Chris Burch is best known as the fashion mogul who co-founded, with his then-wife, Tory Burch, the Tory Burch apparel line, worn by A-listers such as Michelle Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow. Now, the venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur wants to add style to a different category: office supplies.
Burch, with Ken Seiff, founder of Bluefly.com, and Noah Maffitt, a former executive at OfficeDepot.com, has been developing Poppin, an online store stocked with affordable yet well-designed office supplies in a palette of 20 bright colors.
Unlike Staples and other big-box office-supply stores, Poppin, which recently launched an invitation-only beta test, designs and makes its products. It also has a more personal approach to customer service. Customers are assigned a concierge, whom they can contact directly by phone or e-mail. "If one of our pens leaks on a customer's Chanel jacket, her customer service agent will have the power to buy her a new jacket," says Maffitt, Poppin's CEO. The online store, which already boasts Google and Pandora as customers, is set to launch publicly this summer with a selection of office supplies geared primarily toward small and midsize businesses. "We think the office environment should be beautiful, fun, and happy," says Maffitt.