This week, a look at how Anthropologie and Pinterest are using IRL activations to grow their bridal businesses and chase trends. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
Making a Pinterest board for your wedding is practically a rite of passage. According to Elizabeth Preis, CMO of Anthropologie, many people start making wedding-focused Pinterest boards before they’re even dating someone.
Pinterest has become one of the biggest predictors and shapers of what wedding trends look like in upcoming seasons, and it’s for that reason that Anthropologie began working with Pinterest last year to help grow its wedding business. On Thursday, Anthropologie and Pinterest unveiled their biggest collaboration yet with the Anthropologie x Pinterest Trend pop-up, a four-day, in-person pop-up in New York City. Ahead of the opening, Pinterest provided data showing the biggest trends in weddings right now and Anthropologie Weddings stocked the store with pieces reflecting those trends.
The pop-up reflects the direction of the bridal industry as well as Pinterest’s reputation as a hub for recommendations, inspiration and trendsetting in the wedding market. According to Research & Markets, the global bridal market is set to be worth $83.5 billion by 2030, marking significant gains from the low period of the pandemic years. And the industry’s offline growth will actually outpace online growth, making in-person activations like Anthropologie’s a vital piece of the growing market.
“When you’re shopping for a wedding, you start with inspiration,” Preis said. “What platform is better for discovery than Pinterest? We think the store is really important for discovering things you wouldn’t necessarily think to combine on your own and Pinterest is a natural partner for that.”
Anthropologie first teamed with Pinterest on a pop-up over the holidays, when it set up shop in a townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. Preis said the holiday-house-themed pop-up had a line down the block and sold out of all of its products in the first day, inspiring both companies to keep the partnership going.
Bridal shopping looks very different now than it did in years past. For one thing, the ceremony dress has become less centrally important to a bride’s wedding plans than it once was. Celebrities like Anya Taylor-Joy and Greta Gerwig have made unconventional wedding attire more popular than ever. And according to Holly Thrasher, chief merchandising officer of apparel and weddings at Anthropologie, the dress has now been replaced by a group of rotating outfits that brides wear throughout the wedding weekend.
“I’ve been in this business a long time, and the biggest change I’ve seen is that the gown is now just a moment — it’s not the only moment,” Thrasher said. “Now, it’s the story, or the theme, that’s important. … They might wear three dresses throughout the day, or they have a dress where the sleeves can come off. It’s all in service of the story of the wedding.”
The pop-up was designed to reflect the changing trends, bringing in products matching Pinterest Predicts trend data. Products reflect the rise of the Western gothic aesthetic, a prevalence of bows on wedding dresses and a return to groovy, 1970s wedding styles.
The return of weddings and the trend of brides wearing multiple, diverse outfits throughout their weddings, has partially fueled Pinterest’s recent growth. As of the end of 2023, the platform had over 480 million monthly active users, an 8% increase from its previous all-time high during the pandemic. Total revenue grew by 11% in the last quarter of the year, reaching $763 million.
For Pinterest, the pop-up is a chance to continue its strategy of using IRL events to grow in 2024. In addition to the Anthropologie pop-ups, the company hosted its own pop-up in London last September, which was a combination corner shop and beauty bar that also offered tattooing and cocktail making. And it’s planning to host its first IRL Coachella activation in April.
According to Pinterest CEO William Ready, speaking on the company’s most recent earnings call in October, retail brands like Anthropologie continue to be revenue drivers.
“Retail [partners] have been the largest contributor to our growth, [which has been] driven particularly by larger sophisticated advertisers,” Ready said. “We expect that that trend of other advertisers coming in or leaning more into the platform will only continue.”
Retail brands are increasingly attracted to Pinterest as both a commerce and marketing tool, due in part to its large user base, but also due to the high level of engagement it attracts. After Pacsun adopted Pinterest’s advertising API last quarter, it saw a seven-times increase in conversions attributed to Pinterest, according to Ready. Luxury brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren have all been active on Pinterest in recent months. Ready said sales conversions through Pinterest’s advertising API brought in 28% of the company’s revenue last quarter, up from 14% of revenue at the beginning of 2023.
For its part, Anthropologie is one of the biggest revenue drivers for its parent company URBN right now. For the quarter ending in October of 2023, Anthropologie and Terrain, two of URBN’s biggest brands, collectively brought in over $540 million in revenue, a 13% increase from the quarter before. This drove URBN’s total revenue up 9% for that quarter to $1.3 billion.
Weddings have been a particular focus for Anthropologie since last year when, in May, it rebranded its wedding brand BHLDN as Anthropologie Weddings and hired Anu Narayanan as president of women’s apparel, accessories, weddings and beauty.
“Ever since Anthropologie Weddings was established, we’ve been focused on evolving with our customers,” Narayanan said. “There are so many events that a bride has: the bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, the afterparty. And we’re focusing on all the bride’s needs, all the way down to what swimwear they wear on their honeymoon. That’s our differentiation.”