Penny Karabey is a New Yorker with a style all her own. As the owner of Luxury Next Season, a company that caters to those who cherish an exclusive lifestyle, Penny has provided access to some of the most elusive and hard to get items, including clothing and handbags. She is known worldwide as the go-to person for runway pieces not available anywhere else.
Penny runs her world from the Upper East Side, where she has access to all that Manhattan has to offer the fashion world. She never wears black, an oddity in her environment. She prides herself on bringing her own style into the collections she has to offer. Moreover, she gives her customers many options in creating their own visions.
Of course, Penny hasn’t put all her eggs in one basket. Her background and knowledge have allowed her to succeed in several adventures. Besides Luxury Next Season, she is an achieved jewelry designer, a computer engineer, and a certified fitness instructor. As a member of Women Entrepreneurs NYC, New York City Department of Small Business Services, she uses her expertise to help other women start their own businesses.
Ever the pragmatist, Penny has also taken advantage of all that social media has to offer. She is well known on Instagram, where she gives daily outfit inspirations and assists with clients’ personal style.
In her free time, Penny enjoys living the lifestyle she helps to build. She travels around the world to find more inspiration in places like Milan and Istanbul. This allows her to find those hard to get pieces for her customers. She spends family time at her home in Southampton, where all her family plays polo at the Southampton Polo Club. She is also a member of the Female Founders Collective that was founded by a famous designer Rebecca Minkoff. The Collective is a network of businesses led by women. Founded by @rebeccaminkoff, the movement empowers female-owned businesses to impact communities both social and economically.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start Luxury Next Season?
I have always had an interest in fashion. I had quite the collection several years ago when I was preparing to move. I wanted to downsize, to get rid of several items, like handbags and clothing. I found that my friends were interested in some of these things and when I saw the interest it generated, I decided to begin my company.
How do you make money?
The most profitable part of Luxury Next Season is our website purchases. On the site, customers can find rare, hard to find items that make us so well-known across the world. We feature items that are well sought after.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It was actually not too long before I began to see profit. It only took about six months. I am a really good researcher, I know trends and the lifestyle. Some items we have are from places like Paris and Italy.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Not in the beginning. I didn’t experience doubt until maybe a few years later. By then, I’d sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with ensuring my customers had the best options. In this business, trends are important, but I learned that you cannot invest all of your money in trendy items because they won’t be trendy next season. You have to invest in good items that you know will be in stock, then include the harder to find items as well. Once I learned about proper stock management, it became much easier and I am happy to say we are in a great place.
How did you get your first customer?
Actually, my very first customer was one of my favorite YouTubers. Many independent Youtubers feature me and my company. One of them purchased a handbag and then left a really great review for me. Within a day, I received another three to five orders.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
YouTube is a great resource. The reviews I get there are so helpful in covering bag lovers’ unanswered questions. They always say “if you are having a hard time finding something, go to Penny”. I also have a heavy presence on Instagram. I have created a community of people there that enjoy the lifestyle as much as myself. I do tend to be picky about my online promoters. They need to have the knowledge of what I offer, as well as know and understand the lifestyle.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I pride myself on finding the sold-out items. I am very good at it. I give my customers options when they come to me for advice. It doesn’t matter if they are short, tall, etc. On top of that, I am honest with my clients. If they are interested in a particular trend that doesn’t suit them, I let them know. It may mean I lose a sale, but I believe the honesty is more important and more appreciated. They want to know if what they are looking for is a good style choice.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying thing for me is when I go to the fashion shows. There is such a great energy, especially here in New York. Just being in that environment is joyful for me.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am excited about just continuing what we have been doing here at Luxury Next Season. We will continue to keep up with trends and give options to our clients. I want it to be known as a unique boutique that is able to find all those items customers are looking for, even if they aren’t able to find it anywhere else.
What business books have inspired you?
“Accidental Icon” by Iris Aptel. She is a fashion guru.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
The best purchase I have made recently is the software for stock management. It’s provided better stock maintenance for us. It has made everything much easier.