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Founders of boo.com: Where are they now?

They took some tracking down, but we caught up with Kajsa Leander, the co-founder of one of the dotcom boom's most notable failures, fashion superstore boo.com

2 min read

They take some extraordinary tracking down, but boo.com's founders -- Kajsa Leander and Ernst Malmsten -- are alive and well in 2009. "We are still very good friends and keep in touch," former model Leander explained to us by email recently. "He was actually here in Milan yesterday to visit."

It's been a decade since one of the masterpieces of dotcom booming imploded. Ten years ago it attempted to become the planet's most technologically sophisticated online fashion store. It exhausted $185m of investment in just 18 months, because it relied on the home broadband connections that didn't exist, and depended on a trust in online retail people didn't yet have.

Where are they now?

Leander's now in Italy. "I founded the advertising agency Studio Berg together with my husband Joel Berg," she told us. "I run the business part of it and manage the studio and its employees. I also work on marketing and branding strategy with our clients.

"The reason we moved to Italy was because Joel is the creative director for Benetton. He took over from Oliviero Toscani."

Toscani once famously used a controversial photograph of a man dying of AIDS as the centrepiece of a Benetton ad campaign. Interestingly, boo.com was financed in part by the Benetton family.

Malmsten, Leander's business partner and lifelong friend, has become far more elusive since boo's demise. "He is involved in a lot of different things," Leander explained. "Among them the designer Lara Bohinc that Studio Berg just did a rebranding for."

But megalithic aspirations of global retail fashion outlets are off the cards for now. Although Leander admits it's just bad timing. "With boo.com we were really ahead of our time. Today I believe it would have been a very successful concept."

A shame, then, that it's a concept other people ended up turning into a reality worth living in.