At Monday’s Glossy Forum, brand executives from DTC companies, wholesale brands and retailers came together to discuss the effect of “the direct-to-consumer era” on their companies, as well as the fashion and beauty industries as a whole. The brand lines are blurring, with direct-to-consumer brands changing their tune, increasingly turning to wholesale retailers and their store networks to scale. Meanwhile, wholesale brands are breaking ties with retail partners to get closer to their customer.
We gathered some of the best speaker and attendee comments of the day, including those centered on the need for experimentation, the status of influencer marketing and the problem with pop-ups.
The need for experimentation
“We want to be where customers are, but that doesn’t mean we have to do things traditionally.… You can’t just say, ‘This is the only way we know, and it’s the only way that works.’ Things that worked just two years ago don’t work anymore. You have to constantly adapt.” –Rachel Cohen, co-founder of Snowe
“For us, we want to continue to grow and expand, and develop those core products, but we also want to make sure we don’t get stuck in a single mindset. You have to think about continual reinvention and not be satisfied with a single hit [product].” –Brian Murphy, co-founder of Loeffler Randall
Establishing a unified mission
“It is extremely important to align on the same end goal. We have the same goal today as we did when we founded our company. Often, as you can imagine, we disagree. Sometimes something is smart financially, but not good for the brand, and vice versa. Knowing what our end goal is at all times helps us navigate those decisions.” –Deepa Gandhi, founder and COO of Dagne Dover
“My experience says that, if you want to live every aspect of your brand purpose, you have to start a movement, and that movement has to start internally. If you don’t have everyone on your team on board with the same goal, the same mission, you’re stuffed.” –Micky Onvural, CEO of Bonobos
Working with influencers
“We’ve had so many different influencer strategies, and some work better than others. We’ve started with girls with hundreds of followers, and we have some with thousands. We have one girl who has grown her followers to over 100,000. Ideally, we work with the same influencers so we can grow alongside them.” –Ramy Brook Sharp, founder and creative director of Ramy Brook
“It’s like: This girl’s got 100,000 followers, and she wants $5,000 for an [Instagram] post. And a girl with the same number of followers wants $10,000 a post. How do you, as a brand, break that down to really understand the metrics around why an influencer would make senses for your brand? There have never been standards — in fact, I think they’re getting worse.” –Natalie McGrath, vp of marketing at Boohoo North America
The limits of pop-ups
“When we first launched, I thought we’d do pop-ups all the time. That was part of our plan: to be direct-to-consumer and online, and do a series of pop-ups. We soon realized that doing a pop-up is pretty much like opening a store: We had to staff it and train people, and make sure the environment felt beautiful on on-brand.” –Jennifer Zuccarini, founder Fleur du Mal
“You definitely spend a lot of marketing time in a pop-up’s ramp-up period. If you have a whole model built off of, ‘Get people there,’ and then you leave, you don’t get to see the fruits of your labor. We’re still trying to figure out the right amount of time to be able to test the market and also learn.” –attendee during a working session on using physical retail to your advantage