they do reach and have customers from quite a few other markets including the USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Western Europe, UAE and even Brazil.
“I feel that SEIKK is probably the only platform or ‘shoppable magazine’ that focuses on style, sport and adventure lifestyle specifically for men in the 30-50 age range. From soulless marketplaces to more tasteful ones like Farfetch you will struggle to find anything that looks, or is as thoughtfully segmented as SEIKK,” explains de Paula.
In the coming months the business has new development phases on the horizon which will see greater integration options for brands and other retailers as well as the development of some vertical product and more brand influencer collaborations.
Meanwhile in-house, SEIKK are developing their creative, marketing and media studio to help with content creation for internal use, as well as for external brands and clients. There are also discussions taking place with investors to help grow the team and scale more rapidly when the time is right.
“We have a lot of ways to integrate products and technology to cope with that multi-channel approach, which in turn limit our stock availability concerns,” de Paula says. He goes on to explain that one of the benefits of the affiliate channel is that it offers potentially limitless stock options and allows them to scale quickly off the back of brand and retail partners utilising their stock, delivery capacity and customer services.
“Digital is a great connector, however I’m still a great believer that you need to be flexible and play to the particular strengths of each medium or channel. The physical space will always be more sensory but the digital space should be more diverse and personalised. So for me the ultimate omni-channel experience is dynamic and varied and not just about a convenient or seamless customer journey via a number of separate touch points.”
SEIKK is a direct-to-consumer focused magazine that offers brands multiple opportunities to reach and build relationships with their customers via native advertisements and campaign activations. What makes the company unique is their ability to seamlessly integrate brand and retail partners’ products into the features via our product catalogue, take a sales commission and provide a clearer return on ad spend (ROAS).
Their in-house creative studio can also create – in conjunction with their network of influencers – a range of media from immersive and SEO rich editorial, photo shoots, video production to white label content.
“Social media is a really important touch point and gives us a great opportunity to reach our tribe around the world and connect directly with likeminded people, brands and influencers. We currently have a network of over ten accounts on Instagram with over 40,000 followers,” explains de Paula.
When discussing the changes brought on by Covid-19, Charles mentions that SEIKK has not been nearly as badly affected as other businesses. However, they have felt the knock-on effect that the virus has caused, which in retail has notably been oversupply and undersupply issues, changing shopping patterns and more discounting.
Looking to the future and the challenges SEIKK faces, de Paula says that starting a business is exciting but certainly not easy. “We launched online into a crowded UK market, so like any new business brand awareness and the cost of customer acquisition continue to be challenging. Aside from this I would say finance, resources and algorithms continue to be obstacles for us.”
“On a more personal level I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which in business is probably a curse,” de Paula concludes with a wry smile.