Glossy+: Brands and resellers are playing nice

Last week, I wrote about the various business reasons that are driving the primary and secondary markets (meaning brands and resellers) to work together. A perfect example of this is the partnership between Stella McCartney and The RealReal, which the two just renewed for the year of 2019.

Through this partnership, customers who consign their Stella products to The RealReal get $100 in credit to use at Stella McCartney. The partnership not only works as a cyclical way of driving business to both companies, but it also plays into Stella McCartney’s sustainability efforts, a major component of the brand’s identity. At the same time, The RealReal gets new customers along with a steady supply of new product to sell.

Brands don’t have to be as sustainability-focused as Stella McCartney to benefit from partnering directly with resellers.

“I think brands and resellers are beginning to see just how valuable these partnerships can be, from a sustainability perspective as well as a way to help extend the reach and covet-ability of their brands,” The RealReal’s chief merchant Rati Sahi Levesque told me earlier this week. “The secondary market can support them. If you have strong resale value, it can actually strengthen your brand. Plus, we’re seeing the majority of our consignors use their commissions to shop the primary market.”

Since the introduction of this partnership in April, sales of Stella items through The RealReal have increased by 65 percent, and the number of Stella items consigned has increased by 74 percent, according to data from The RealReal.

I also asked Levesque (who was named as one of our Glossy 50 last week) about whether she thinks the primary and secondary markets will increasingly work together.

“Yes, I am confident we’re going to see the merging of these worlds continue,” she said. “I think we are just starting to scratch the surface and see a shift -- I have no doubt that it will take some time to gain traction. I’m hoping the extension of our Stella partnership and hopefully, other circular economy partnerships (outside of us) will demonstrate just how impactful coming together can be. It’s a win-win for brands and for the environment.” --Danny Parisi

How Swims created an Instagram moment for a male audience
Building Instagrammable moments into stores gained traction this year among fashion and beauty brands, thanks to their track record for driving foot traffic and also brand awareness through a hashtag. In October, men’s footwear brand Swims took the concept on the road, with its first global campaign, centered on a bright orange Lamborghini Huracán.

For one day in London and New York City, Swims’ biggest markets, the car could be hailed free of charge by commuters through Twitter using the #SwimsPool hashtag. The idea was based on what the brand has come to know about its customer since its 2006 launch: Most are career-driven and on-the-move, and cars rank high among their interests. The goal was to drive brand awareness and traffic to Swims.com at the launch of the fall/winter 2018 collection.

The car was heavily branded, with a Swims light box affixed to the top à la a taxi ad and promo coupons that printed out in place of a receipt. Drivers were decked out in pieces from the collection, and riders were given gift bags stocked with Swims swag and new styles. An orange car was chosen to match the Swims logo and also the brand’s collections, where the color is a trademark feature.

Swims’ mission to reinvent classics was intended to play throughout the campaign. (The Oslo-based brand, which declined to disclose sales figures, launched with a style of modernized galoshes and is building toward a complete lifestyle brand, with new takes on sneakers, outerwear and bags now in the product mix.) For those who took part, a “reinvented” car -- the Huracán is the first Lamborghini model to have a fuel-saving “eco” setting -- reinvented their daily commute.

The activation was promoted ahead of time through press coverage in publications including Guest of a Guest and the London Post, and unpaid influencers and media were offered the chance to pre-book a ride. On the day of, Swims promoted the campaign across its social channels. The result was 261 ride requests across the two cities, which led to a slew of social media coverage.

According to the brand, the campaign drove 913,000 impressions for #SwimsPool, owed in part to 19 influencers (with follower counts of 15,000 to 540,000), who shared 41 Instagram Stories, 9 Instagram posts, 10 tweets, 2 Facebook posts and 1 YouTube video. Factoring in press coverage of 12 stories shared 450 times, it reported 56 million total impressions. (The press coverage and influencer support in the U.S. was greater, but there were more ride requests by the public in the U.K.) Swims attributes 5,227 Instagram profile visits and 475 website clicks to the campaign.

“Creating this initiative allowed us to leverage our brand through different channels, including media, social, digital, sales and beyond,” said Any Wyss, Swims’ global marketing director. “By fostering an integrated approach that transcended time zones, it allowed us to put Swims on the global map as a brand with both purpose and personality.”

As Twitter requests continued to come in after the activation expired, Wyss said he’d carry it out for a longer period of time, allowing it to build momentum over a couple of days, if repeated.

Swims’ global president, Jake Brandman, called the campaign a success and said revisiting its model is a possibility, pointing to L.A., Berlin and Paris as potential next stops. --Jill Manoff

Shape-shifting is trending among beauty and personal care brands
Change has been a key theme among beauty and personal care brands in 2018.

From subscription business, like Dollar Shave Club and Ipsy, deviating from a fixed, monthly model to Huda Kattan’s Huda Beauty delving into categories such as fragrance with her new sub-brand Kayli, evolution proved paramount.

“Diversification remains so important,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, citing increased competition in the beauty and personal care landscapes.

As more digitally-native beauty and personal care companies come to market, thanks to Instagram, some brands are realizing the fine balance between having an identity and going after opportunities for greater category domination and, of course, dollars.

Some are making sweeping changes, while others are making only minor deviations: Razor brand Harry’s changed up its men’s-only focus with the launch of women’s shaving brand Flamingo in October (the brand came out of its accelerator, Harry’s Labs), and wellness brand Hims debuted Hers in November to offer telemedicine services and non-prescription hair and skin-care products to women.

Thanks to Kayali, 2018 sales for Huda Beauty are expected to double to $400 million at retail, according to sources. Skin care is the next opportunity for Huda Beauty’s portfolio of brands, said Kattan, who herself has struggled with acne and other skin issues.

Still, Kattan noted that not all categories need to be solely focused on the bottom line or profit alone. “I do know that some products are not going to be as profitable, but we know they are good segues for the bigger story or how someone can first encounter our brand,” she said. --Priya Rao