Miroslava Duma founded her fashion and lifestyle platform Buro 24/7 in 2011 in pursuit of a service she was searching for. After having her first baby, she was looking for "a single source that featured the latest news across fashion, culture, art, cinema, music, travel, lifestyle and beauty." With her experience via a career as an editor at the Russian edition of Harper's Bazaar, she believed there was a gap in the market for such a platform in her native Russia that interested the growing market of young taste-makers in society.
A successful social media strategy and execution was critical for the rapid growth of Buro 24/7. "You need to be where your audience is, and social networks consume so much of our audience time, it's important we have a strong presence," said Duma. Social networks help drive new audiences, engagement and discovery. They also helped to grow the website's international audience even before it had an overseas presence. This allowed Duma and her team to test and feel where the company resonates best and where to establish new offices.
For Duma, the overall tech aspect is particularly exciting, and she sees technology and fashion going hand in hand. "Whether with wearables or e-commerce, you can't have one without the other," she said. At Buro 24/7, technology is playing a huge role in helping to understand customer behavior and preferences. "Our mission is to present a personalized, curated experience and enhance discovery."
The rapid growth to almost 6 million unique monthly users and 200% year-over-year growth in revenue did not come without obstacles. Duma said: "The biggest challenge we faced was convincing luxury advertisers to spend money on digital platforms. Up to that point, they didn't believe digital was a premium enough environment to complement their brands." So Buro 24/7 worked closely with them on packaging everything from creative to offline events. This achieved the goal of helping brands realize the lifestyle platform's purpose and uniqueness, and that these brands can be digitally represented as beautifully as they are in print. Within four years, claims Duma, all of the top 10 luxury brands advertise on Buro 24/7 worldwide.
At this point for the company, worldwide means 10 markets starting from Central Europe and across the Middle East to Asia and Australia. The majority of the markets are in Asia, but Duma is not stopping there: "Our next priority markets in Asia are Japan and India, but we are not shying away from going fully global and tackling the Americas, where we recently launched in Latin America and are eyeing the U.S."
Nikola Pavesic of Pioneers Asia contributed to this article.
Nikkei and Vienna-based Pioneers will host the Pioneers Asia startup event in Tokyo on March 23 to give promising entrepreneurs the chance to turn their vision into reality. Participating startups will be chosen from among hundreds of applicants worldwide. This is the fifth in a series featuring finalists of the main competition, as well as key speakers and other attendees.