Running a fashion company is work enough, but Alice + Olivia CEO Stacey Bendet has also made 2020 a year of initiatives that serve — and push — the entire industry.
In May, the Glossy 50 honoree rolled out Creatively, a job platform and networking app for creatives. “This is our gift to the Covid world,” Bendet said on the Glossy Podcast.
“It will always be free to creatives, because it’s built for creatives,” she said. But it will eventually be monetized by charging those posting jobs on the platform.
In June, Bendet also co-created #ShareTheMicNow, starting by handing over her Instagram account (which has, at last check, 1 million followers) to a less represented voice for a day.
“Like, ‘I trust you, here’s my password, here’s my account, you speak your voice. Let us listen,'” Bendet said.
Kourtney Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Diane von Furstenberg participated, as did dozens of prominent women who replicated the initiative in the U.K. in October, tthe country’s Black History month.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Creative work will come more easily from around the world
“I think there’s going to be an openness to employing people who live in different parts of the world, because so many companies have seen how well their communities and employees work from home. And for my company, it’s weird, because there are certain teams that have really done well during this and then other teams where you’re like, ‘You’ve got to be in the office to do a fitting on a model,’ right? You’re going to have less of a rigidity, in terms of how things are done and how people work in the future. And I think there will be more opportunities, especially for creatives, to find work globally. Obviously right now, it might be tough to find work — there are not as many shoots happening, there’s not as much production happening, there are not as many job opportunities — but that’s going to change. And my advice to all creatives is to keep creating, keep doing what you do, keep pushing yourself, and keep putting your resumes and portfolios and work out there for the world to see, because this isn’t forever.”
‘Every company today is like a media company’
“Every company today has creative needs, when you think about it. It’s not just fashion businesses that have creative hires. Every company today is like a media company. The amount of content that we are putting out into the world each day, between our ecomm and emails and social media, is exponentially growing. And because of that, companies have creative needs, whether you’re Alice + Olivia or Pizza Hut.”
Wholesale will return
“I still think the world of wholesale exists, and retailers are marketers and editors and curators. But I think that the days of growth by numbers, where you’re just flooding the stores with more and more product, and then selling it on sale — that’s sort of over. We’re entering a period — and it started before Covid, but you know, it was sort of exacerbated by it — where people want things a little bit more curated. And we don’t need as much; we’ve realized that we need a little bit less. It’s about, for me, making each item feel really beautiful and special, versus flooding a store with tons of product. So, do I think that the wholesale business in the retail world … is it hurting right now, because of a diminished amount of foot traffic and tourism, and everything else? Of course. But I believe in the resilience of the American people. And I definitely believe in the resilience of women globally, and people are going to want to shop again. They’re going to want to go out again. Retailers are an important part of fashion. So I think that brands right now are more focused on their direct business, because they can control that all more digitally. But as the world reopens, wholesale will come back.”