Fashion designer Nicole Miller knows her brand is best known for its dresses, and she sees the pandemic as one more reason to diversify her product line.
“[We’re] trying to become more of a lifestyle brand, giving our customer a broader range of things to choose from,” Miller said on the Glossy Podcast. “I’m not just there for your party dress.”
Miller talked about how direct-to-consumer isn’t a silver bullet for challenged businesses, how she doesn’t think there will be any fashion shows in September (“or it’ll all be online”) and how she learned to put more of herself into the brand’s social media presence.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Going DTC won’t solve everyone’s problems
“The web sales are definitely growing. We’ve been working hard on engaging with the customer there. Everybody’s looking to direct-to-consumer right now, thinking that’s going to save them. It’s a crowded room out there. There are a lot of multi-brand websites. You really have to make yourself important to your customer.”
Supply chains disrupted by the pandemic
“This year, we were trying to push our creative process ahead anyway, so we were a bit ahead of the game. But it changed how we get things made. We had a lot of domestic sample-making, and my sewers are all at home. We sent them [home] with a bunch of work, but we’re out of work to send them because there’s nobody to cut the work. We’ve been doing pattern-making long distance and sending patterns to China. The designers were all working on pre-spring and spring. But the whole fashion calendar is going to change. There aren’t going to be any fashion shows in September — or they’ll all be online. The fashion industry is really going to be dramatically changed by all this.”
How Nicole Miller is branching out
“[We’re] trying to become more of a lifestyle brand, giving our customer a broader range of things to choose from, from different [categories]. Adding that whole [lifestyle] segment will certainly boost sales for us. We just have to be in other areas, and they have to come and see us for other things than they were [originally] thinking. I’m not just there for your party dress. I will dress every area of your lifestyle.”