Imran Amed, founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion, hosted an AMA on reddit today. Unsurprisingly, the majority of questions surrounded how to break into the industry or how BoF itself became so successful – ideal promotion for the site’s new Careers marketplace of course.
Lots of safe play from Amed for more in-depth thoughts on the current state of affairs in fashion business otherwise (and by that I mean non-speculative), but a few top line points focused on digital worth highlighting nonetheless. Note the shout out particularly to UK-based companies in the first one:
Question: If you have to name three amazing e-commerce projects concerning selling fashion online (luxury, premium and mass), which one [sic] will you choose?
Amed’s answer: 1. Farfetch – omnichannel commerce for boutiques enabling them to reach a global market in a tough economy. 2. Lyst – a social curation site with one of the largest databases of fashion products. 3. Net a Porter – still a leader in the commerce and content space, and always innovating.
Question: My question is about your advice for building awareness for a startup brand – have you seen any really smart examples of how a designer / brand has generated the requisite “buzz” without investing thousands in a PR agency?
Amed’s answer: Social media can do amazing things for a young brand, as you can build a direct relationship with the people who are interested in your brand. You don’t need millions of followers for this to be effective. It is more about the quality of your followers and fans, than the quantity.
Question: I would like to know your point of view about crowdfunding related to fashion. Do you think that big fashion label will use it one day? I think that could be a tool to have a more conscious production, and a way to cut off market research’s costs.
Amed’s answer: I have seen a lot of crowdfunding fashion startups come and go, and have yet to see a really great, workable model, apart from Threadless, which is great. Perhaps at some point the model will gain traction, but thus far, I have not been terribly impressed.
On another related note to Amed’s AMA, Rohit Thawani, director of digital strategy at TBWA\Chiat\Day, recently wrote this great piece outlining five things brands should NOT do on reddit. Do check it out.