Malaysian online fashion retailer FashionValet announced its closure last week. The move comes as it looks to provide a more personalised shopping experience to its customers.

According to FashionValet, to deliver a more personalised, seamless and optimised brand experience, it is shifting its focus to its two other brands, dUCK and LILIT.. According to The Star , founder and influencer Vivy Yusof explained that the decision was made back in 2019, and vendors on FashionValet were notified of the closure last year as well. Yusof told A+M that the decision to close the marketplace was made after careful consideration, landing on an agreement to focus on its best-performing portfolios - its house brands. The closing was accelerated due to COVID, where many local brands scaled down their business, and this included substantially diminished supply coming into the marketplace.

“It was a difficult one because we had been a platform for local brands for many years. We are proud that local brands used the platform as a stepping-stone and then evolved to have websites and/or shops of their own. We hope FashionValet has done its part in elevating the local fashion industry for over a decade. Now, we’re excited to expand beyond our shores – and we’re confident to reach our ambition of making our local home-grown Malaysian brands dUCk and LILIT. into global household names and a leader in the global modest fashion scene,” she said.
A quick search done by A+M found that the FashionValet website now directs customers to dUCK and LILIT.'s websites respectively.  However, the closure of the FashionValet garnered a wave of allegations from netizens, who accused the influencer of misappropriating funds from its Series C funding round led by the government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional and fund management company Permodalan Nasional.

The PR storm was triggered by one netizen who claimed the influencer was living out a lavish life while the company was allegedly making losses and renovating its stores despite the financial pinch. The comments were supplemented with supposed screenshots of the company's audits.

Following the netizen's post, social chatter on social media blew up, where netizens are requesting legal explanations as public funds from the Series C funding were injected into an enterprise that was suffering from losses. Netizens felt that the public funds were spent supporting the “wrong” people rather than people with actual good ideas. They criticised the government's risky investments, as well as Yusof's motives behind the investment rounds.

The incident's mentions peaked on 27 July with 1255 mentions, according to Meltwater statistics between 26 July to 4 August. The top keywords associated with FashionValet include "proper explanation", which was mentioned 1684 times, "founder flex travel", and "kertas siasatan" which translates to "investigation papers". While 75% of the sentiments were neutral, 23% were negative.

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According to Yusof, all of its investors are invested in the entire group which comprises the FashionValet platform, dUCk and LILIT. and not just the platform. “Since we have institutional investors, everything we do requires board approval and our investors are supportive of our pivot,” she said.

Yusof added that both Khazanah Nasional and Permodalan Nasional invested in the group at a time when the government was encouraging them to participate more in starts ups, referring to a pitch session held in 2017, organised by The Ministry of International Trade and Industry. “Since Khazanah and Permodalan invested, the business has more than doubled in revenue, improved our profit margins and expanded to offline retail. We have done this even through the last two years of COVID-19, where the landscape was very unstable for businesses,” she explained.

FashionValet has been operating since 2010 and was founded by Yusof together with her husband, as a curated fashion marketplace. It evolved to become a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand owner with a significant online presence supplemented with over 13 physical stores in Malaysia and Singapore, according to FashionValet's LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, in 2018, it planned to enter the West Asian market . Yusof said that the choice to enter the West Asian market formed one of its business plans for growing the company.

Related articles:
FashionValet eyes West Asian market


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