When launching any new business knowing when to start marketing the offer is key. Too early and customers might be turned off by glitches that still need to be fixed. But too late and what was once a unique proposition could be seen as dated and no longer new.

It’s a dilemma Olivia Cantillon, co-founder of editorially-led shopping platform Own The Look is all too familiar with. Having spent a number of years working as a fashion and beauty editor on women’s magazines, she spotted what she believes is a gap in the online retail market. Rather than offering individual items, Cantillon uses her styling expertise to create outfits made up of pieces from emerging designers that consumers can buy in their entirety to ‘own the look’.

The business launched in March 2017 and Cantillon and her team have spent the past year ramping up the offer, getting more than 40 exclusive brands on board helping it to take on the likes of Asos.

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“We’re at a really good stage where we’ve got great brands on board and the site is in a good condition, so now we need to touch consumers and really drive traffic to the site and that is done by investing in our digital marketing strategy,” says Cantillon.

But Own The Look didn’t have any budget for digital marketing, and so it has turned to crowdfunding. It is launching its first round on Crowdcube with the aim of raising up to £250,000, all of which will be invested in marketing. At the time of writing, it has already raised more than £100,000.

At this stage of the business it’s so important for me to sit there and watch as a post goes live, looking at that traffic boost to see if it’s working or not so I know what to do next time.

Olivia Cantillon, Own The Look

“It’s all well and good having a great site and great product but if no-one knows about it what’s the point? We know we need to spend money marketing the brand in order to get people onto the site,” she adds.

“From being an editor, I’ve seen the evolution from print into digital. I think print is still really important but young shoppers look for digital avenues when shopping. And if our customers are coming to us online we need to target them online.”

Customers spend an average of…