When we speak, Joe Wilkinson and Mario Maher are packing Bottega heels and Givenchy bags into cardboard boxes ready for Black Friday (November 25) when the fashion set will splurge £990 on them. In exchange, their customers will get three super-luxe items — worth, in total, anywhere between £1900 and £3200. Bargain! But there’s a kicker — buyers will have no idea what they’re going to get.
Yes, the latest cost-of-living-defying trend is spending close to a grand on a Heat Mystery Box. It’s a kind of luxury goods lucky dip – and for Wilkinson and Maher, who founded the company three years ago, it’s a pretty lucrative business model. “We’re both from Sheffield,” says Wilkinson. “We like to cause a bit of a fuss.”
I’m sure you’re thinking: what money prolapsing psychopath would invest in clothes they haven’t even seen? Fair point. But there is method in the madness as they’ve sold 30,000+ boxes, and this January raised $5 million funding from Antler and LVMH Luxury Ventures. The boys selling surprises are striking gold.
It began with a £250 ‘Streetwear Box’. The two friends clocked on to a wicked problem that many luxury brands faced — what to do with unsold stock they want to keep cool? Discount them and loose brand value. Or they could burn it —as labels including Burberry were exposed to be doing in 2018 — but then risk condemnation. “We saw the Mystery Box as a vessel to solve all those worries,” Wilkinson says. Shift the overstock for cheap — without a trace.

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