On Friday, Revolve made its Wall Street debut, one of several online fashion companies to go public in recent months. Stitch Fix went public in November 2017, followed by Farfetch in September 2018. The RealReal filed for IPO just last month.
One of the greatest concerns when any company goes public, and one that most public retailers are grappling with, is the subsequent rate of growth expected. For Revolve, one of the biggest questions is how much more it can grow through influencer marketing, which brought in nearly 70% of sales for the brand in 2018, and experiential events like #RevolveFest.
“Once there’s a capital infusion via an IPO, the expectations on these retailers are pretty aggressive. The whole goal of the infusion of cash or investment is really to grow the brand fast,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at management consultancy BRP Consulting. “There’s only so much you can do for growing a brand online. The biggest way to grow and scale is to open some stores.”
Revolve chief brand officer Raissa Gerona said she had to explain to a lot of investors what influencer marketing is and why it’s valuable. She said clearly communicating that component of the business to investors will be key moving forward. “The educational process is crucial for them to understand not only how Revolve does [influencer marketing], but also that this is how young people get information and get inspiration,” she said.
Private label brands will also be a big growth area for Revolve moving forward. The brand currently designs and operates 22 of its own brands.
“Now that we are public, we’re going to continue to provide the best product for our customers. We will continue to get behind our brand through influencer marketing and experiential marketing, and by increasing our awareness globally,” said Gerona.
In roughly two weeks, the brand will launch brand number 23, an exclusive line with influencer Camila Coelho, who has 7.9 million Instagram followers. This will be Revolve’s second exclusive collection with an influencer. Nearly a month ago, the brand launched its first long-term partnership with influencer Aimee Song of Song of Style. The influencer marketing component of the business is where some see Revolve finding its keys to growth and success as a publicly traded company.
“Revolve is one of a top handful of companies that have just built influencer marketing into the core of their company,” said Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of influencer marketing platform Obviously. “The way they’ve built the company around relationships with influencers is so ahead of the curve, especially in fashion. You see a lot of that in beauty — Glossier is a good example — but in fashion, this is huge.”