“These days, how do you know you are buying a genuine product?” asks Arianee, a French startup, in a press release announcing its launch. “Arianee is the first luxury protocol that will record all genuine products of value.”
Describing its product as a ‘true revolution in ownership’, Arianee aims to utilise blockchain technologies to record the provenance of luxury goods – and it got its public launch at Blockchain Expo Europe, in Amsterdam last week.
The system involves a public blockchain, that anybody can read, and then trade tokens, but only brands are allowed to issue the tokens. “There is a level of permission to write on the blockchain, and that’s how we ensure there is no pollution on the blockchain,” says Luc Jodet, business architect and co-founder at Arianee.
Gregory Pouy, Arianee brand evangelist, explains the rationale behind the product. “We understand there are problems for consumers,” he says. “First is the problem of we don’t know if the product is real, if it was stolen or not, if it was well taken care of or not, so we are answering those three questions.
“For brands, the other issue is they lose track with most of the consumer because a lot of luxury products are sold on the second hand market or given as gifts. For brands it’s very important to keep the relationship with the consumers – [and] for that Arianee is the right solution.”
The company has plenty of skin in the game when it comes to luxury brands, having among its advisers senior executives at Balenciaga, Vacheron Constantin, and Kering. Jean-Marc Bellaiche, formerly SVP of strategy at Tiffany & Co, is also on board.
This is key for the startup, as Pouy explains. “First you have to know them, to know the people, but then you have to understand how they work – the vocabulary, the way you dress, the way you talk to them,” he says. “All these things are very important when you go to see luxury brands – [there are] a lot of codes you have to respect. That’s why in Arianee you have those very tech people, but also those people who have worked with luxury brands.”
It’s these little things you have to know before going into the marketplace – and it can be as simple as writing reports in full sentences, as opposed to summarising sections in bullet points.
One in particular is that third parties are very much seen with suspicion. “Take Tiffany for example,” says Pouy. “When it comes to CRM, they want to do everything internally. They won’t take a third party on the cloud to do the CRM – it’s that strong. They will never trust a third party.”
Going forward, Arianee is looking to an ICO, as well as building out its pilot projects. But the overall message is clear. “I believe technology should either be very beautiful or you should not see it at all,” says Pouy. “In the blockchain case, you should not see the technology at all.”
“On the technology side, on the process side, [it is about] being as seamless as possible,” adds Jodet. “Your technology, your solution, should not hinder or touch the product at all.”
Take a look at the video interview with Arianee at Blockchain Expo Europe below, or click here.