Ramy Brook Sharp opened a brand flagship store in Manhattan last fall, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down just about every brick-and-mortar store in New York City — though since, the company’s focus has changed to the company’s e-commerce site, of course.
Direct-to-consumer was a priority even before the crisis. “That’s definitely going to be the future of the company,” Brook Sharp said on the Glossy Podcast. “We were going in that direction to begin with, but I think with everything happening, you realize how important that is.”
Until then, the contemporary fashion company has had to furlough all 45 of its employees. “The hope is that everybody comes back,” said Brook Sharp, adding that the company is continuing to cover affected employees’ health insurance.
“We’re not allowed to ask anybody to work; we can’t expect people to work,” she said, but she’s found that “a majority” of her team is working despite that, unpaid. “Most of the people want to see the company succeed and understand that this is a unique time.”
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Emphasizing their social presence
“We’re not shipping to the major [department stores], so we’re heavily focused on our own website just to keep the business going and keep us liquid. Before this happened, we as a company had been focusing on our direct-to-consumer [channels]. Our digital team doesn’t have a big learning curve here — they know exactly what to do. It may be doing more paid social, more e-blasts. On social, we’re doing a little bit more, too. That digital team is really in action.”
DTC is “the future of the company”
“Things will probably change. I’m not sure that doing every trade show would be as important anymore. Direct-to-consume has always been important, and that’s definitely going to be the future of the company. We were going in that direction to begin with, but I think with everything happening, you realize how important that is. I don’t know, initially [after the dust settles], how excited people are going to be with shopping in a store — not so much a boutique store, but a department store. We’re fortunate. Our store is big, so even on a good day, you can be 10 feet away from somebody.”
“People are shopping, and they definitely want the deals. I think everybody’s hoping for that day where they can go out again. We can’t stay inside forever. It’s not going to work for the economy, for businesses, for anything. So if people are smart, they will take advantage of some of these sales that generally don’t happen. And when they go out, they’re going to have a great top, sweater, jeans.”