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Luke Ryan’s quest of the ‘purple cow’, and a perfect men’s online store


Ever heard of Sven?

Obviously, he is a Nordic male. Literally, in Old Norse, Sven means a young man, or even a young warrior. That’s a good starting point, ain’t it? From thereon, imagination simply took hold, leading to the emergence of DetailsbySven.com, an online store for men.

In the words of the company’s co-founder Luke Ryan, Sven was kicking back, browsing online, looking for new stuff for his wardrobe and home. That’s when it dawned on him that there was no such beast. Hence, DetailsbySven and the quest, perhaps, for the “purple cow” – a term created by marketing expert Seth Godin to dub the rare jewel in the marketplace.

“Sven is…sort of like the company mouthpiece. Sven is a male Swedish name and that is part of our branding – our links to Scandinavia,” Ryan, whose Scandinavian girlfriend Åsa Nyström is a co-founder, told Anthill in an interview.

An inspired effort

DetailsbySven.com, drawing on further inspiration from U.S.-based men’s sites such as Manpacks.com and owenandfred.com, began in earnest late last year.

“I don’t have statistics handy but there have been reports emerging that men are becoming both more fashion-conscious and more tenacious in their online buying habits,” said Ryan, when asked why he believes men are ready to do their shopping online. “Speaking from my own personal experience – I always dreaded trawling through physical stores and have embraced the ability to make all types of purchases online over the past decade,” he added.

DetailsbySven opened its online store last month, from a tiny warehouse in Bondi Beach. Ryan says it has seen steady increase in traffic and sales and his team expects to target special occasions such as Father’s Day and Christmas before they re-assess our customer acquisition strategies.

“We have bootstrapped the business and do not intend to invest heavily in advertising. We rely on word of mouth and really nurturing a niche group of delighted customers,” Ryan said.

DetailsbySven is curating about 100 gift items. Besides the popular men’s line of wallets, belts et al, there are some exotic goods too –sunglasses made from used skateboard decks and rare coffee beans. And a mix of Australian and Scandinavian products.

Ryan says the company targets all men but those “who have an appreciation for design, craftsmanship and individuality.” The site also is seeking to reach a female demographic that buys gifts for their partners.