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Contxto – The old adage says that a startup can die from failure, but it can also perish from success. Troquer—an online second-hand luxury clothing and accessory marketplace—wants to avoid the second fate.
In a press release this weekend, the company announced that it would be carrying out a strategic restructuring of the entire company. And they’re starting from the top:
“The co-founders… shared the positions of Co-CEOs over the past three years [but now,] Ytzia Belausteguigoitia will remain as CEO of Troquer, while Lucía Martínez-Ostos will assume the newly established position of President of Troquer.”
What this means is that the day-to-day operational side will concentrate on the CEO’s plate. Meanwhile, the newfangled President will be sinking her teeth into longer-term strategic thinking.
Grow up or blow up
Beyond all the fancy new job titles, it should be the strategy that most catches one’s eye. This is Troquer’s equivalent of two birds, one stone: exponentiating growth while avoiding a crash landing from mismanaging it.
Luckily for Troquer, there is certainly market wiggle room; by the fashiontech’s own estimates the global “pre-loved” (that’s “second-hand” to you and me) market value stands at more than US$7 billion. But even these healthy-looking numbers can only be accessed with great vision and skill.
You see, back in 2014, Troquer began as a small operation of two friends and their local network trading luxury goods. Most of these people knew each other, so for instance, authentication of a high-end bag was never an issue. Everyone knew and trusted each other.
Nowadays, Troquer’s operation is edging towards a third of a million users. The fashiontech’s team has grown concurrently fast as well. It now boasts a whole authentication department which would have been superfluous in the early days.
But with great growth, come great overheads. And if sales were to stall at any point during this exponential phase, it could well spell disaster for this startup.
Therefore, it’s all down to how they manage their growth. Because even the exponential kind must be divided into phases.
As many in the scaleup world understand—particularly Rappi as of late—, technology and management strategies must be developed so that your workforce doesn’t expand at the same rate as your income.
You may be able to afford this at the initial stages of growth. Bu efficiency and automation become musts in the latter parts of the exponential phase.
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Therefore, it is worth remembering that, with companies as with people, growth isn’t just about how much bigger you’ve become, it’s about how much you’ve grown up.
It’s not (just) personal, it’s business
The barrier of entry when launching a luxury-based startup is clear.
Upscale vendors and buyers wouldn’t trust their fancy goods to just anyone. Personal connections are priceless to permeate this exclusive market. So, at first, it is often not about what you know, but rather who you know.
This is no longer the case for Troquer.
Scaling, by definition, requires expansion beyond one’s own social, geographic, and demographic group. It requires strategic vision on new outreach, whether that be through clever marketing, corporate alliances, or artificial intelligence (AI).
Selling to your friends and acquaintances is a lemonade stand; selling to complete strangers is a business model.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The personal aspect is still crucial at any phase.
The deep knowledge both co-founders needed to have of each other at a personal level was key. They needed to know their strengths—and, by extension, their weaknesses—to reassign their positions in a way that would best suit their scaleup.
“It is now time to restructure and better align the company to our individual talents and abilities”, said Martínez-Ostos in the PR.
This is the sort of “soft” skill they don’t teach you that at Founder School.
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