Tumblr losing its fashion sheen?

Having only ever read positive reports about the fashion industry’s use of Tumblr, such as this one and this one, not to mention interviewed the blogging platform’s fashion director Rich Tong myself a few months ago (and walked away feeling very encouraged about it), it’s interesting to hear things aren’t quite as rosy in the eyes of brands as they seem.

Over the past few days, numerous industry reps have voiced their opinions:

A blogspost from Jessica Coghan, director of digital marketing at Starworks Group, about Tumblr’s proposed sponsorship deals surrounding New York Fashion Week kickstarted the outcry. She called for the platform to provide brands with an analytics dashboard, rather than this “flash in a pan fashion week nonsense”.

Soon followed all manner of comment, including that of Julie Fredrickson, who manages digital and social media at Ann Taylor, highlighting a certain favouritism is at play.

Raman Kia, head of digital marketing at Starworks, pushed the debate further with regards to “one of the largest online retailers of luxury fashion globally” (three guesses as to who that refers to), suggesting that Tumblr’s actual problem is a cultural one based on both prejudice and a lack of empathy. Strong words.

Rather than repeating it all here, check out Lauren Indvik’s incredible analysis over at Mashable: Fashion marketers voice public outcry against Tumblr.

Interestingly, when I interviewed Tong and questioned him ab0ut monetisation, he said the VC funding the company has had is enabling them to focus primarily on growth, rather than on making money. He explained how Tumblr didn’t want to become one of those start-ups that in concentrating on revenue, ends up changing what they do, losing direction and ultimately failing. Looks like he maybe didn’t take his own advice.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

1 reply on “Tumblr losing its fashion sheen?”

It’s definitely an problem that needs solving: for businesses to invest in any social platform they’re ultimately going to have to justify it in a bottom line context. I dug into what they’d need from Tumblr to do that, and some of the challenges they may be facing in a post, “The Fashion industry wants analytics from Tumblr, but what should they be looking at?”

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