Milly designer Michelle Smith is finally taking the foray into digital.
Smith is launching the brand’s first integrated marketing campaign across print, digital and social channels this fall with the help of graphic designer Jessica Walsh. The campaign showcase pieces from Milly’s fall and winter lines and will also be shared on a new brand Milly Instagram account that will be run separately from Smith’s personal account of 52,000 followers.
The campaign is largely an effort to drive traffic to the website and increase e-commerce sales from 10 percent of the business to 15 percent by the end of the year. Smith added that Milly is working to create a more unified brand voice while making investments in e-commerce, such as a customer loyalty program. “The campaigns I was producing before, while they were beautiful, they were targeted to print advertising and that’s not the reality that we’re living in today,” Smith said.
Smith represents a number of high-end designers that have started to embrace digital, despite hesitancy in the luxury market typically reserved for traditional fashion houses like Oscar de la Renta and Gucci. Milly’s latest digital efforts appear to be a play to catch up with “digitally native” peers like Tory Burch and Rebecca Minkoff, who have robust digital presences and e-commerce ventures.
Smith and Walsh, art director and partner of the design agency Sagmeister & Walsh, had long since admired each other’s work on social media and share a likeminded aesthetic helped lead to their collaboration. The two began by meeting at Smith’s studio to analyze and discuss the new line and then develop key words that define the looks to design around.
“There are anti-fairy tale and feminist themes throughout the campaign,” Walsh said. “The images often show women appearing powerful and confident mixed with a hair of surrealism.”
Smith opened Milly’s online store in 2012, a move she said gave her more oversight and control over the business than when she first started in 2000 on a wholesale model that sold exclusively to boutiques.
Walsh said one of the most difficult parts of developing a fully digital campaign was ensuring there was enough content to feed a digital appetite. In total, she developed 400 images to be distributed on Milly’s social accounts over the next six months.
“Doing a strong campaign of five or six images does not work anymore,” Walsh said. “People consume media quickly these days and are used to digesting new content on a daily basis from brands on Instagram and Snapchat.”