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business Podcast product Retail

Stadium Goods: Riding the sneaker culture boom

The success of Stadium Goods comes off the back of unprecedented consumer desire for sneakers and the need for a rich brand experience in which to buy them, says the platform’s co-founder and co-CEO, John McPheters, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

“For me the light bulb was that demand had never been higher. It was continuously growing, there were more and more people that wanted to buy our products, but there wasn’t a rich experience that consumers could go to to buy that stuff that was trusted, where they knew what they were getting, where they could really hang their hat on the brand experience and the presentation.” he explains.  

As a result he and his partner, Jed Stiller, set about creating a site that is focused on consignment – meaning it resells existing sneaker stock as well as broader streetwear – but it only does so with unworn and authentic styles. That focus on trust is the key, he says.  

Only launched in 2015, the site was acquired by ecommerce marketplace Farfetch in 2018 for $250 million. Very few emerging businesses have seen such rapid growth. It’s now considered such a market leader, it recently announced a partnership with auction house Sotheby’s to sell 100 of the rarest, most coveted sneakers ever produced.  

The site’s explosion aligns with the growth of sneaker culture worldwide. Expected to hit nearly $100bn in global sales by 2024, sneakers are outpacing much of the rest of the industry, including that of handbags. As a result, they have become the new ‘cash cow’ and awareness driver for all manner of brands, not least those in the luxury space, where such products are used as entry to otherwise more aspirational price points. 

In all parts of the market this has resulted in ‘cult’ or ‘it’ sneakers to own as a result. A rare pair of Nikes today can easily sell for as much as those from Gucci or Balenciaga as a result. This means it’s increasingly a race, with some limited edition styles going for $10,000 or more. 

Co-Founder & CEO, Current Global, Liz Bacelar and Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Stadium Goods, John McPheters

In this episode, recorded live at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum, we chat to founder John McPheters about the cultural relevance of such products, the evolving role of exclusivity and desire in luxury today, and just how what he’s doing is really about teaching the industry to give up control.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick film

Prada returns with sequel of The Postman Dreams short movie series

Elijah Wood in Prada's new The Postman Dreams 2 film series
Elijah Wood in Prada’s new The Postman Dreams 2 film series

Prada has released a second series of short movies written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Autumn de Wilde for the holiday season.

The Postman Dreams 2, which hones in on the Prada Galleria bag, is a follow up to the series of the same name and Prada’s first project with de Wilde, which debuted in 2015. This time around it sees four humorous and whimsical films, the first two of which have already been released – The Bogey and The Troublemaker.

Hollywood actor Elijah Wood stars as the postman in each, but the real protagonist is indeed the bag, which features as a key plot-point in all of the creative work, as well as the thread that ties the four together.

In The Bogey, for instance, actress Emma Roberts plays herself being interrupted on set by the postman delivering her Galleria bag. The title is drawn from the Hollywood vernacular for an individual breaching the set and walking through a shot while the camera is rolling. Wood therefore is indeed the unwitting bogey on this occasion.

In the second, Wood is in pursuit of Sasha Frolova in order to give her the gift, resulting in a hot chase around a stadium to do so. Drawing on the screwball comedies of the 1930s, Prada refers to this as an absurdist cat-and-mouse game.

“These films are a fantasy to be indulged. A gift to be enjoyed,” reads the write-up, referring to de Wilde’s work as offering a touch of daydream and moments of pure surreal wit.

“De Wilde devises her own imaginary vistas and mise en scène, inspired not just by her own obsessions but those of others. Desire, pleasure, eventual satisfaction – these are the underlying themes of these non-sequential, fabulist chapters,” the team explains.

The last two episodes, which are coming soon, are called The Punch and The Elevator.

Categories
e-commerce social media

Burberry leverages popularity of WeChat’s top fashion blogger with exclusive DK88 launch

Burberry announced its exclusive launch of its new DK88 handbag with Mr. Bags through a game on WeChat
Burberry announced its exclusive launch of its new DK88 handbag with Mr. Bags through a game on WeChat

First Strathberry, then Givenchy, and now Burberry – luxury brands are learning that it pays to work with China’s authority on high-end handbags when introducing their collections to Chinese consumers. On Monday (May 3), Burberry partnered with Mr. Bags for an exclusive online WeChat shop launch of its leather DK88 handbag, which was also released in the United States just one day after the Met Gala.

The featured colour for the launch, chosen by Mr. Bags, is called Bright Toffee and is currently only available for purchase in China on Burberry’s official WeChat shop, running for 18,500 RMB (about US$2,683).

The DK88 bags are also available on the WeChat store in four additional colours: Blossom Pink, Slate Blue, Dark Chocolate, and Black, some of which are not currently listed on the US website (though Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey has said customisations would be available). While official sales figures so far have not yet been released, at press time the special-edition colours were sold out. If previous performances are anything to go by, Burberry likely has made a significant dent in the wallets of Mr. Bags’ loyal followers.

As part of the campaign, Burberry also created a WeChat game that invites users to use the shake feature on their phones to ‘paint’ the DK88 bags. With each shake, a new bag colour is revealed, along with a description on what the colour says about the person who likes it. For example, those who pick pink are “passionate” and “optimists,” while slate blue lovers are “gentle, delicate, elegant, and quiet”.

From there, the game gives users the option to send a personalised message to a friend featuring the bag colour of their choosing, or they can go into the WeChat store and read up on more details about the bags and ultimately make a purchase. Customers are given the option to make payments using WeChat, Alipay, or Union Pay. Mr. Bags also tells customers on his WeChat post that first-time buyers can email a screenshot of their order to him, and he will pick out two lucky winners to receive a special gift.

Mr. Bags said in his post announcing the collaboration that he chose the Bright Toffee colour because it’s the most representative of the brand for Chinese consumers, as it’s a similar shade to the tan tones in Burberry’s iconic scarves and trench coats. So far, the response from his followers has been positive, aside from the disappointment expressed by many commenters about certain colours being sold out.

Collaborations between fashion bloggers and luxury brands are not uncommon in China, but e-commerce partnerships through WeChat has been an emerging trend as an increasing number of fashion houses get comfortable with hosting sales on the popular social media platform.

In one of the most recent examples, top Weibo fashion blogger and influencer, Gogoboi, opened a WeChat boutique where he curates and sells clothes and accessories from luxury online retailers like Yoox and Farfetch. Burberry’s endeavour comes as the brand reported a rise in sales at a “high single digit” rate in mainland China.

By Jessica Rapp @jrapppp

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce product social media technology

What you missed: Store of the future, Edward Enninful to Vogue, Walmart acquiring Bonobos

Edward Enninful is joining British Vogue as editor in chief - what you missed store of future
Edward Enninful is joining British Vogue as editor in chief

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news.


TOP STORIES
  • A fantastical new world of high-tech, high-concept stores is here [Quartz]
  • Enabling the ‘offline cookie’ – why Farfetch’s store of the future is all about data [Forbes]
  • 6 fashion insiders on the British Vogue EIC news [Man Repeller]
  • Walmart is in advanced talks to acquire online men’s retailer Bonobos [Recode]
  • A new generation of even faster fashion is leaving H&M and Zara in the dust [Quartz]

BUSINESS
  • With Brexit now triggered, UK’s modern luxury CEOs discuss the early impact [LeanLuxe]
  • Burberry licenses fragrances and cosmetics business to Coty [Reuters]
  • Ralph Lauren closing Fifth Avenue Polo store, cutting staff [WWD]
  • Jenna Lyons out at J.Crew after 26 years [NY Post]
  • Luxury-goods companies are belatedly trying to go digital [The Economist]
  • Prada’s turnaround plan: fewer stores, more e-commerce [Glossy]
  • ‘See now, buy now’ is a publicity stunt, not real process innovation [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which Stories format is winning? [AdAge]
  • Snap-to-shop ads hope to drive retail sales [MediaPost]

MARKETING
  • Dear brands, quit trying to be my best friend [Racked]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The whole ‘malls are dying’ thing is getting old, say mall CEOs [Bloomberg]
  • Macy’s CEO on the future of department stores [The Robin Report]
  • Alibaba’s new retail integrates e-commerce, stores, & logistics: is this the next gen of retail? [Forbes]
  • ModCloth, True & Co. point the way to e-commerce’s future [SF Chronicle]
  • How Mon Purse makes $2 million worth of customisable handbags a month [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Artificial intelligence in retail: A smashing tool of omnichannel [Medium]
  • Adidas is kicking off the era of 3D-printed sneaker production with the Futurecraft 4D [Quartz]
  • What RFID technology means for retail [Glossy]
  • London to stage world’s first “smart street” [The Industry]
  • Why drone delivery still has a long way to go before it takes off [Retail Dive]
  • Inside Stitch Fix’s experiment to design clothing with an algorithm [Glossy]
Categories
Comment Editor's pick film mobile social media

From the archive: How Hermès is winning with creative online content

Hermes_Ostrich_Birkin_Bag-e1408563424299

Last year’s list of the 100 most innovative companies, according to Forbes, saw French luxury brand Hermès sitting at number 13. Though it dropped to 22 in 2015, it can still be credited as a leader in creating desire coupled with mystique.

This article documenting why, and originally published in Forbes in October 2014, remains as relevant now as it was back then. Yes the elusiveness of its famous handbags is one important factor, but the part you may know less about is the way it consistently defers to creativity online.

While Burberry might be shouted about as a digital pioneer or Chanel heralded for its elegant YouTube channel, not to mention statement-worthy catwalk shows, Hermès should be regarded for the creative content it is pushing out across channels. It regularly, and always quietly, releases everything from quirky illustrated videos to pop-up e-stores that tick every box associated with the brand craftsmanship it is engaged in, setting it apart from many others in the space.

The Forbes list is determined by measuring which companies trade at a level incongruous to their underlying financials and assets, leading to an Innovation Premium (IP). Hermès set a record in 2014, reporting an operating profit of $1.69 billion with $5 billion in sales – the fastest growing business in its industry over the past six years. In fact the only others categorized as ‘luxury goods’ on the list from Forbes were Li & Fung at 41 and Luxottica Group at 51 (in 2015, Luxottica sat at 65, while Li & Fung dropped off the top 100 entirely).

0902_FL-hermes-axel-dumas_2000x1125-1152x648

An article in the September 8, 2014 issue of Forbes magazine accompanying the list highlighted the fact Hermès doesn’t have a marketing department. “Why should it? McKinsey doesn’t have a consulting department nor does Microsoft have a software department. Marketing is Hermès’ core business,” writes author Susan Adams.

She quotes the company’s CEO, Axel Dumas (as pictured above): “Our business is about creating desire. It can be fickle because desire is fickle, but we try to have creativity to suspend the momentum.”

Taking it to that online space therefore, one such exercise in creativity in 2014 could be seen in the pop-up virtual store launched, dedicated to the brand’s silk squares, shawls, twills, scarves and stoles. Illustrated in typical Hermès style by Pierre Marie, Lamaisondescarrés.com looks like a grand house with an intricate interior and a diverse series of characters and creatures all featured. There’s a gardener floating on a hot air balloon, sunflowers twisting in the breeze, a play slide atop a large giftbox, a gentleman lying in a hammock and more.

The team behind it referred to it as “playful, welcoming, immersive and surprising”. Created in partnership with agency AKQA, it allows users to explore different rooms featuring 600 models of Hermès signature silks, all of which can be clicked to purchase.

1027_FL-Hermes-masiondescarres_1956x1100-1152x647

There’s also a link through to two of the brand’s apps – further explorations of creative content, this time with a functional edge. The first, called Silk Knots, is a how-to guide on 24 different ways to tie your scarf through images and videos. The second, the Tie Break app, is aimed at men and includes a variety of GIFs, games and comics as well as collection insights.

There’s a real sense of fun permeating Hermès’ work, and the same can be said for film. Stop motion has been a go-to for the brand for some time, from China plates playing ping-pong while handbags spectate, to pairs of shoes leapfrogging one another. Previous holiday seasons meanwhile have seen illustrated versions of its infamous orange boxes captured iceskating. Each clip is far worthier than the 20-60,000 views they’ve received (for reference, 2015’s holiday clip has been viewed over 600,000 times to current date).

Earlier in 2014 there was also a campaign starring Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris dancer, Jérémie Bélingard. Directed by Romain Laurent, the 60-second spot – called Man on the Move – saw Bélingard walking around an “urban playground”, as he did so automatically transforming from one outfit to the next.

Like a fashionable shafeshifter, when he bumps into a lamppost, his jacket and granddad-collar shirt are replaced with a white printed shirt and green trousers; when he hits the wall with the chime of a pinball machine, the green jacket to match those trousers arrives… and so it continues.

Each piece is peppered with an eccentric, playful and quirky feel. Above is another strong example – Hermès taking its signature equestrian reference, and bringing it to life in an unexpected manner. Despite the fact that means models acting out being a horse (#jesuisuncheval is the hashtag), somehow there remains a chic French sophistication to it.

Hermès’ US CEO, Robert Chavez, is quoted in Adams’ piece: “We’ve always said we don’t take ourselves too seriously at Hermès.”

Arguably it’s this combination of creativity and light-heartedness that is making this 177-year old brand relevant in today’s digital world. A beautiful sense of humour anchors it, all the while an air of aspiration is maintained, resulting in content that is some of the best we’re seeing out there from a luxury house to date.

As the intro to the magazine article reads: “Quietly and diligently, the family behind Hermès has become one of the world’s richest, to the tune of more than $25 billion. They’ve done it by not only selling beautiful luxury items but also by selling aura as beautifully as any company on this planet.”

Categories
Editor's pick technology

10 wearable tech gifts for the fashionistas in your life

wearabletech_GIFTGUIDE

If the new Hermès Apple Watch is a little out of price range, but you’re after something more than the standard fitness band to fulfill your wearable tech gift giving quest this holiday, look no further…

In honour of those thinking about fashion and not just function, our Forbes round-up of 10 wearables now on the market, is well worth checking out. Ranging from Everpurse x Kate Spade New York, to Altruis, The Unseen and Topshop x bPay, they not only do neat things like pay for products or help charge your other devices, but look pretty good too. There’s also Unmade, Gemio, Ringly, Away, Misfit x BaubleBar and Love & Robots.

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film Uncategorized

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence features in making-of Miss Dior handbag ad

In case you hadn’t heard enough about Jennifer Lawrence this week, here now is a video from the behind-the-scenes of her debut Miss Dior handbag ad.

Shot by Willy Vanderperre, it shows the new Oscar-winning actress posing for the spring/summer 2013 stills shots, all the while speaking over the top about her love of Dior and the timelessness of the bags in question.

“Dior represents beauty and strength in women and that’s how I feel when I’m wearing his clothes, they just make you feel so confident,” she says.

Kudos to Dior for adding her to their Academy Award-winning line-up: Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman included.

On that note, Portman’s latest Miss Dior fragrance film, directed by Sofia Coppola, is also just out. “La vie en rose”, as it’s called, is a beautiful spot, and well worth the watch.

(Be sure to view this and this too by the way)