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Kembrel – A Vibrant Online Shopping Club for Students

Kembrel is a unique business in Philadelphia consisting of online and pop-up boutiques selling designer accessories and clothing to students. Most people in Philadelphia are used to flash sales and retail offers on designer clothing that last a week or so and then gone. Kembrel is some sort of a disruptive business that seeks to change the norm in online shopping with its target market being students.

In Philadelphia, Kembrel has two brick-and-mortar pop-up shops as well as a website that students can privately do their online shopping. This business is known for its deep discounts and showcasing works of upcoming designers.

Kembrel’s Unique Model

Most online private shopping club sites such as the Singapore-based Brandsfever and Europe’s Vente Privee usually target premium fashion, high-end customers. Kembrel brought an interesting twist to this concept by establishing a private shopping community that targeted students.

The business was launched at the University of Pennsylvania and to date, it has partnered with some of the major fashion brands globally and offers massive price discounts of between 45 and 75% to college students shopping for shoes, clothing, accessories, and much more.

It also happens to be the first private sales store which can be accessed entirely via Facebook. Kembrel’s CEO, Cherif Habib believes that bringing the store to where its customers are and spend most of their time online helps create convenience and relevant shopping experience.


It is no secret that youth love shopping particularly designer items. On its database, Kembrel has over 20,000 registered student members most of whom came to the site through word of mouth advertising. The rate of growth it is enjoying today is around 5,000 new members per week. The student community is basically attracted to the more than 50 brands that have signed up their products through Kembrel.

The company saw a gap in marketing and quickly rushed to close it. Smaller brands were finding it difficult to effectively market to the students’ community and this is where Kembrel came in with a direct marketing channel that enables these brands to tap into the students demographic.

In a bid to stay close to the students’ community, Kembrel has students’ contributors who participate in different activities within the company. For instance, Kembrel’s studio brings in photography majors who snap products shots that feature aspiring student models. Also, marketing, journalism and public relations students oftentimes pitch in to help with publicity and write content for the company.

Inasmuch as online shopping is a trending habit with most youngsters, the ability to touch and feel merchandise firsthand helps in bringing credibility to the products being sold. This is why Kembrel went ahead to introduce the pop-up shop campaign which consisted of mobile stores.

Student Entrepreneurship

Kembrel is one of the growing numbers of Philadelphia companies that were started by students. They paint the enviable picture of the young and bubbly whose dreams often go unrealized because of lack of a channel to actualize them. Kembrel is not just an online-based business, but also an inspiration to many wannabe entrepreneurs.

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