Brooke Taylor Corcia, the founder of online fashion and lifestyle store The Dreslyn, wanted to launch her own company to get a more accurate representation of West Coast fashion into the e-commerce lexicon.
“E-commerce boutiques and marketplaces all seemed to have a New York or European feel,” said Corcia. “LA was represented as either being super laid-back or ‘red carpet.’”
Three years after launching The Dreslyn as an online destination for access to the chic side of West Coast style, Corcia spoke to Glossy about the art of restraint in building an online store, the key to building two-sided brand relationships and the importance of data.
Edited highlights, below.
Corcia, who learned the ropes of luxury e-commerce during her time as a senior buyer at Ssense, the Montreal-based fashion marketplace, said that she wanted to avoid becoming yet another online fashion destination that imitated a department store in both product selection and customer reach.
“[While at Ssence,] I noticed that competitors were growing and developing in the direction of a department store model. They were buying a lot of product and trying to reach a lot of people,” said Corcia. “There was a lack of online specialty store businesses. So for us, it’s a lesson in restraint. We differentiate through focus, speaking to an individual client and putting everything behind making the service the best we can.”
On brand relationships
Corcia said The Dreslyn’s strength and appeal lies in its ability to balance well-known brands, like Helmut Lang, with smaller, emerging brands. She takes pride in her company’s ability to grow by supporting those brands, and providing a level of attention and information. That’s not typical of retail partners like department stores and online marketplaces.
“The way I look at sales is: Everything is a partnership. We’re nurturing each other for the benefit of everyone, and clients and partners grow best together,” said Corcia. “I ask, ‘What can I offer your brand that you’re not getting through other channels?’ and ‘How can we represent what you’re trying to say through our lens?’ Relationships are key. For the person you want to work with, you have to answer what you can offer them. It has to be two-sided.”
On when to use data, and when to override it
For modern fashion merchandisers, a common theme that’s emerged is that data is important, but it’s not everything. Corcia said that not having data a part of any conversation would be negligent, but it’s not the only part of any conversation.
“When you’re looking at historical data over time, you want to make sure you’re still paying attention to the world and what’s happening. Data can tell you what’s profitable, but it has to be taken with a grain of salt,” said Corcia. “That balance of the art and science is something we really listen to in the way we approach buying. You have to take risks occasionally, [like] when there’s no data to prove something will work, but it supports your vision.”