Hedgebrunch interviews Romane Howsam, Founder and CEO of Lymited, the new way to indulge in limited-edition luxury.
Hi Romane, tell us about Lymited?
Lymited has been a long time coming, but I feel like we’re now within touching distance. You can’t rush something of this magnitude. In a nutshell, it’ll be a new platform for buying, selling and investing in rare, collectible limited-edition and luxury items. Only, where the luxury world can feel slightly intimidating – everything’s ‘exclusive’ – we want our platform to be inclusive, for people to feel welcome, and to be genuinely excited about finding so many collectible and limited-edition pieces all in one place.
We’ve split it into two parts: the Marketplace will let you buy and sell items outright, while the Token Platform will allow you to part own some of the most sought-after and collectible luxury assets. The idea is for collectors, brands and museums for example, to be able to liquidise a high-value asset, freeing up capital for themselves, but also allowing others to essentially own a share of that asset. Conceptually it would be like owning a few pages of a first-edition book, a dram of a vintage whisky, or perhaps the gearbox of an old Bugatti. But by buying tokens you also get to enjoy the asset, and this is one of the things that really separates us I guess.
That and the fact that for each category – art, books, cars, fashion, jewellery, watches, wine and spirits – we have an in-house specialist. We’ve spent months headhunting them from some of the world’s leading auction houses, brands and publications, and we couldn’t be happier with the team. The way they’ll curate the platform will be absolutely reflective of their tastes, expertise, and connections in their respective industries. But we also like to think Lymited will become more than a platform, and indeed more than a network – it will be a community for like minded people to not only buy and sell, but also learn about the very best art, cars, jewellery, or whatever their interests might be.
How did you come up with the concept?
Business is something I’ve always been interested in. I bought my first domain name when I was nine, so owning my own business is something that’s always been in the back of my mind. Halfway through my gap year, I started to give these ideas a bit more attention, and even ran a couple past my dad – everything from biodegradable vitamin pouches to clothing for petite women. One day I was flicking through a pile of coffee-table books and it occurred to me that there wasn’t anywhere prominent that sold limited-edition books by multiple publishers. In fact, where outside of auction houses and a few closed circles could you find the rarest pieces of fine art and vintage jewellery? Not that that’s what a student like me shops for. Rather, there seemed to be a gap in the market for a platform that sold all of the above, plus more, and democratised the whole process.
What are your goals for Lymited?
In the short term we’re building towards a successful launch; one that will make a real splash, and if everything goes to plan, becomes incredibly disruptive. It seems like the luxury world has traditionally resisted innovation, and so hopefully we’re coming in at just the right time. Again in the short term, we want to offer an accessible platform, one that people don’t feel intimidated about using. We’re hoping our customers will foster the kind of relationships they might have with their tailor but with our specialists.
Longer term, we want Lymited to become the go-to place for finding those rare and limited-edition treasures. We want to be known as trendsetters. But we also want to bring transparency to an industry that’s not particularly known for it. By using blockchain technology to ledger our token transactions, we can easily track an asset’s value and provenance, making trading tokens so much more viable. And no, it has nothing to do with Bitcoin, it’s just the safest and most secure way of making these kinds of transactions.
What are you most passionate about?
I hate to say it, but my biggest passion is my work. Especially at the moment, I’m more than happy to wake up and work all day and night. I love the creative side of business, how to market a business, how it looks, and how it sounds. Luxury isn’t often portrayed in a youthful way, and perhaps that’s understandable, but I’m enjoying trying to find ways to do that. Again, luxury and tech don’t traditionally go hand in hand so there are enormous challenges there, but ones that we’re tackling. Ultimately though, I think it’s the act of getting different minds together to create something unique. I love learning from experts in their fields, and bringing them together to create something bigger and better than the sum of their parts.
If I ever get a day off again, I’ll be straight on a plane. I love travelling and exploring new cultures, and that’s probably the thing I’ve missed the most while building the business.
Where do you like to celebrate?
I grew up in Marbella so I’m very fortunate to have spent a lot of time on the beach, swimming and exploring. I have to admit, I find a certain calm in paddle-boarding a little bit further out to sea than I probably should do. That and hiking up the famous La Concha mountain.
These days I live in Holborn, so tapas on the beach has made way for tiny saké bars in SOHO, and regular visits to Oliviocarne in Belgravia. They serve the most exquisite Sardinian food there but in a lovely laid-back environment. Otherwise, I’m slightly obsessed with Ray Dalio, Joe Rogan and podcasts in general. And I’m more than capable of getting through the whole of Game of Thrones in a month. Or at least I was when I had the time.
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