Did Ssense fly too close to the sun? In June 2021, Sequoia Capital led a round of financing that valued the retailer at more than $4.1 billion. Yes. That’s BILLION– with a “B”. Shortly after, the Christmas season arrived and there seems to have been an internal implosion. Orders were delayed filled, shipped incomplete, or never fulfilled. It seems like everyone has a Ssense shipping sob story. (Personally, everything I’ve ordered in the past 5-months has arrived without a hitch.) Currently, customer service can only be contacted by email, and response times are greatly lagging.
The Sequoia investment is the first time the company has operated with any external input. Up until the recent investment, Ssense was a strictly family-run operation. It’s rumored that the online store had nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2020. Ssense CEO, Rami Atallah, said he planned to use the Sequoia investment to push deeper into China and launch its own clothing brands. We would suggest turning on a phone line and cleaning up fulfillment issues before expansion, but what do we know?
So we asked some of New York’s most prominent retailers for their opinions. The consensus is that Ssense doesn’t have what it takes to be a major contender in the long run. One industry veteran likened Ssense to Barneys, which essentially was a store people talked about more than they shopped. Another retail insider remarked how difficult it is to recover the confidence of a customer after Amex is called in for protection.
Only time will determine if Ssense can live up to its $4.1 billion valuations, continue to grow, and still execute the promises it makes to its customers– having their purchases delivered in a timely manner. For those who haven’t been burned, there are some great sale items. If you can access the private sale the deals are even better. Some of our favorites are in the scroll above.