As #ad becomes the norm for beauty and fashion influencers working with brands, some companies are seeing an opportunity in more personal referrals. Direct-selling beauty company Ever considers its specialists friends of its clients, and Glossier has said it is looking for a way for its customers to play in the social selling arena.
Masse founders Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff are taking that one step further with their new app. This week, the former Jet.com product managers introduced Masse to the public after a select friends-and-family beta period. Masse allows its users to ask for and share beauty, personal-care, fashion and other product recommendations among their existing social networks in a Tinder-like setting. “There’s an anti-influencer wave happening, where someone is being paid to promote something,” said Shaffer. “This takes the guesswork out of who to trust and how.” —Priya Rao
Streetwear is forcing new competition among brands across price points
It’s no secret that the luxury world is in the middle of a deep romance with all things streetwear. The two have been spiraling toward each other for a few years now. But one interesting new consequence of streetwear’s rise is that there is now stiff competition across price points. You can go into an upscale department store and find a $150 Nike sneaker sitting right next to an $800 Gucci sneaker. Brands that never had any reason to compete with each other before are now going after the same customer.
This has opened the door to some extremely interesting questions about price and the definition of luxury. No one would ever think to call Adidas a luxury brand, but if a Yeezy Boost is selling for equal to or more than a luxury brand’s sneaker, to the same customers buying luxury brand sneakers and in the same stores where luxury brand sneakers are sold, why not?
“Sneakers have completely screwed up all these distinctions,” one analyst said. “When you’re buying non-luxe shoes for luxe prices, there’s hardly even a line between them anymore.” —Danny Parisi
International luxury e-tailers are vying for the U.S. dollar
Italy-based luxury fashion retailer Luisa Via Roma wants more Americans to shop its e-commerce site, so it’s introducing physical retail in the States.
On Friday, Luisa Via Roma opened its first U.S. pop-up, created with and housed in Tribeca-based Spring Studios. It will remain for a month and will be followed in January by a month-long pop-up in L.A. CEO Andrea Panconesi called the stores experimental and said, if successful, opening physical stores in the U.S. will be the next step. Rather than in-store sales, that success will be based on foot traffic and online transactions.
There’s no shortage of multi-brand luxury fashion retailers, and Net-a-Porter and Farfetch lead the pack. Using brick-and-mortar stores as a marketing tool is an increasingly common strategy for brands and retailers, as digital advertising becomes more costly and consumers shift their spend to experiences. Panconesi said Spring, with its affluent members and fashion-focused programming (it’s a popular New York Fashion Week venue), is the ideal location for getting in front of luxury shoppers. “It’s a working place, a meeting place, restaurant, a party. We’re a surprise,” he said.
The store features select statement pieces from current designer collections, a holiday capsule with exclusives by brands including Versace and Moschino, and a co-branded line with Spring. Two tall digital screens from which LVR’s full inventory of 30,000 products can be purchased are positioned along walls, between racks.
“The new generation is not interested in just shopping — in a regular store, in a department store,” Panconesi said. “And they’re bored with shopping online. They want to socialize, have an experience I’ve always believed shopping should be a mix of real experience and online.”
Luisa Via Roma launched its e-commerce site in 1999, building on its Florence store opened in 1929. The site sees 5 million unique visitors a month and accounts for 95 percent of sales, reportedly totaling $150 million in 2017. —Jill Manoff
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