Valentine's Fashions: Get Your Heart On With StyleFebruary 5, 2013
Valentine's Day is next week. No matter what your plans are or who they're with, Jamie Krell was here with a stylish option for your soiree.
Style and fashion expert Jamie Krell joined us today with looks for every occasion this Valentine's Day.
For more information on Jamie's stylish outfit ideas, go to JamieKrell.com
Hot Mamas: Steal Stylish Maternity Looks From Pregnant CelebsJanuary 25, 2013
Red Carpet To Real-Life: The Hottest Golden Globe Trends (Access Hollywood Live)January 17, 2013
Amy Adams in blush! Jennifer Lawrence and Nicole Richie in sexy sleeves!
These are just a few of the big trends we saw at the Golden Globes!
Style expert Jamie Krell visited Access Hollywood Live to show you how to bring these Golden Globe red carpet trends into your real-life closet!
Stylish Winter CoatsDecember 5, 2012
Temperatures are dropping, but you don’t need to sacrifice warmth for style! Watch as stylist Jamie Krell shows off the hottest coat trends this season featuring The Miss Sixty Raspberry Military-Style Peacoat available on ideeli.com.
ideeli nabs a former Tommy Hilfiger, HSN and Bloomingdale’s exec as presidentOctober 29, 2012
By: Amy Dusto
Members-only e-retailer ideeli, which sells women’s fashion and décor items in limited-time sales, has hired Bob Rosenblatt as president. Rosenblatt has spent more than 25 years as a senior executive for such merchants as Tommy Hilfiger, HSN and Bloomingdale’s.
Rosenblatt succeeds founder and CEO Paul Hurley, who is now chairman of the board of directors.
Launched in 2007, ideeli has more than 5.5 million members and sells items from 3,000 brands.
“The transition from a leading start-up in an emerging market to a more established retail leader requires top-notch retail talent," Hurley says. "Bob is highly regarded for his extensive retail experience, as well as for his record in identifying innovative ways of driving corporate growth and profitability.”
Ideeli Names Bob Rosenblatt, Turns Full Focus to Women'sOctober 24, 2012
By: Sharon Edelson
The flash-fashion Web site is dropping the travel category, phasing out kids’ and exiting the men’s business. The moves are meant to free the site from distractions, so it can focus on women’s fashion and its core mainstream and aspirational female customers.
Founder and chief executive officer Paul Hurley said Tuesday that he has hired Rob Rosenblatt as president of Ideeli. Hurley will move up to the chairman’s suite, where he’ll formulate the company’s broader vision and long-term strategy, while Rosenblatt will oversee day to day operations, identify ways to drive corporate growth and improve the shopping experience.
5 stylish fall coats for under $100September 21, 2012
Style expert Jamie Krell shows TODAY’s Kathie Lee and Hoda where to find affordable and fashionable coats like a cropped tweed blazer and a cropped leather bomber jacket, each for under $100. The segment features the KENSIE Oatmeal Envelope Collar Coat available on ideeli.
Bargain Seekers Broaden Manhattan’s Silicon AlleyAugust 28, 2012
By C. J. HUGHES
A decade ago, in the dot-com boom, technology companies flocked to the neighborhoods along Broadway in Manhattan, with most ending up south of an unofficial cutoff of 23rd Street.
Today, though, that Rubicon is being regularly crossed by a new generation of digital businesses that seem willing to trade Lower Manhattan and its perceived hipness for the more button-down precincts of Midtown.
Dorm Life Essentials: What to Pack for CollegeAugust 23, 2012
The end of summer is here, which means the start of a new school year is right around the corner. Lifestyle expert Jamie Krell shows off all the must-haves for students gearing up for college. Segment features the iLuv Alarm Clock available on ideeli.com.
What's hot and what's not in back-to-school fashionAugust 21, 2012
By: Jayne O'Donnell and Hadley Malcolm
Back to school doesn't just mean students are hitting the books again — they're also hitting the mall, looking for an updated wardrobe filled with the latest jeans, shoes and shirts. What are they buying? Ideeli's Merchandise Director,Marie Ivanoff weighs in on back to school trends.
'GAA' Deals and Steals: Back-to-School EditionAugust 16, 2012
Tory Johnson reveals incredible deals on products for new and returning students. Segment features Cool Gear available on ideeli.com
Hot StealsAugust 5, 2012
By: Johannah Masters
As summer fades, the bargains heat up. Now’s the time to grab the season’s best deals. Article features a Vince Camuto Bag available at ideeli.com- WAS $198, NOW $59.99.
Ideeli Launches Pop-Up Shop to Promote Women-Run LabelsJuly 18, 2012
By Lauren Frankfort
As women with passion and drive, we love seeing other women with passion and drive get recognized. Ideeli, a members-only e-commerce sale site, is doing just that all summer long.
The flash sale operation is partnering with Tory Johnson—champion of small businesses, best-selling author, and Good Morning America contributor—to run a pop-up shop on their site that features small, women-run labels.
Now that's a sale we can get behind.
Internet Retailer Ideeli Gets New FundingJune 20, 2012
By David Moin
Internet retailer Ideeli Inc. just got a big lift.
The fast-growing Web site, which specializes in limited-time sales, has received $30 million in funding from a group of investors, including Credit Suisse. It’s Ideeli’s fourth round of funding since the company was founded by Paul Hurley out of his apartment in November 2007, bringing Ideeli’s total funding to about $100 million. All the other investors — Next World Capital, Cue Ball Capital, StarVest Partners, Constellation Growth Capital and Kodiak Venture Partners — participated in the latest round of funding.
“We have a pretty broad investor base,” said Hurley, Ideeli’s chief executive officer, in an exclusive interview with WWD on Wednesday. “We’re a late-stage growth private company. We’re investing heavily in infrastructure and the team necessary to build a $1 billion online retailer.”
ideeli's Times has comeJune 13, 2012
By Adrianne Pasquarelli
Ideeli, the members-only flash-sale site, is moving up in the world—from Little Italy to the garment district. The company recently signed on for 31,500 square feet—the entire 45th floor—of 620 Eighth Ave., in the New York Times Building. The space will house Ideeli's new and expanded headquarters.
The move comes after 5-year-old Ideeli announced earlier this spring that it would relocate its photography studio to 1385 Broadway, where it will take 23,500 square feet. The tech firm, which has 5.5 million members, currently occupies about 36,000 square feet on three separate floors at 148 Lafayette St. Both relocations are expected to occur this August.
Dress Your Hot Summer BodyJune 13, 2012
All of the sexy little numbers we selected for the PEOPLE.com sale on Ideeli (shop it now!) have three things in common: they're fun, flattering and guarantee all eyes will be on you this season
Are these the cutest bold print summer shoes?April 4, 2012
By Rina Raphael
Desigual, a brand never shy of loud, bright designs (editor's note: an understatement), has taken their signature busy prints to footwear. The Spanish retailer just launched their first shoe collection on Ideeli.com in fun, playful colors perfect for sprucing up one's summer wardrobe (without going overboard and looking like a head-to-toe Hawaiian shirt).
On sale through Saturday 10 a.m. EST, prices range from $69.99-$169.99 for flats, high-heeled sandals and cork platforms. Check out ideeli.com/TODAY to access the exclusive sale – shoppers will be gifted a $25 credit for future purchases once a Desigual shoe purchase is made!
Jock vs. FrockFebruary 19, 2012
By: Johannah Masters
Spring's hottest trends let you play preppy sportster or pretty princess -- or both.
Retailers Cautious for Spring After Mixed HolidayDecember 27, 2011
By David Moin with contributions from Holly Haber, Marc Karimzadeh, Anne Riley-Katz
Give it a B.
That was the general view of the holiday shopping season, which proved a stressful roller-coaster ride for retailers — and was further evidence of a wary, fickle consumer who is likely to remain so way into 2012.
Holiday 2011 at this point is seen yielding about 3 percent sales gains on average, leaving fashion merchants circumspect about spring. There are also growing concerns about fourth-quarter margins due to the incessant promoting; some inventory excesses, particularly in winter clothes given the relatively mild temperatures throughout the country, and whether costs involved in keeping stores open longer than last year were worth it. Some like Macy’s and Toys ‘R’ Us had certain locations operating round-the-clock in the final days before Christmas, though generally stores have become better in the past few years at managing expenses and inventories.
A strong Black Friday; steroidal promoting; the usual late surge, which this year began on Saturday Dec. 17, and robust online shopping got retailers through the season. In November and December, 41 percent of consumers shopped online, versus just over 30 percent in the same period last year, according to American Research Group, which has been surveying 1,000 consumers weekly. The online activity sapped some business out of the brick-and-mortar channel. From Dec. 1 to Dec. 24, store traffic was down 6 percent and store sales slipped 5 percent, according to RetailNext, a consulting service that tracked traffic at 40 chains across the U.S.
Stores Seek Late Lift to Salvage SeasonDecember 20, 2011
By David Moin with contributions from Sharon Edelson
Black Friday was big but “Black Monday” revenues might be even bigger.
And the stores need it badly, considering the holiday season has been up and down since the day after Black Friday and highly promotional even before. Traffic, industrywide, has been down 1.8 percent from last year, according to ShopperTrak, which monitors sales and traffic. Also, concerns about margins at chains such as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Jill, Chico’s, Gap, Talbots, J.C. Penney and Sears, are rising as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus take market share.
Power Lunch: The American ConsumerDecember 16, 2011
CEO, Paul Hurley, provides an overview of ideeli and its on-trend curated sales, consumer profile and nature of the flash sales experience.
Companies That Are Actually Hiring - Right Now!December 3, 2011
(CBS News) U.S. companies say they expect to add more jobs in 2012, and many are hiring right now.
For more on the companies that are looking for workers, "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" turned to Jack Otter, executive editor of CBS Moneywatch.com, who named names on the broadcast.
Flash Fashion 101: How to Make the Most of Gilt, Rue La La and Other Sale SitesDecember 1, 2011
By FEIFEI SUN
It’s not surprising that fashion deal sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, which often offer designer merchandise discounted up to 80%, have garnered more than 5 million members in just a few short years. Known for “flash sales”—deals that typically last just 36-48 hours—these members-only websites feature excess inventory from more than 1,000 brands at steeply reduced prices.
Gilt Groupe launched in fall 2007, and the industry has quickly become packed with competitors, with Amazon.com’s MyHabit launching in May. “There are lots of outlets that offer consumers huge assortments that take a lot of time to shop,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The beauty of the flash business is that we’re perfect for that time-starved consumer. You can shop our site for five minutes every day. It’s a very specific, curated assortment, and we help to pick the right things for you.”
But the bargain sites aren’t just booming among consumers. In May, CNN Money reported that flash sites made $1 billion in sales in 2010, with a projected $6 billion revenue figure by 2015. As these retailers expand to include travel, home and culinary deals, TIME Moneyland asked the presidents and CEOs of the top five fashion flash sites about making the most of the online deal-hunting experience.
Cyber Monday Sees Record ShoppingNovember 29, 2011
By SHARON EDELSON and RACHEL STRUGATZ
Call it Cyber Christmas, with consumers setting records for shopping online.
Online sales Monday are expected to top last year’s Cyber Monday total of $1 billion, the record for online sales for a single day. Retailers were seeing double-digit increases all day Monday, which followed equally strong online sales on Thanksgiving Day and over Black Friday weekend. And more and more of that shopping isn’t being done on a computer, but on a smartphone or tablet device.
A survey for Shop.org by BIGresearch found that 122.9 million Americans planned to shop on Cyber Monday, up from the estimated 106.9 million who shopped in 2010. According to the National Retail Federation, 37.8 percent of shoppers’ total weekend spending went to online purchases, up from 33.3 percent last year. Forrester Research estimated a record $60 billion in online sales for the holiday season, up 15 percent from last year.
A Shopping Day Invented for the Web Comes of AgeNovember 29, 2011
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Cyber Monday may have started as a made-up occasion to give underdog e-commerce sites jealous of Black Friday a day of their own, but it has become an undeniably real thing — surprising even the people who invented it.
Last year was the first time that the Monday after Thanksgiving was the biggest online shopping day of the year by sales, and the first day that online spending passed $1 billion, according to comScore, a research company that measures Web use. On this Monday, early sales reports indicated that it could again be the best day of the season for e-commerce companies.
Though comScore did not release official sales figures on Monday, it said it expected e-commerce sites to reach $1.2 billion in sales, which would be a 17 percent increase over last year. IBM Benchmark, which tracks e-commerce sales, said they were up 15 percent.
Black Friday Weekend Sets New HeightsNovember 28, 2011
By DAVID MOIN with contributions from Sharon Edelson, Vicki M. Young, Jean E. Palmieri, Rachel Brown
There’s wind at their backs as retailers head deeper into the Christmas season.
That’s the view from a spectrum of stores from Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Target and Scoop, to web sites HauteLook and Ideeli. They and many others all reported business and traffic over this past Black Friday weekend surpassed last year’s. Among the biggest early trends boding well for the season were:
• Surging sales online and via mobile devices.
• People shopping as much for themselves as for gifts, meaning there’s still a lot of gift shopping to be done.
• Record Black Friday sales cited by several store executives and industry analysts.
Ideeli Flash-Sale Site Sells High Fashion for LessNovember 18, 2011
By: Jayne O'Donnell
NEW YORK – When the buyers working for the discount fashion website Ideeli return from trips to designer showrooms in the "garment district" here, they're often as euphoric as shoppers who have found great deals.Recently, some of the excitement has been about accessories from hot up-and-coming hair accessories designer Deepa Gurnani and Nine West co-founder Vince Camuto. But it can also just be a few dozen boots from a top designer they're not allowed to mention.
These "merchants," as Ideeli likes to call them, sometimes get calls from manufacturers when stores return merchandise or cancel orders. But, more often than not these days, it's because a brand realizes it's more cost-effective to make extra and knows there's a growing demand for deals on name-brand clothing and accessories.Enter the growing influence of Ideeli and other sites that specialize in "flash sales." While Groupon and other daily-deal sites typically feature one daily deal in a local market, flash-sale sites have limited-time sales that feature many pieces from one or more designers' lines.
Ideeli takes the concept even further and often features sales from as many as 40 designers at a time, selling women's, men's and children's clothing, as well as home goods.
"It's the digital equivalent of an entire store's merchandise being on sale," says Nita Rollins, a digital marketing expert and Ideeli member.
Ideeli's goals are the same as many shoppers' this holiday season: Buyers are looking for the lowest prices on the best products.
"The great recession really, really accelerated our growth," says CEO Paul Hurley. "Brands were more interested in working with us."
Ideeli (pronounced "ideally") placed No. 1 on Inc.Magazine's ranking of the nation's fastest-growing companies this year. The site's three-year sales growth of 40,882% secured its spot and was twice the growth rate of the No. 2 company, Solazyme. Revenue in 2010 was $77.7 million.The site has almost 5 million members and was ranked fourth among flash-sale sites in unique visits last month, according to Web-tracking company ComScore. Ideeli, which launched in 2007 with five employees, now has 250 and is still hiring.
Ideeli Is Having a Kid-Model ContestNovember 10, 2011
This is like the mother of all those beautiful baby pageants: online flash sale site Ideeli is having a "Next Top Mini" contest to find a child model. The ad states that they're looking for kid anywhere from birth to 12 years old to feature in the kids' sale section of the site. The winning kid and his or her parent will be flown to New York for the photoshoot.
Thrillist and ideeli CEOs on Daily-Coupon MarketNovember 1, 2011
Michael Rothman, general manager of Thrillist Rewards, and Paul Hurley, chief executive officer of Ideeli Inc., talk about the daily coupon market and Groupon Inc.'s competition. They speak with Emily Chang and Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)
Tips for Sorting Out The Deals On DealsNovember 1, 2011
By Jayne O'Donnell
There will be no shortage of places for shoppers to find purported bargains on products that are allegedly stellar this holiday season. But how many are the lowest price or a good deal at any price?
If that's not the million-dollar question this holiday season, it will at least be the $499.99 one.
We will have tips weekly from experts on buying products that make good gifts. With help from designer flash sale site Ideeli, here are tips on buying puffy coats:
1) Down has three times the warmth of synthetic fillings, so the more down, the better. But down loses 80% of its effectiveness if wet, so it must be dry cleaned.
2) Synthetic fibers are less expensive and can go in the washing machine.
3) Water-resistant fabrics keep people warm and dry and protect down.
4) Tailored coats with built-in belts can make even a puffy one flattering.
Ideeli's HR Chief on How To Hire WellOctober 17, 2011
Whether you're a one-man shop seeking a No. 2, or a 100-employee firm doubling in the next year, you can learn a thing or two from the process--and mistakes--of the man who is in charge of filling the open positions at Ideeli, the daily-deals site that has grown more than 40,000 percent in the last three years and ranked No. 1 on the 2011 Inc. 500 list. Joel Greengrass, Ideeli's senior vice president of people, speaks from experience. Since he joined Ideeli 18 months ago, he has spearheaded the headcount growth to 250 staffers, up from 75.
In a conversation with Inc.com’s Allison Fass, Greengrass covers how he did it--including how he uses social media tools, outlines job descriptions new hires will grow into, and his trick to uncover a true personality fit.
The Widening of the Obese Market: Companies Cash In on Growing WaistlinesOctober 7, 2011
By Barbara Mannino
As the fight against obesity grows, the obese population is growing as well.
Nearly 150 million people in the U.S. are obese or overweight, according to market research statistics. With little evidence of this demographic slimming down, experts say the obesity market is rife with opportunities for businesses to cash in.
Safer weight-loss drugs
When it comes to making eating choices, consumers have a dizzying array of options. They can go full fat, low fat, reduced fat, sugar free, just to name a few. Or they can turn to weight-loss drugs, which are expected to bring in $222 million for U.S. pharmaceutical companies this year, according to Kate Sullivan, an analyst at Decision Research.
Sullivan says she expects pharmacotherapy to become more popular as a complement to a diet-and-exercise regime, and says major-market sales of obesity drugs are expected to grow from $222 million to $2.6 billion by 2020 at an annual 20% growth rate.
Since patients are typically diagnosed as “obese” after they seek treatment for an obesity-related disease like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, remedies that can act on both the disease and weight-loss fronts stand a greater chance of approval. Nova Nordisk’s liraglutide (Victoza), a Type 2 diabetes agent, and Vivus’ Qnexa are positioned to capture 87% of the over-weight market from blockbuster sales during the next 10 years, according to Sullivan.
Expanding Medical Devices
Providing medical treatment to the overweight population has also become a focus for businesses, as the challenges of handling an obese patient can sometimes pose threats to both patient and caregiver safety.
Medical devices and equipment-maker Stryker developed its bariatric line in response to changing patient demographics over the last 20 to 30 years. Bariatrics falls under the $2 million patient handling market that showed 11% growth in 2010.
Because hospitals are admitting a greater number of older, sicker and heavier patients, the industry has had to rethink its standards of care, including making accommodations for heavier patients. The company’s hospital beds can now accommodate patients between 500 and 1,000 pounds versus the 200 pounds they used to hold, according to Christine Broda, prevention program manager in Stryker’s patient care business.
Stryker added motorized drive systems on select beds and stretchers. The zoom motorized feature “virtually eliminates pushing,” says Broda, to more easily transport overweight patients. Integrated scales allow patients to be weighed in bed in any position. The company also added power built-in lifts and turn assist positioning capabilities to permit easier and safer patient movement. All told, innovations in this market contributed to 21% of Stryker’s growth in 2010.
While the changes were implemented with safety in mind, Broda says preserving the dignity of the patients was also a main priority.
The Ten Fastest Growing Companies in AmericaSeptember 23, 2011
Inc. has just released its full list of America's fastest growing private companies. It was compiled based on the percentage growth of each company's revenue between 2007 and 2010.
The number one company, Ideeli, grew 40,882% in the past three years and is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest internet retailers.
See how the others did, and find out who else is on this year's Inc. 500 list.
Style File Live: Head to Toe Fashion For Under $100September 22, 2011
Los Angeles - In Thursday's Style File Live, fashion expert Jamie Krell shows how you can get designer looks for your Fall wardrobe... from head to toe... for under $100 from the chic fashionable website ideeli.com .
Tory Johnson's Secret Steals for 'GMA' ViewersSeptember 14, 2011
Find out where to get the best deals on everything from cameras to jewelry. Plus, exclusive ideeli discounts for GMA viewers.
7 Head-Turning Fashion Start-upsSeptember 12, 2011
Founded by Paul Hurley in 2007, ideeli (this year's Inc. 500 No. 1 fastest-growing company) is continuing to generate new members. The site sells everything from clothing to home goods to travel goodies. Hurley told Inc. that his company's dependable growth comes from an aggressive pursuit of suppliers and forming good relationships with both established brands and up-and-coming designers. It's this process that has given ideeli a loyal customer base—rare in the ever-expanding daily deals realm.
Ideeli’s Paul Hurley Talks About Winning Over Investors and Making His Mark in Online FashionSeptember 7, 2011
By: João-Pierre S. Ruth
The dynamics of shopping, especially for fashion, may never be the same again with growth of websites such as New York’s ideeli, which offers limited time “flash sales.” The five-year-old company carries the clout of venture backing that lets it strut through the industry with the confidence of a runway model. “Flash sales are part of a major disruption happening in retail,” says Paul Hurley, CEO and co-founder of ideeli.
Much like photographers maneuvering for position along the runway, investors have stepped up to capture pieces of ideeli. Founded in 2006, ideeli offers daily flash sales to its members for luxury apparel, accessories and other wares and competes with the likes of Gilt Groupe. Ideeli has gained momentum with investors as it has grown. The company raised $3.8 million in 2007 in a round with Kodiak Venture Partners and angel investors and then another $20 million in 2009 with investors that included StarVest Partners, Constellation Growth Capital, and Kodiak. And in April it raised $41 million in a round led by Next World Capital with participation from Cue Ball Capital and prior investors.
The early financial backing, Hurley says, ran counter to perceptions during the mid-2000s when few saw room for new players in the e-tailing space. “In 2006 and into 2007, when we started to talk to investors at that point there had been virtually no investment in e-commerce,” he says. “It was felt that Amazon had won the war.
The Leading Flash Sales Sites May Surprise YouAugust 15, 2011
By: Tricia Duryee
Flash sales sites — which specialize in liquidating unsold inventory at greatly reduced prices — are on the rise.
In July, traffic to the sites increased 368 percent, and by 109 percent when compared to the same month two years ago and last year, respectively.
But increasing interest in discounted merchandise in a down economy is not what’s surprising — nearly everyone enjoys the thrill of catching a really great deal, right?
What’s more revealing, in a report published by Experian Hitwise, is who the market leaders are, in terms of number of visits to their sites.
Most flash sales sites entice shoppers by sending them emails with colorful images of clothing, toys, furniture, wine or high-end apparel. From there, buyers click through to the site to see prices and make purchases before the inventory runs out.
According to the report, the top five sites are Zulily, Ideeli, LivingSocial Escapes, Woot! and HauteLook. (See the top 15 in the chart below.)
What’s worth noting about the list is that Zulily, the Seattle-based flash sales site that specializes in kids’ clothing, announced last week that it raised $43 million in venture capital. New York-based Ideeli raised $41 million in April. And another heavy hitter, Gilt Groupe, which recently raised $138 million, ranked No. 7.
Also worth noting is that Amazon is associated with three of the companies in the top 15. The e-commerce giant is a major investor in LivingSocial, which ranked third. The company, which is known for competing against Groupon, also operates Escapes, which offers discounts on travel. Amazon also owns the fourth-largest site, Woot, which it acquired more than a year ago, and it owns MyHabit — in 11th place — a flash sales site it launched in May. Despite being only two months old, MyHabit’s traffic jumped 128 percent since launching, according to Experian Hitwise.
The market is still extremely fragmented. The leader, Zulily, had only 16.3 percent market share, followed by Ideeli with 9.3 percent and LivingSocial Escapes with 8.6 percent.
HauteLook, which was acquired by Nordstrom, ranked as the fifth largest.
In the past six months, visits to Ideeli increased 42 percent; Gilt.com was up 14 percent and HauteLook went up eight percent.
Flash sales shoppers were over index against the online population for household incomes over $100,000 and creditworthiness.
Sale Sites Soar with Travel DealsAugust 15, 2011
By Lucy Cohen Blatter
Having taken the fashion world by storm, private flash-sale sites are now all the rage in the travel world. With an air of exclusivity, they offer lower prices — and more prestige — than the average discount travel site.
But according to Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel editor, in addition to its privileges, membership has its limitations, too.
“These ‘private-member’sites are something of a marketing gimmick,” he said. “It’s a smart strategy for travel providers: Hotels can unload excess rooms or sell limited package deals to a targeted group when there may not be enough inventory — or time — to make an annoucement. Besides, no luxury company wants to officially announce a discount.
“They’re not difficult to join as long as you have a valid email address, [but] consumers feel like they’re getting a ‘special’ deal,” he said. “There are some good bargains.” Here are a few worth checking out:
Ideeli’s travel site (ideeli.com/travel) offers about 20 deals per week, with up to 75% off retail pricing. The site uses an inventory-based booking method rather than vouchers, so you can choose specific dates. The company has a robust cruise component, and airline deals are sometimes also available.
Sign-up is free; no referrals needed.
Sales go live: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10 a.m.
Current deal: A seven-night stay at the Pavilions, an adults-only five-star resort on Thailand’s Phuket Island, with perks, is $1,815 per person — a 57% discount. The price doesn’t include airfare.
This private-sale site geared toward parents recently expanded into travel deals. All deals at Totsy.com are designed with tired parents in mind and an emphasis on rest and relaxation (hello, spas!).
Interesting perk: For every first purchase, a tree is planted in Peru.
Sales go live: Fridays at 9 a.m., and they’re available through Thursday at 10 a.m.
Current deal: A two-night winter stay at the Sagamore in South Beach for $655 (regularly over $1,000). Includes a $100 Totsy credit.
Gilt Groupe’s Jetsetter.com offers three options:
1. Flash sales: Up to 40 are offered each week at about 50% off published prices.
2. Jetsetter 24/7: Similar to sites like Orbitz that offer competitive pricing, it hawks deals up to 20% less than competitors.
3. Personal travel planning: One-on-one travel booking advice with an expert for $200. If you book a hotel with Jetsetter, you get $100 credited toward the stay. Membership for the rest of the site is free.
Sales go live: Daily, usually at 3 p.m.
Current deal: Stay at the super-hip block-long Gansevoort in Miami, starting at $140 a night.
Bonus: amNewYork readers can sign up for Jetsetter without the usual wait; go to jetsetter.com/amnewyork.
Groupon recently launched Groupon Getaways (groupon. com/getaways) in conjunction with Expedia. There are 20 to 25 weekly deals on flights, hotels, all-inclusive packages, car rentals and cruises for up to 50% off. As is the case with other Groupon deals, a minimum number of people must buy it to make it happen. Once you purchase a voucher, you have between six months and a year to use it. Many of the deals have no blackout dates and, if you can’t use your voucher, Groupon offers a refund.
Sales go live: Tuesdays at 12:01 a.m. Users have about a week to buy the deal.
Current deal: The Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla., is featuring a two-night stay with breakfast for two for $289 (regularly up to $540).
Living Social Escapes
Livingsocial.com/escapes offers travel packages curated by experts. The site primarily features “near-cations” — long weekends or midweek retreats a short distance away. For those looking for more far-flung travel, a few destinations such as Mexico, Hawaii or the Caribbean are included.
You can sign up for free, without a referral.
Sales go live: Wednesdays at 5 a.m., and they’re open for booking until the following Wednesday.
Current deal: A stay at Ian Schrager’s new Public Chicago from September to December, with an automatic upgrade to a superior room for $195.
Inside the New York Headquarters of Flash Sale Site ideeliAugust 4, 2011
By: Benjamin Liong Setiawan
Welcome to the latest edition of Working It, where Racked National takes street style to the next level—the office. This week we bring you to the New York offices of ideeli.
Our Web Obsessions This MonthAugust 1, 2011
Lucky Magazine Highlights ideeli's petite and plus size sales as one of their web obsessions for the month of August.
5 Leading-Edge Flash Sale SitesJuly 26, 2011
By Kiran Khalid
ideeli.com launched in December of 2007. It is the fastest growing flash sale site having tripled its membership in less than a year. Like many other flash sale sites, ideeli.com is making a strong push into the lifestyle section. In May, it partnered with the world's biggest online travel sale site, Voyage Prive.
Flash Sale Tug of WarJuly 21, 2011
Cynthia Rowley! Tom Ford? Lanvin? Chanel tweed jackets marked final sale? The constant flow of goods sold online via flash sale sites can leave shoppers confused and bewildered. What happened to the fun of going to Neiman Marcus to try on fancy frocks? Remember feeling the fabric, twirling in front of the mirror, opening up your wallet with equal amounts of joy and pain? In a click, that experience is all but gone.
Flash sales have become an inescapable aspect of the apparel business, even for the most luxurious of labels. Distribution channels are blurring, as are the links in a consumer’s mind between designer tags and brick-and-mortar stalwarts built on their luxurious stables of labels.
“Flash sales are a necessary part of the business to stay in business,” says Gina Bloomingdale, vice president of sales for Habitual. She turns to sites like Gilt Groupe or HauteLook once or twice a year to recoup cash from inventory that has not sold or has been returned from full-price channels.
How to Break Into the Flash Deals SpaceJuly 20, 2011
By Matthew DeLuca
When Ideeli, a flash deals site, launched in late 2007, mainstream retail observers didn't quite what to make of it. A New York Times article from November of that year described the fashion-sales site as a sort of virtual Kmart. By 2009, fashion bloggers were hot on the scent of the day's sales, and The Boston Globe broke down this and other flash-sale sites strategies: they acquire "slow-selling or overstocked inventory from high-end retailers" and offer "it at reduced prices to members." It was the birth of a whole new e-commerce ecosystem.
Ideeli is not the only young company that helped carve out-and is now thriving in-the flash deals space. Philip James founded online wine retailer Snooth before moving on to his latest venture, Lot18. James prefers the term "private sales" to flash deals, and downplays the importance of the actual deal to his business model. Lot18 has been in operation for eight months, and the company reported its first million dollars in sales in March, according to James. Lot18 is growing fast-today it's up to 80 employees.
And consider Doug Mack, CEO of home decorating flash sales site One Kings Lane. He says that last year his company grew 500 percent over the previous year, and that this year it's is on track to see similar growth of several hundred percent. "That's driven by consumers who love this business model," Mack says.
What consumers seem to love is the mixture of exclusivity, reduced prices, and carefully curated products that characterizes flash deals sites. The fact that they offer deals for a limited time-usually about forty-eight hours-doesn't hurt. In fact, it adds an eBay-esque competitive nature to the sales. Want to break into the lucrative flash sales space? Here's how.
1. Understand the allure of exclusivity.
The first feature users will notice on a flash-deal site is that one must log in to access to the deals. Many, including Ideeli, Lot18, and One Kings Lane, allow new users to sign up themselves, but Rue La La, which now has about four million members, has stuck to a model that requires a new users to receive an invitation from a registered user of the site.
"We have strategic relations with people like Elle magazine that allow people a gateway into our experience," says Mark McWeeny, cofounder of Rue La La and president of the site's Rue Local branch. But he says that the exclusivity involved with becoming a member of the site has always been at the heart of Rue La La's business model.
Both Mack and James say their sites are careful about protecting members' privacy. "During the registration process, we ask members to opt-in to receive emails from One Kings Lane," Mack said. "Our members always have the option to unsubscribe to our emails, but still continue to shop our site." James said Lot18 collects information like a member's IP address and state of residence in addition to contact information. They then pair this information with demonstrated purchasing preferences to improve each member's experience on the site. "We do not share this information with other organizations for commercial purposes without the member's consent," James said.
One Kings Lane only requires that new members register. Lot18 allows people who would like to become members to register for an invitation. Membership codes are then sent out at Lot18's discretion.
Dig Deeper: The New Rules of Branding Your Business Online
2. Know your target customer.
Knowing who your customers are and what they want is perhaps the single most important part of any flash space business. Mack says that One Kings Lane, which was founded by Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman in 2009, keeps its focus firmly on a target demographic that has directed the company for the past two years. "We focus largely on women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, typically middle to upper income levels," Mack says. They're really into home and entertaining. They really want their home to be a place where they can create memories with their family."
On a given day, One Kings Lane may be offering sales on a velvet-upholstered chair with a price knocked down to $459 from $900, a set of six clear latte mugs for half their retail price, and a Joan Miro print for $799. What One Kings Lane hopes to do, Mack says, is change the way women shop for their home. There's no need to think in terms of making big investments, such as refurnishing an entire room in one sweep, if one makes smaller purchases on a more regular basis. "We're shifting the consumer mindset to more of a fashion mentality," Mack says.
30 Second MBA with ideeli's CFO, Bob RossJuly 8, 2011
ideeli's CFO, Bob Ross, is featured as a professor in Fast Company's 30 Second MBA. Bob Ross answers the question: "What can a big company learn from a small start-up?".
Tracking Down the Best Deals in FootwearJuly 5, 2011
By Barbara Thau
Shopping for footwear can give you an instant lift — which is not always true when it comes to buying clothes. (Trying on that cute little black dress after you've put on a few pounds is more torture than fun.)
But with the plethora of shopping choices in stores and online, how can you find the best buys on heels, flats, boots and sporty shoes, too? Here's a guide to help you step into some great footwear deals this summer.
Tap outlet stores, off-price chains for deals
For the big shoe deals in brick-and-mortar stores, scour off-price chains and outlet stores. You'll find a wide selection of brand names and designer shoes for 20 percent to 60 percent off department store prices.
While the mix at off-price chains is unpredictable and can be spotty — much of the merchandise is department store and supplier overruns — the prices can be worth it. A recent trip to a New York City Marshalls, a nationwide off-price chain, turned up a pair of Michael Kors gold sandals for $30, down from its original $90 price tag, as well as dressy pumps from Aerosoles for $29.99, down from $69. (Of all the off-price retailers, Marshalls probably offers the widest shoe assortment.)
You should also tap outlet stores for outsized bargains. If you're a brand loyalist, going to a manufacturer's outlet store, such as Cole Haan or Nine West, is a really smart choice for big discounts, Jody Rohlena, senior editor at Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine, told WalletPop. Retail outlets sell merchandise for approximately 25 percent to 75 percent below the manufacturers' suggested retail price.
Also check out the outlet divisions of the upscale department stores, such as LastCall, Neiman Marcus's off-price division, and Nordstrom Rack from Nordstrom, a great source for designer shoes at a big discount, Te Smith, vice president of MarkMonitor, a brand protection firm, told WalletPop.
"These outlets have some big markdowns — especially for people who are looking for a deal on the high-end brands," Smith says.
And don't forget LastCall.com and NordstromRack.com, pretty much the only department stores that run e-commerce sites for their outlet divisions. A recent visit to LastCall.com turned up a pair of 7 For All Mankind boots for $82.50, "which were originally $330," Smith notes.
If you have tony tastes and are looking for a deal on designer brands, shop the private sale, or "flash sale," web sites for luxury brands. These sites, which include Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, offer up to 80 percent off their upscale designer merchandise during sales that typically last between 36 and 48 hours. "But you'll have to act fast," Smith says. "The merchandise is in limited quantities."
Thrifty shoe finds
If you're not averse to used merchandise, mine secondhand stores, consignment shops and thrift stores for some dirt-cheap finds on everything from athletic footwear to designer shoes. Although the selection is hit or mix, bargain shoppers won't want to miss the thrift stores run by such organizations as the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society, which have stores throughout the country.
If a more traditional footwear merchant is more your speed, specialty shoe chain Designer Shoe Warehouse, better known as DSW, gets high marks for its huge selection — stores are reminiscent of a football field, averaging 25,000 square feet — and you can find competitive prices on a variety of shoes on a daily basis.
Tap online shoe sites for savings
"Shoe shopping sites have really been proliferating," says Rohlena. And shopping for shoes online saves gas money, she adds. But before you buy anything online, first review the online shoe merchants' shipping costs, return policies and return shipping costs, Rohlena advises.
"Your shoes have to fit; you can't fudge that," she says. And if you have to return them because they don't, you don't want to get burned by a draconian return policy or exorbitant return shipping charges.
Zappos.com and Endless.com are among the best shoe sites, according to ShopSmart, offering free shipping on both delivery and returns, which can save you a bundle.
Endless.com offers "competitive prices" on everything from sporty sneaks to expensive designer shoes, with a user-friendly search engine that lets shoppers peruse by price, color and heel height, for example, and an edited mix so "you're not overwhelmed with thousands of choices," says Rohlena.
And if you sign up for the site's daily emails, you'll be alerted to sales by shoe type, such as 50 percent off all sandals, or specific brands, like 30 percent off all Nine West shoes.
"With hundreds of brands and thousands of styles, Endless.com does a great job of offering shoes for every budget," Tracy Ogden, spokeswoman for Endless.com and parent site Amazon.com, told WalletPop.
"You can head over to the 'women's shoes' main section, and find stylish, yet affordable brands such as Dolce Vita, Sam Edelman and Chinese Laundry, shoes that include prices ranging from $50 to $200," says Ogden. "[Or] you can visit Endless.com's 'designer' section to find high-end brands like Giuseppe Zanotti, See by Chloe and Badgley Mischka, with styles ranging in price from $300 to $1,200."
You might also want to visit Zappos' 6pm.com outlet site for super discounts on a variety of shoe styles and brands. While the size and color selection is limited and the assortment may be last season's goods, says Rohlena, "if they have what you want, you can get it at a really good price."
Although 6pm.com doesn't offer free shipping, the site's big deals often offset that cost, Rohlena says. A recent trip to the site turned up a sale on Calvin Klein shoes that included $30 citron suede flats, 60 percent off the original $75 price. And a pair of New Balance sneakers was selling for $39, 40 percent off the $65 full price.
If you have special shoe needs, ShopSmart cites Planetshoes.com as the best option for earth-friendly and vegan (non-leather) shoes, as well as a broad mix of high-end comfort shoes and hard-to-find brands like Naot. Click on the site's "The Daily Catch" link for deals.
Sweeten the deal
Before making any purchase, be sure to take advantage of promotional offers and time your purchases wisely to sweeten the deal. These tips will help you land the best price:
• Shop off season to scoop up some super buys, Rohlena suggests. Yes, the mix will be limited if you're shopping for sandals in September, for instance, but chances are, you'll nab some super deals, as retailers are trying to work off their inventory and are in markdown-mode.
• Before you start your shoe shopping, peruse coupon sites like Retailmenot.com and Coupons.com to look for retail or supplier coupons, Rohlena suggests.
• Sign up for sites like ShopItToMe.com, which bills itself as your personal online shopper and bargain hunter. The site will send you alerts on sales and special e-commerce offers.
• Sign up for rewards and bonus programs that are offered by many of the specialty shoe chains, such as DSW and Famous Footwear, as well as some of the other aforementioned merchants. These programs typically offer discounts as purchases are made; you can also rack up points for every dollar spent, which will ultimately earn you a gift certificate or a healthy price cut.
ideeli Launches New Dedicated Travel ChannelJune 21, 2011
Re-launched Travel Site to Deliver Over 100 Monthly Limited-Time Offerings at up to 75% off Within Full-Feature Booking Platform to ideeli's 4 Million+ Members
NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 21, 2011) - ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), one of the fastest growing U.S. flash sale shopping sites, today announced the launch of ideeli travel, its enhanced travel channel. Powered by Voyage Privé, the first and largest global private flash sale travel group, the new ideeli travel will connect members with over 100 monthly curated travel offers, all within a full-feature travel booking platform.
The new site will offer a wider selection of limited-time members-only travel offerings of up to 75% off public pricing. In addition to hotels and vacation packages across the U.S. and worldwide, the site will expand into new categories including cruises, tours, destination activities and flights.
ideeli members will enjoy:
• Real-time booking: Full-service booking experience and real-time availability. No coupons or vouchers: select your specific dates, length of stay and receive automated confirmation.
• More variety: Over 100 unique, edited travel experiences each month and a greater assortment of the best domestic and international destinations and travel offerings.
• Flexible refund/cancellation policy: including optional "cancel for any reason" travel insurance.
• Live agent support: Including pre- and post-sale phone support from a team of travel professionals.
• Travel editorial: Inspiration, tips and destination advice from the ideeli travel editors, including links to professional and consumer review sites.
• Authority and authenticity: The ideeli travel and Voyage Privé verified seal signifies that offers deliver on both value and standards.
"With this enhanced travel channel, our members will have even more opportunities to discover new destinations and experiences, with the added conveniences - like on-site booking - to make the shopping experience even easier," said Paul Hurley, CEO and Founder of ideeli.
New sales will launch every Tuesday through Friday and will be available for 5-7 days only on www.ideeli.com
The inaugural sale week offers include:
• Roundtrip business class airfare to Paris with or without 4-star hotel - up to 45% off.
• New York City boutique hotel - 55% savings at this trendy 4.5-star gem one block from Times Square.
• A Mediterranean summer cruise on Travel + Leisure's #1 small ship cruise line - at up to 34% off.
• Other destinations this week include top hotels, cruises and tours in Las Vegas, Mexico, Antigua, Hawaii, Italy, Greece, Phoenix, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Peru.
"We are proud to share our expertise in online travel booking and dedication to a high quality user experience with ideeli's members," said Gilles Talec, CEO of Voyage Privé US. "Our travel experts have mastered the art of sourcing the best selection of travel offerings from around the world, and we are confident that ideeli members will be able to easily find - and easily book - their dream vacation with the launch of ideeli travel."
To celebrate the new partnership and launch, ideeli is offering a $50 ideeli credit for all travel purchases of $300 or more made between now and July 5th, 2011.
To become a member of ideeli, please go to: www.ideeli.com/invite/ideelitravel
ideeli is a leading online flash sale site that delivers a fun and engaging daily shopping experience with a curated selection of offerings across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, shoes, kids, travel and experiences - all available at privileged prices. Each members-only sale starts at noon ET and lasts for a limited time. Launched in 2007 and headquartered in the Soho neighborhood of New York City, the company now has over 4 million members across the United States.
About Voyage Privé
Voyage Privé is the first and world's leading private online travel sale site, offering members exclusive travel packages up to 75% off. Voyage Privé works directly with luxury travel partners to bring the highest quality travel packages and best prices to over 6 million members worldwide.
Pressure Mounting for Taxes on E-tailJune 20, 2011
By David Moin and Joanna Ramey
Shopping the Internet tax-free may soon be a luxury of the past.
A string of states is pushing legislation to require online sellers to collect sales taxes, while the U.S. Congress also may enter the fray as soon as this month with a bill to do the same. The controversy surrounding the issue pits Internet-only retailers, and other so-called "remote sellers" like catalogue companies, against traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts, including those with e-commerce sites that typically are required to collect sales taxes in states in which they have stores.
The controversy often is misidentified as being focused on small Main Street retailers struggling against e-commerce behemoths. However, large multistate stores are on the side of small retailers in complaining that they are at a competitive disadvantage when consumers calculate the added cost of sales tax before shopping with tax-free, Internet-only Web sites.
"It's not surprising that states are trying to figure out how to generate additional tax revenue. You have to recognize that they have serious challenges in balancing their budgets. But it really pays to tread lightly here," said Paul Hurley, ceo of Ideeli. "It's supercomplicated. One of the dangers with legislating technical progress is it's very easy to stifle businesses that depend on technology and the Internet. For want of a little bit of tax revenue, you could stifle a whole industry....Interstate commerce is generally legislated by the federal government, and the right place to legislate this issue is at the federal level and even there, it's going to be complicated."
Sample This!June 20, 2011
By SHEILA McCLEAR
For the VIP shopper
* Sales start at: Noon, seven days a week
* Pros: Offering cute clothes at discounted prices, Ideeli is one of the most popular fashion sample-sale sites, with 4 million members.
Recently featured: Trendy shoes from Gwen Stefani's wildly popular L.A.M.B. line (priced at $199, down from $325). µ Cons: There's free return shipping, but for store credit only.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/fashion/sample_this_FXCjx6tg7GiS002bSroTBP#ixzz1TEZQ155Q
Good Housekeeping - Armchair Outlet ShoppingJune 1, 2011
Good Housekeeping highlights ideeli in Armchair Outlet Shopping feature.
June 2011 issue.
Flash sale sites spark billion-dollar industryMay 26, 2011
By Kiran Khalid
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Online retailers that offer luxury items at deep discounts have created a billion-dollar industry in a flash.
In 2007, as the economy tanked and the demand for luxury clothing and accessories dove south with it, a new market emerged online. An online retailer called Gilt Groupe started selling high-end merchandise on its members-only site and ignited a fuse that has exploded into one of the fastest growing trends online: flash sales.
Flash sales are limited-time sales featuring designer brands at bargain prices. Today, sites that offer flash sales to its members are growing quickly.
''We're moving in 36 hours what a retailer moves in two weeks," said Becky Wisdom, head of public relations for ideeli.com.
5 leading-edge flash sale sites
Ideeli.com is one of the four popular luxury discount sites that include Gilt Groupe, HauteLook and Rue La La, according to eMarketer.com. Just this month, online retail giant Amazon threw its hat into the ring by launching its own flash sale site called MyHabit.com.
The e-commerce phenomenon centers on a basic principle: Create exclusivity and demand by limiting what you sell and for how long.
5 Leading Flash Sale SitesMay 26, 2011
By Kiran Khalid
Ideeli.com launched in December of 2007. It is the fastest growing flash sale site having tripled its membership in less than a year. Like many other flash sale sites, ideeli.com is making a strong push into the lifestyle section. In May, it partnered with the world's biggest online travel sale site, Voyage Prive.
Ideeli's Travel PlansMay 11, 2011
IDEELI'S TRAVEL PLANS: Ideeli Inc., a flash sale site, and Voyage Privé, the largest private online travel sale site, on Wednesday announced an exclusive partnership to launch an upscale flash sale travel platform.
The two said the plan is for the new platform to be the largest of its kind, with curated travel offerings for ideeli's 4 million members.
The co-branded travel platform is expected to be available this summer, and events will feature hotel, cruise and travel packages.
Paul Hurley, chief executive officer and founder of ideeli, said, "Travel being a key component to our members' lifestyle, we were looking to expand our existing travel offerings and services," noting that Voyage Privé's global inventory, travel expertise and best-in-class customer service made it the partner of choice for ideeli.
Ideeli provides a curated selection of offerings that includes apparel, accessories, home, shoes, kids, travel and experiences at discounted prices for its members.
CEO Summit: Riding the New Tech WaveMay 9, 2011
By Jocelyn Anderson and Regina Smith Popp and Katie Abel and Kristen Henning
The New Ideeli
Flash sales have become an online phenomenon, but Ideeli is determined to set itself apart with unique editorial content and a bigger focus on footwear.
Company co-founder Paul Hurley acknowledged that the recession opened brands' minds to the opportunity to dispense with excess inventory through flash sales. But he suggested that isn't the only benefit.
"Because we have the right audience, we can help brands find an incremental customer in their target market, tell a longer brand story and even help them drive traffic to their core channels," Hurley said.
According to the exec, Ideeli was actually built as a marketing platform. "We want to listen to the customer and her wants and respond quickly," he said, adding that what she wants is content and commerce.
Hurley noted that Ideeli's more than 4 million members also seem to want more shoes. The company experienced nearly twofold footwear growth in the last 12 months, and on surveys, women have overwhelmingly requested more shoes, according to the co-founder. "More than half of our top [shoppers] are heavy shoe buyers, and half of that group bought eight or more pairs of shoes in the last year," he said.
The site also hopes to build its men's base over the next year. "We are methodical about getting a new audience, and more details about that are under way as we speak," Hurley said.
The TastemakersMay 2, 2011
How Generation Y is helping to save luxury brands
By Fiona Soltes
Color the Millennial Generation in Burberry plaid.
In the first quarter of 2011 alone, the British luxury brand added more than 600,000 "likes" to its Facebook page. At that rate, it'll reach 10 million by the middle of next year.
Respond with a shrug and you may encounter more than the disdain of your pals and their virtual "friends." If you are a luxury brand, you may also experience a slow decline. Digital channels are no longer just about looking up past loves and posting pictures of kids; following the lead of those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, they offer brands a way to connect, engage and build loyalty at the click of a button.
Combine that with the fact that the Millennials - also known as Generation Y - represent the largest consumer group in U.S. history, and luxury brands that "get it" have reason to perk up, experts say.
But not so fast. Millennials, as a whole, are making conscious choices with their cash. They're more interested in value than heritage and authenticity vs. tactical marketing that rings untrue. And watching the way they've influenced fashion, technology and even workplace attitudes in recent years, the outspoken, DIY, anything-is-possible generation will leave its mark on luxury, too.
"One thing I've found is that, if you look at the younger audience, it tends to be a harbinger of the entire audience," says Paul Hurley, CEO of flash sale site ideeli, which offers members-only access to luxury brands online. "What they do now, they will likely do when they're older. But what they're doing now gets communicated to other segments of the population, as well."
ideeli Fuels Hyper-Growth with $41 Million Series CApril 28, 2011
-Participants include Next World Capital and Cue Ball Capital-
NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 28, 2011) - ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the leading U.S. membersonly
flash sale retail company in the mass-affluent segment, today announced the completion of
its Series C financing of $41 million. Led by Next World Capital, the equity will be used to support
ideeli's continued rapid growth and brand expansion. Additional investors include Cue Ball
Capital and current shareholders, StarVest Partners, Constellation Growth Capital and Kodiak
With over 4 million members, ideeli is the fastest-growing members-only online shopping
company in the United States and has emerged as the leader in the highly desirable massaffluent
market. "We are thrilled to welcome Next World and Cue Ball to our team," said Paul
Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "Their respective deep expertise in retail and media is
essential for our next stage of growth."
Next World's managing partner and founder, Sebastien Lepinard, who joins ideeli's board of
directors, has nearly two decades in high-growth retail, e-commerce operations and financial
management. Previously, Lepinard was a director of the Halley Group, the lead investor in the
world's second largest retailer, Carrefour. Cue Ball's leadership team has driven transformations
in the digital media, information services, and specialty consumer spaces, and includes the CEO
and senior leadership that transformed Thomson into the world's largest information media
company, Thomson Reuters. The team brings extensive experience as founders, operators and
investors in high growth, Internet and consumer businesses.
"ideeli has built an organization with strong values and processes that satisfy brand partners
while growing sales at a very impressive rate; an incredible accomplishment" said Mr. Lepinard.
"Having longstanding experience in mass-retailing, we fully appreciate the power of ideeli's value
proposition to consumers: appealing products in a dynamic online environment while offering
The financing will enable ideeli to support its phenomenal growth trajectory through a variety of
new initiatives, including category expansions, partnerships, technology enhancements,
marketing campaigns, attracting key talent and enhancing the ideeli member experience.
"ideeli is exactly the type of business we like to invest in and support," said Tony Tjan, Managing
Partner, Cue Ball. "Their sound business model is characterized by deep customer loyalty and
tremendous market reach. We are proud to be an investor and are excited to be working with
Paul Hurley and his extraordinary team."
"StarVest's continued investment underscores our commitment to ideeli as they plan for this
exciting next chapter," added Laura Sachar, General Partner, StarVest Partners.
ideeli is a leading online retail site dedicated to delivering a unique, exciting daily shopping
experience with a curated selection of offerings across the apparel, accessories, home, shoes,
kids, travel and lifestyle categories. Each limited-time sale event offers privileged prices on the
best brands and experiences. Most sale events start at noon ET and last only 40 hours.
Launched in 2007 and headquartered in the Soho neighborhood of New York City, the company
now has over 4 million members across the United States. For more information visit:
About Next World Capital
Next World Capital (NWC) is an international venture capital and growth equity firm that invests in
leading consumer internet and enterprise software companies. NWC invests globally out of a
large evergreen capital base, and takes a long-term view to creating sustainable value. The firm
brings strategic insight and deep capital resources to help its portfolio companies grow into
market leaders. NWC has a longstanding, strong heritage in Europe and utilizes its acumen and
networks in both the U.S. and European markets to build value. NWC has offices in San
Francisco, CA and Brussels, Belgium. For more information visit: www.nextworldcap.com
About Cue Ball
Cue Ball is a Boston-based venture and early growth equity firm focused on information services,
internet commerce, digital media, and specialty consumer businesses. The Partnership consists
of the leaders previously behind transformations in those spaces, including the Founders of the
internet services firm ZEFER, the CEO and senior leadership that transformed Thomson into the
world's largest information media company, Thomson Reuters, and the lead investors behind
Chipotle and Redbox. In line with the firm's emphasis on human capital, Cue Ball's investor base
is The Cue Ball Collective, a brain trust of leading industry entrepreneurs, executives and
thought-leaders. Cue Ball's portfolio includes: Stylesight, 1-800 Dentist, Knovel, Shape Up The
Nation, MiniLuxe, and PlanetTran. For more information visit: www.cueball.com
About StarVest Partners
StarVest Partners is a New York-based venture capital firm with $400 million under management
that is funding technology-enabled business services companies throughout the United
States. The firm's value-added partnership maintains a laser focus on five key emerging
technology and services sectors: Software as a Service (SaaS), Internet Marketing Services,
eCommerce Services, Data Aggregation Services and Identity and Security
Management. StarVest combines a sophisticated investment background with the experience to
foresee opportunities for both its portfolio companies and funding partners. The firm's general
partners are Deborah A. Farrington, Laura B. Sachar, Jeanne M. Sullivan and Larry A.
Bettino. More information visit: www.starvestpartners.com
About Constellation Growth Capital
Constellation Growth Capital is a growth equity investor in the convergence of media,
communications and technology. Established in 1998 by Clifford Friedman, Constellation has
raised three funds with total investment assets of over $650 million. Constellation is a division of
Highbridge Principal Strategies, a division of Highbridge Capital Management. Together with its
affiliates, Highbridge manages approximately $25 billion. Highbridge is an alternative investment
management firm owned by JPMorgan Asset Management. For more information visit
About Kodiak Venture Partners
Kodiak Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm that thrives on forming
breakthrough market leading companies with talented teams and world class entrepreneurs.
Founded in late 1999, Kodiak manages three main funds totaling $681M and targets companies
in Eastern North America, focusing efforts in Boston, New York and Eastern Canada. The firm's
investment approach is to work as a close partner with strong entrepreneurs in all aspects of the
company's formation and growth. We view ourselves as an extension to the teams we work with.
For more information visit: www.kodiakvp.com
Flash-sales big ideeli feeling flu$hApril 28, 2011
By JAMES COVERT
"Flash sales" are attracting more than just wallet-conscious fashion addicts.
Ideeli.com -- a fast-growing online apparel merchant that specializes in brief, sharp discounts on designer fashions -- has won $41 million in financing as it gears up for a new leg of expansion, The Post has learned.
The cash infusion, which is coming from San Francisco-based Next World Capital and Cue Ball, a Boston-based private-equity firm, will fund new hires and infrastructure, as well as added inventory and merchandise categories, officials said.
New York-based ideeli hit 4 million customers last month and expects to log $250 million in sales this year, CEO Paul Hurley told The Post.
Nevertheless, ideeli has "much more room to grow," Hurley said. He sees the potential for the shopping site to generate $3 billion in US sales, citing the continued migration of clothing shoppers to the Internet, and consumers' increasing insistence on getting a bargain.
"Our partners don't see us as a mechanism to get rid of inventory," Hurley added, referring to the clothing labels that are sold at a discount on the company's site. Noting that ideeli's target shoppers boast six-figure household incomes, Hurley said the site is equipped to help fashion brands "find new customers."
At the same time, ideeli has shied away from the luxury market, whose dominant player in flash sales is Gilt Groupe.
The latter competitor "is on a different track, and they're in a more volatile market," said Sebastien Lepinard of Next World. While Gilt Groupe was a beneficiary of the financial crisis that resulted in mounds of unsold designer fashions, ideeli is targeting is "a much bigger market with a longer, more stable road ahead."
Instant GratificationApril 22, 2011
By Jenny B. Fine
Every day at noon, across America, calls go unreturned, meetings unscheduled. Millions of young women with high disposable incomes stop whatever they're doing to shop.
Flash-sale Web sites, members-only online sample sales, where everything from designer blouses to boutique hotels in Costa Rica are offered up at discounted prices for a limited amount of time.
Now almost five years old, the format has emerged from the ashes of the recession as a viable and thriving channel that is fundamentally altering the retail landscape and consumer behavior.
"The retail channel in general is slow growth," Hurley continues. "How are you going to post big growth? Online. We understand that just selling units isn't compelling. It's the measured marketing value that is compelling.
ABS by Allen Schwartz Sunglasses featured on ideeli May 7th 2011April 22, 2011
People Style Watch features ABS Schwartz Sunglasses available on ideeli May 7th 2011
ideeli sunglasses featured on NBC's TODAY SHOW with People Style WatchApril 21, 2011
Get the latest in eye-wear trends with Kate Dimmick of People Style Watch.
Prom looks to retro stylesApril 11, 2011
By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Forget fitting in. The teenage fashion parade that is prom is all about standing out.
Bright colors, bold prints, romantic ruffles and sassy sequins are among this year's hot prom fashion trends, say retailers popular among teens
Many dresses are exuding "a romantic feeling," with ladylike lace and ballerina-inspired silhouettes, while others play more to glam-rocker chic, said Marie Ivanoff, merchandise director for online shopping site ideeli.com. Strapless and one-shoulder bodices remain strong trends, and statement earrings are emerging as the choice for bold jewelry, Ivanoff said.
ideeli and Jamie Krell on NBC's TODAY SHOW - Trendy, retro styles that work for your ageApril 6, 2011
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle expert Jamie Krell talks about this spring's fashion trends in terms of which pieces will suit women from 20 to 60.
ideeli Expands Ready-to-Wear Category with Addition of Petite and Plus SizesApril 6, 2011
Shoppers spoke, ideeli listened; Online retailer to feature weekly special sizes sales
NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 6, 2011) - ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), a leading members-only online shopping site, today announced the launch of a new series of special sizes sale events. Developed in response to overwhelming feedback from the ideeli member community, the sales will kick off every Wednesday at noon ET (and 11am for First Row members), alternating between Plus Size Perfection and Petite Power.
"Many designers cap their collections at size 10, yet there is clearly demand for contemporary styles in fuller-figured sizes. The petite consumer also has her share of challenges when confronted with a lack of options in smaller sizes and the high cost of alterations," says Mary Harmon, group vice president at ideeli. "With special size apparel still underrepresented in retail - particularly in the popular flash sale category - we couldn't ignore the incredible response from members and we're excited to now offer a great selection of brands, styles and sizes on a consistent basis."
The conversation around special sizes first began with ideeli's followers on both Facebook and Twitter, where members began expressing a strong interest in seeing plus size options on the site. In response, the ideeli buyers worked with the social media team to gather members' suggestions for preferred brands and styles. In November 2010, the site hosted its inaugural Plus Size Perfection event, a multi-brand sale that included the very same brands requested by ideeli members. Member feedback will continue to be a valued component in the evolution of the series, with weekly sales featuring looks from over 100 brands including Suzi Chin, Tahari by Arthur S. Levine, CJ by Cookie Johnson and Donna Ricco.
The official launch of the special sizes series kicks off today with a Plus Size Perfection sale, followed by Petite Power on April 13th.
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has nearly 4 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids, travel and experiences. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
ideeli to Launch Plus Size and PetiteApril 6, 2011
By Danica Lo
ideeli to Launch Plus and Petite Great idea we love of the day: flash sale site ideeli is launching plus-size and petite sample sales starting today, with new brands launching every Wednesday. "Many designers cap their collections at size 10, yet there is clearly demand for contemporary styles in fuller-figured sizes. The petite consumer also has her share of challenges when confronted with a lack of options in smaller sizes and the high cost of alterations," Mary Harmon, group vice president at ideeli, said in a statement. "With special size apparel still underrepresented in retail - particularly in the popular flash sale category - we couldn't ignore the incredible response from members and we're excited to now offer a great selection of brands, styles and sizes on a consistent basis."
Getting in on the Ground Floor at Groupon and Living SocialApril 6, 2011
By Kelly Eggers
The daily deal business has grown rapidly in its relatively short lifespan. Along with venture backing has come hiring as companies rush to build revenue through sales.
Getting a job with a daily deal site, however, is no easy feat. The industry has attracted many applicants anxious to get in on the ground floor of something new that could one day make them rich. Successful job seekers need to have a thorough understanding of an industry with virtually no history as well as the tenacity to develop long-term relationships with customers.
We talked with hiring managers and executives with a few of the biggest sites in the daily-deal, preferred-pricing, and private flash-sale spaces to find out what stands out among the hundreds of job applications they receive every day. Here are a few of their suggestions:
Joel Greengrass, vice president of talent with ideeli, says the company values candidates who are a student of retail or e-commerce.
The New Lap of LuxuryMarch 22, 2011
Author: Mercedes M. Cardona, Contributing Writer, CMO.com
Scanning the crowd at a show during New York Fashion Week, it's hard to find many older fans. Even after factoring out the teen models on the runway, the average age in the room hovers around 30.
And that is where the future of luxury goods is headed, according to many experts. The Baby Boomer generation, which has ruled retail since coming of age decades ago, is passing into senior citizenship--its oldest members turn 65 this year--and without a sizeable portion of their wealth, courtesy of the financial meltdown. With little time before retirement to make up for their shortfall, the group has altered its shopping habits and is not likely to change back in the near future, said Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner in the retail practice of consultant A.T. Kearney in New York.
And with the growth of e-commerce, in particular, luxury brands now are more accessible, Barratt told CMO.com. While luxury marketers have always relied on imagery to tell their brands' stories, it now has to become a two-way conversation with customers, she said. Most luxury marketers have good CRM programs, so they can do more targeted marketing and personalized communications to address those customers, she said.
"Retailing is melding commerce, entertainment, games, social media, interaction, and community. All those things are coming together," said Paul Hurley, CEO of Ideeli, which launched in late 2007 and now has 3.5 million members. "This younger audience expects to have that."
He noted that Ideeli has extensive editorial content to engage shoppers and builds shopping events around pop culture properties--a key interest of Millennials--such as a highly successful tie-in with last year's release of the film "Sex & The City 2." The content is a way to engage a younger customer who wants to be the one to discover brands and is used to a much larger volume of information than can be included in print ads or fashion editorial, Hurley told CMO.com. "You open the average fashion magazine today and it's seven words about the item," he said.
Fab Sale Round-UpMarch 12, 2011
ideeli: See what's coming up on this members-only sale site:
3/12 - Cute and comfy activewear for kids by So Low (left), 3/16 - Adorable mini swimwear by Rhona Sutton and the Wii game console and accessories, 3/17 - Fun, educational toys by Young Learners and Calafant, as well as, cool children's accessories (backpacks, umbrellas, shoes) Kidorable, 3/18 - Stylish booties by Baby Deer
E-Tailers preen for OscarFebruary 25, 2011
By Allison Enright, Senior Editor
For a lot of viewers, the Academy Awards isn't really about movies-the night's real drama is all about the best- and worst-dressed celebrities, the necks draped with diamonds, the glow of all those stars making their way down the red carpet. With consumers in a fashion frame of mind, e-retailers are set to take advantage of the Oscar buzz with special sales and discounts, and with plans to tap into the conversations consumers are likely to have on social networks about dresses, shoes and all that bling.
"The Oscar coverage is starting even earlier this year," says Marie Ivanoff, vice president of merchandising at Ideeli.com, a flash-sale site. "It's becoming about the red carpets."
Ideeli.com launches its Red Carpet Style sale on Saturday. Promotional copy says the sale is designed to bring "the best big night style to you, with gowns and accessories designed to help you interpret your favorite red carpet trend." Ideeli's Ivanoff says the e-retailer purposely selected items based on red-carpet fashions from award shows earlier this year, such as the Golden Globes. The sale, which runs through Tuesday, features items priced from $10 for jewelry items to $2,200 for a designer evening gown. Ivanoff says the price of the evening gown is at the higher end of what the site normally features but that she thinks Oscar-primed customers will be open to buying it.
"It's gorgeous and it's for our aspirational customers who might want to break the bank that day," she says. "The Oscars is the perfect occasion for that."
Getting Creative at Fashion Week: ideeli's Flash Sale/Runway Show SynergyFebruary 10, 2011
By Lydia Dishman
Here's something you don't see every day: a flash-sale retailer cozying up to a fashion show. But that's exactly what ideeli, the popular high-speed purveyor of high style (without the high price) is doing with its sponsorship of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) in NYC. I know what you're thinking: aren't flash sales supposed to shill last season's threads? Yes, but I had an exchange with ideeli's CEO Paul Hurley who tells me they've come up with an elegant way to tie the two together.
First (for those of you who don't shop), here's what you need to know about the company. ideeli burst onto the e-commerce scene four years ago and managed to snag an impressive amount of investment. It scored $3.8 million in capital from Kodiak Ventures in 2007 and raised another $20 million two years later.
One little retailer and how it grew
No doubt investors looked favorably on the retailer's growth. Hurley tells me that in the last 12 months, membership more than tripled and site visits were up more than 150 percent. For perspective, TechCrunch reported the site hit one million members and was on track to do $50 million in revenue in 2009, but Hurley expected that to increase to $175 million in revenue last year.
Hurley says hooking up with Fashion Week will help ideeli establish new relationships with designers and strengthen its existing designer/brand relations as well as give its nearly 4 million members virtual access to Lincoln Center. While ideeli's buying team takes in the shows, Hurley says its members will get "their own front row experience by shopping ideeli's curated Fashion Week designer sales, following moment-by-moment runway updates on Twitter (@ideeli) and participating in special MBFW features and events on Facebook."
Though it will take a good five months before the runway collections will be available at retail, ideeli's assortment will be taken from existing designer collections. Hurley notes:
Each sale event will be timed to go live on the same day the designers are showing at Lincoln Center. By featuring must-have looks and favorite picks from both existing and past collections, members will have immediate - and affordable - access to such featured designers as Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, ADAM, Adrienne Vittadini and more.
Of course, the end goal is to maximize sales but Hurley says he's got his eye on two prizes:
First and foremost, to provide a fun and engaging way for our members to experience fashion week. Second, to reinforce to our brand partners ideeli's commitment to being a powerful and creative retail partner in the fashion industry.
ideeli Returns to Mercedes-Benz Fashion WeekFebruary 9, 2011
Official Sponsor Brings 3.8 Million Shoppers into the Fashion Fold with Eight Days of Special Sales, Guest Bloggers, Live Runway Coverage, and More
NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 9, 2011) - ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest-growing members-only online shopping site in the U.S., today announced details of its sponsorship program for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2011 collections. As an official sponsor, ideeli will bring the excitement of the runway to the site's nearly four million shoppers with a series of curated MBFW designer sales, editorial coverage and promotions. The two-year partnership began with the S/S 2011 shows and continues through the F/W 2013 shows in February of 2012.
"As an official sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, ideeli will again create a unique and relevant online experience for an audience of nearly four million shoppers who will be logging in daily to follow along - whether by reading the latest updates from the runways, joining in heated style debates on Facebook, or shopping must-have looks from the day's featured designers," said Paul Hurley, CEO of ideeli.
Online activities kick off on Thursday February 10th and include:
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Featured Designer Series
• Daily sales curated by the ideeli editors and featuring select picks from the very same designers showing throughout fashion week, including Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, Adam, Adrienne Vittadini and more.
• Each event will be timed to go live on the same day the designers are showing at Lincoln Center, and will feature looks you can buy and wear now or add to your wardrobe for seasons to come.
• The sales go live at 11am each day (for First Row members, at noon for everyone else) and will last up to 40 hours or until sold out.
MBFW Featured Designer Schedule includes:
o Thursday, Feb. 10th - Tadashi Shoji
o Friday, Feb. 11th - Perry Ellis; Nicole Miller
o Saturday, Feb. 12th - ADAM
o Sunday, Feb. 13th - Custo Barcelona; Tommy Hilfiger
o Monday, Feb. 14th - Betsey Johnson
o Tuesday, Feb. 15th - Badgley Mischka
o Wednesday, Feb. 16th - Adrienne Vittadini
o Thursday, Feb. 17th - L.A.M.B
Editorial Coverage and Social Media
• My First Fashion Week: the second installment of "My First Fashion Week," ideeli's editorial series that spotlights a first-time Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week guest correspondent. This season, followers will view the shows through the eyes of ideeli's own fearless Assistant Editor, Carmen Villafane.
• Live Coverage: moment-by-moment updates on Twitter (@ideeli) and special MBFW features on Facebook - from trend reports to what the MBFW glitterati are wearing to getting your take on looks from the shows.
• The Beauty Beat: ideeli welcomes back Felicia Walker Benson-an expert blogger (ThisThatBeauty.com) and pro make-up artist who has frequently worked her magic backstage at the shows to deliver the beauty 411 as a guest blogger and during a 3-hour Facebook chat on February 17th.
Design Dreams Giveaway
On February 12th ideeli will host a "Design Dreams" giveaway. Created for today's aspiring fashion designer, the package includes everything needed to get inspired - including classic fashion tomes Chanel and Her World and Avedon Fashion, a Brother Stitch USB Sewing Machine (and all of the accouterments), Chartpak pastel markers, a Strathmore sketchbook, and more! In addition, the giveaway will include a one-of -a-kind illustration by former Ralph Lauren designer, Audrey Schilt.
All themed sales and promotions during the eight days of runway shows will be happening exclusively on ideeli.com; on Twitter @ideeli and Facebook www.facebook.com/ideeli
To join ideeli, visit www.ideeli.com and use invite code "MBFW".
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 3.8 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off. In 2010 the company introduced ideelACCESS, offering members irresistible deals on the best things to do, eat and see both online and in select cities nationwide.
ideeli Ups Fashion Profile By Sponsoring Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Hosting 8 Days Worth of New York Designer DealsFebruary 8, 2011
Ideeli launched back in 2007, and this is the second season the flash sales site is officially sponsoring Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Along with a slew of guest contributors adding fashion-centric editorial content to the e-commerce platform, Ideeli will also host a "Design Dreams" giveaway on February 12. The package includes everything an aspiring designer needs to sew his or her first piece: sewing machine, sketch pads, sewing class, and more.
But clearly it's the deals we're most excited about. In honor of the week, Ideeli is hosting eight sales featuring designers showing in the tents. (These aren't looks straight off the runway, but classics from previous collections.) Here's the schedule:
Tadashi Shoji: February 10
Perry Ellis: February 11
Nicole Miller: February 11
ADAM: Feburary 12
Custo Barcelona: February 13
Betsey Johnson: February 14
Badgely Miischka: February 15
Adrienne Vittadini: February 16
L.A.M.B.: February 17
All Ideeli sales start at 11am EST for First Row members (you know if you're one), noon EST for everyone else. Not a member? Sign up here.
Financial 411February 8, 2011
Digital Media, Web Companies Report Growth
As the economy recovers and consumers begin to feel a bit better about spending money, one beneficiary has been digital media and web-based businesses.
ComScore, which analyzes and measures digital use, reports e-commerce increased more than nine percent in 2010 compared to the previous year, growing to more than $227 billion in sales.
ComScore's Chairman Gian Fulgoni talks about the trend, and where the increases sales are coming from:
Q: Beyond some of the headline numbers in your report what trend really stands for you when you look at online usage?
A: We have hit on a few of the key ones - the growth in e commerce this past year was very encouraging. It turned out to be at least twice the size of the growth in offline sales. So clearly people are shifting a lot of their buying to the internet. Social networking, as you mentioned, has become the norm - on a global basis Facebook is a clear leader in that regard.
We have seen the emergence of some very interesting new e commerce related sites; Groupon would be one, which has come out of nowhere. If you look at its growth in the past twelve months - it's gone up to about 11 million visitors in December of 2010 - up 700% versus a year ago.
And then we have the emergence of the so called Flash Sites - flash sale sites - Gilt, Hautelook, Ideeli and Rue La La are showing really spectacular growth rates versus a year ago.
New ways of passing on promotions to the consumer and new ways of incenting the consumer are the key.
Q: Gian, why do you think online sales are increasing faster than brick and mortar sales?
A: Well, I think it is a couple of things: Certainly the convenience of the internet is a primary driver, but the other would have to be the lower prices that are generally available online. Obviously, you don't pay taxes buying from the online retailers.
Q: And can you tell how much is coming from Smartphone users browsing the web? Are people buying with their phones?
A: No, that's not really a factor at all as of yet. It is certainly expected to grow, but buying from a phone is very small component of the total - maybe no more than a couple of percentages. But, where the Smartphone especially is really beginning to play a role is in providing the consumer in a very fast and convenient way of comparing prices and comparing product features.
So, a scenario that is a little scary I think for the retailers with physical stores is - imagine a consumer comes into the store so the retailer thinks "well, that's a customer" and the next thing you know the consumer is checking or scanning the bar code on the product or typing in the product description - connecting to the internet - and then making the sale. Competitive pricing - which could either pull them to another store just down the road or pull them onto the internet.
So, even the physical retailers with people in their stores are facing the internet as competition and that is a very important trend to keep track of here as we go forward.
ideeli and Katrina Szish on LX TV - How to Wear Emerald Green like the StarsFebruary 4, 2011
Could green be the new black? See our Lifestyle broadcast spokesperson and style expert, Katrina Szish, on LX TV as she finds affordable emerald green dresses inspired by recent celebrity looks.
ideeli and Katrina Szish on LX TV - New Year's Eve LooksDecember 23, 2010
ideeli's Katrina Szish on Yahoo Shine - Last Minute GiftsDecember 22, 2010
Getting something for everyone, sticking to your budget and having fun at the same time can be a challenge so we enlisted the help of Katrina Szish, Lifestyle contributor for ideeli.com.
ideeli Expands Local Daily Deals to West CoastDecember 14, 2010
ideelACCESS Launches in San Francisco and Los Angeles
NEW YORK, Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest-growing, members-only online shopping site in the United States, today announced the expansion of ideelACCESS daily deals into San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to ongoing national and New York City daily deals, ideelACCESS local experiences and services will now be available to ideeli members in these major metro areas.
"The success of ideelACCESS both nationally and in New York City tells us that our members are excited to take advantage of irresistible deals that go beyond the ideeli site and into their neighborhoods," says Paul Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "With 3.5 million members across the U.S., we're happy to now bring ideelACCESS into additional local markets."
ideelACCESS local offers are curated to showcase the best of each city's services and destinations – from the hottest restaurant to the most luxurious spa – all at privileged prices. Each sale event runs 72 hours or until supply runs out.
This week's ideelACCESS local launch sales include offers from Fusion Hair salon and Drago Centro restaurant in Los Angeles; in San Francisco, boxing classes at Polk Street Gym and a wine tasting package at the Winery Collective.
ideeli will continue to roll out local extensions of the program in major U.S. markets in early 2011.
ideeli, Inc. is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has 3.5 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off. In 2010 the company introduced ideelACCESS, offering members irresistible deals on the best things to do, eat and see both online and in select cities nationwide.
For more information, please visit www.ideeli.com
Flash-Sales Sites Light Up EcommerceDecember 7, 2010
Not just for luxury goods anymore
Members-only flash sales, structured around limited time and availability of merchandise, grew out of the recession and have continued to flourish over the past three years.
The four leading flash-sales sites HauteLook, ideeli, Gilt Groupe and Rue La La are predicted to generate $900 million in revenues in 2010 and double the number of visits to the category over the previous year, said Krista Garcia, eMarketer research analyst and author of the new report Flash Sales: What Retailers Need to Know. Multichannel retailers are also starting to adopt flash-sales techniques, but first they need to understand the consumer and how to make scarcity and exclusivity work for them.
Members Only Online sample sites are suddenly hot, but can it last?December 1, 2010
By: Kate O'Sullivan and Leah Tedesco
"It's the hottest channel in retail," says Bob Ross, finance chief at Ideeli, which is based in New York. "I think that the thought of walking into a bricks-and-mortar store to sift through the mounds of stock that are out there is somewhat discouraging to shoppers. But we combine traditional retail products with social media and membership, and there's a real diversity to the offering." Designers also appreciate the ability to offload overstock and last season's goods via a channel that is more discreet and high-end than a traditional off-price outlet, he says."
See full article>>>
'Tis the Season for Holiday LBDsNovember 30, 2010
Sara Gore and Katrina Szish shopped the ideeli closet for the perfect little black dress for the holiday season.
'Flash sales' online lead fashion out of dark timeNovember 22, 2010
Traditional retailers get in on the 'Act Now' game
Flash Sale Sites Offer Great Deals... with a DeadlineNovember 16, 2010
Flash sale websites, like Gilt.com, ideeli and Rue La La, offer up deep discounts on items you thought you could never afford before.
ideeli Announces New Holiday ProgramNovember 12, 2010
Flash Sale Site Offers Easy Holiday Shopping with Themed Sales, Extended Return Policies, Launch of the ideeli Gift Card
NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest-growing, members-only online shopping site in the United States, today announced details of its 2010 holiday program. Beginning today, ideeli will be rolling out the red holiday carpet for its 3.3 million members, offering an unprecedented seasonal lineup of themed sales and gift-friendly features that will turn the popular flash sale site into a go-to holiday shopping destination.
ideeli's Holiday Program Highlights Include:
- Themed sales: curated collections of seasonal and gift-friendly deals, including "Holiday Fashion Essentials," "Gifts for the Gourmet," and the "National Tree Sale"
- The ideeli Gift Card: launching November 30th
- Daily "It Gift" : a featured daily gift pick , as selected by the ideeli editorial team
- Personalized gift messaging
- The ideeli Holiday Promise: guaranteed delivery by 12/23 and site-wide extended return windows
- The O Shop: ideeli's featured selections from the December issue of O: The Oprah Magazine
- ideelACCESS Last Minute Gifts: a special holiday series of downloadable vouchers for one-of-a-kind experiences and destinations
- Seven Days of Black Friday : ideeli kicks off a week of incredible deals (begins Monday November 22nd)
- Designer Monday: a one-day sale of not-to-be-missed designer offers (November 29th)
- ideelCAUSE Event: in partnership with Artisanal Cheese, a sale to benefit the Robin Hood Foundation (November 25th)
"ideeli is committed to making the holidays easier by offering a shopping experience that is fun, engaging and of course built around a core commitment to providing authentic value," says Paul Hurley, ideeli CEO and founder. "Whether looking for the perfect cocktail dress, a warm-weather getaway, or a last-minute gift, our members will be delighted with a lineup of events and offerings that cover the entire spectrum of holiday life."
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 3.3 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
For more information, please visit www.ideeli.com.
W Film Debuts... Net-a-porter Names U.S. Editor...November 9, 2010
"Elsewhere, Katrina Szish will join ideeli.com, a members-only online shopping site in the U.S., as a fashion and lifestyle contributor. Szish is currently the style contributor for CBS News’ “The Early Show” and a correspondent for TBS’s “Movie & a Makeover.” A former editor of Vogue’s Index, Szish will work with Ideeli’s style and editorial teams to highlight the holiday season’s key lifestyle, fashion and beauty trends. She’ll also serve as the company’s primary broadcast spokeswoman. — Lisa Lockwood"
ideeli Names Katrina Szish Fashion and Lifestyle ContributorNovember 8, 2010
Acclaimed Style Expert to Play Key Role in Site's Broadcast and Editorial Holiday Campaign
NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest-growing, members-only online shopping site in the United States, today announced that Katrina Szish will join the company this holiday season as a fashion and lifestyle contributor. Szish, a highly regarded and sought-after authority on lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, and beauty trends, is currently the style contributor for CBS News' "The Early Show," a correspondent for TBS' "Movie & A Makeover" and a regular guest on "The View," HLN's "Showbiz Tonight" and VH-1. In addition, she is editor-in-chief of the online fashion magazine, PinkMemo.com.
In this new role, Szish will work closely with the company's style and editorial teams to break down and demystify this holiday season's most important lifestyle, fashion, and beauty trends for ideeli's members, and serve as the company's primary broadcast spokesperson.
"As a fashion industry insider who understands today's consumer, Katrina will play an important role in providing our members with the best ideas for getting the most out of their holiday shopping experience," says Paul Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "We feel confident that she will be a great addition to the team during this exciting time."
"The holiday season can be both thrilling and stressful for shoppers as they navigate a crowded and confusing retail landscape," says Katrina Szish. "ideeli already has built a reputation for providing members with a fun, friendly and relevant shopping experience. The holiday lineup will offer even more opportunities for the stylish and financially-savvy, and I look forward to contributing my own expertise to help eliminate the stress and focus on the thrill."
About Katrina Szish
After graduating from Harvard University with honors and completing an internship with CNN's "Style with Elsa Klensch" in New York City, Katrina landed at VOGUE, where she penned monthly trend columns and edited Vogue's Index. After leaving VOGUE she went on to occupy senior positions at GQ, US WEEKLY and INSTYLE magazines. Additionally, Szish served as anchor for ABC News Now and ABC News on MTV-U and as a columnist for ABCNews.com. She was also a freelance correspondent and writer for CNN.com and a contributor on "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and E!'s "The Daily 10" and "Fashion Police." Szish has covered fashion week internationally for print, broadcast, and online media since 1996, and she has covered the red carpet at the Oscars, Emmys and The Golden Globes since 2004.
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 3.2 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
For more information, please visit www.ideeli.com
SOURCE ideeli, Inc.
Strong Holiday Sales Ahead?November 4, 2010
US retailers report same-store sales on Thursday. Paul Hurley, CEO of Ideeli.com told CNBC he was confident holiday sales would be strong.
Flash Sale Frenzy ContinuesNovember 1, 2010
"Ideeli.com, which launched in June 2007, also continues to expand its following, with a membership of more than 3 million.
The site recently rolled out new features, such as the “The ‘O’ Shop,” a tab that stocks items only offered on the Oprah Winfrey show. Ideeli also recently entered travel and men’s, while women’s footwear continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories (including a wide range of brands, such as Steve Madden and Fergie), according to Tamara Rosenthal, director of brand marketing.
“It’s really about relevance. You have to come up with compelling offers that mean something to your membership base,” said Rosenthal. “We will continue to strive for that as we launch new categories.”
Competitor Hautelook.com (which debuted in December 2007), is adding to its category offerings, including footwear, the most requested item on the site, said GMM Arthur Lewis. Currently, Donald J Pliner, Elizabeth & James and Diesel are all standout brands, he said.
“We’re evolving the way the consumer actually shops,” said Lewis. “We’re building the right partnerships and [expanding] the right categories to keep the consumer excited. It’s just the beginning and it’s going to get bigger.”
How Online Private Sales Work and How Businesses Can Get InvolvedOctober 31, 2010
"While the online retail concept has been around for almost two decades, the desperation of the recession left luxury brands saddled with unsold merchandise. Thus, private sale sites offing goods at cut-rate prices began popping up.
It’s not a new concept — think of members-only big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco that have been around for decades. A large membership base, exceptional buying power, low overhead costs and buying in bulk have enabled these companies to offer their members deeply discounted prices.
Now, that same concept has been adopted online — members join or are invited to websites that offer private sales with great prices on everything from designer clothes, to furniture, to kitchen supplies, restaurant deals, and flight, hotel and vacation packages. Most memberships are free, but some sites, like Ideeli, offer paid VIP membership that affords members early access to sales. In the world of private sales, it’s first come, first serve, so having a head start over most people can really help. But how do these sites work? And how do they turn a profit selling a $500 dress for $150?"
ideeli Announces ideelACCESS with Daily Local Deals and new Travel Tuesdays!!October 27, 2010
"ideeli happens to be one of my favorite daily addictions, as well as the fastest growing online members-only shopping sites in the U.S. I can’t tell you how many amazing deals I have received on designer jeans, shoes, tops, and so much more. "
ideeli launches its first local coupon offer in New York CityOctober 26, 2010
The flash-sale fashion site plans to expand the deals to two more cities this year.
By: Allison Enright
Ideeli, a flash-sale fashion site, has begun offering discount coupons for products and services in New York City. New York is the first local version of ideelAccess, a coupon program for national advertisers the company launched this summer. Ideeli, which has 3.1 million members, says it intends to have local group-buying deals live in two more cities by the end of the year.
The coupons offer deals that fit the lifestyles of Ideeli members, says Tamara Rosenthal, executive director of brand marketing at ideeli. “These are places where they can wear the cashmere sweater they just bought,” she says. Coupon deals run for 40 hours, the same time frame as ideeli’s fashion sales. An early offer for the New York market is for 57% off services at a hair salon.
Also in October, the company launched The O Shop, a section of the ideeli site that sells products featured in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. “The idea is to feature O editors’ favorite items from each issue for sale. This follows our strategy of bringing uniquely relevant and curated content to our members,” Rosenthal says. Unlike products featured in its flash sales, the products featured in The O Shop are not deeply discounted and are available for several weeks.
ideelACCESS Launches in New York CityOctober 19, 2010
National Social Commerce Platform Goes Local; Announces Plans to Roll Out Daily Deals in Cities Nationwide
NEW YORK, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest-growing, members-only online shopping site in the United States, today announced the first local extension of its social commerce platform, ideelACCESS. The launch of ideelACCESS in New York City marks the beginning of the program's expansion into major cities across the U.S., with additional markets to be announced before the end of the year.
In addition to national deals, ideelACCESS will now offer the site's 3.1 million members a wide variety of experiences and services in major metropolises, beginning with an exciting launch week line-up in New York City that showcases the best of the Big Apple – from a favorite brunch spot to a buzzed-about spa – all at privileged prices. With handpicked offers that are curated with the ideeli member in mind, ideelACCESS deals will be made available at www.ideeli.com.
"Following the successful launch of our national social commerce web platform earlier this year, we are excited to localize ideelACCESS and offer unique, neighborhood experiences to our members," says Paul Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "We expect these deals will appeal not only to our existing New York City based members, but also to the millions who intend to visit."
Like other social commerce sites, ideelACCESS harnesses the power of group buying, requiring a minimum number of sales to activate the deal. Launch week will include offers at Manhattan favorites such as Exhale Spa, Ovando florist, Bistro Bagatelle, Jami Saunders Photography and Shop Gotham shopping tours.
To celebrate the New York launch, ideeli will offer one member the chance to win an ideelACCESS "Own the City" giveaway package that includes a stay at the James Hotel in Soho, tickets to a Broadway show and the Museum of Modern Art, haircut and color at Warren Tricomi Salon, dinner at the Juliet Supper Club and a Shop Gotham shopping tour. In addition, ideeli is hosting a week long "NYC Trivia" giveaway promotion on Facebook where each day, members will have a chance to win the day's ideelACCESS deal.
ideeli, Inc. is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 3.1 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
For more information, please visit www.ideeli.com.
Online Retailer Ideeli ExpandingSeptember 30, 2010
Few Retailers Are Bagging Social Commerce OpportunitiesSeptember 28, 2010
By: John Egan
"Market research firm Interpret LLC found that 22 of the top 25 online retailers offer some form of a “flash” sale on their websites, with a limited-quantity item made available for a short time at a deep discount. Yet those same retailers have yet to carry out discounting strategies like those pioneered by social commerce sites such as Groupon, Gilt and ideeli, Interpret said."
The 22 Most Valuable New York City StartupsSeptember 23, 2010
By: Nick Saint
The Digital 100: The World's Most Valuable StartupsSeptember 23, 2010
ideeli Launches Travel TuesdaysSeptember 21, 2010
Fastest Growing Members-Only Shopping Site Announces Exclusive Weekly Travel Offers; Key Executives to Lead Initiative
NEW YORK, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest growing members-only online shopping site in the U.S., today announced the introduction of a dedicated travel category to its growing e-commerce platform, as well as the addition of two high-profile travel executives, Peter Manice, director of travel and experiences, and Andrew Bradick, executive producer, to spearhead the new initiative.
In addition to the site's offerings across the categories of apparel, home and kids, ideeli will now bring to its nearly 3 million members a selection of curated weekly travel offers at privileged prices of between 30% and 60% off. With a focus on exclusive pricing at luxury and boutique properties worldwide, ideeli will augment these travel experiences by including members-only perks such as complimentary room upgrades, spa and restaurant credits, and other amenity packages. New travel offers will be featured every Tuesday, and each sale will run for up to six days or until sold out.
"Travel is an essential component of our members' 'ideel' lifestyle," says Paul Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "We are excited to now offer such carefully vetted and editorially-driven travel experiences on a regular basis. "
Leading the travel team is Peter Manice, part of the founding team at Jetsetter, the private travel site, where he most recently served as director of partner management and operations. Prior to his time at Jetsetter, Manice served in a number of roles across the travel industry, with marketing and revenue management positions at such companies as American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Hilton Hotel Group. Working closely with Manice is Andrew Bradick, a former publisher at Travelzoo.com and director of travel deals publishing at Sherman's Travel. As Executive Producer of travel, Bradick will lead the editorial vision and production of all travel content at ideeli.
"We've developed travel products that not only offer value and excitement for our members, but also a series of effective solutions for the travel industry," said Manice. "By utilizing our many tools for member engagement – from flash sales to giveaways to group buy events – travel suppliers can deliver brand-friendly content and drive traffic to their core channels, all while generating incremental booking activity from our audience of nearly 3 million engaged and affluent members."
Examples of past and current travel offerings on ideeli include:
- A group-buy deal on ideelACCESS: $50 for a $100 credit toward any of the 600+ properties in the Mr. and Mrs. Smith luxury hotel network.
- Exclusive packages to Lake Austin Spa (Texas), The Venetian (Las Vegas) and Cabo Azul (Mexico).
- Giveaway to a 4-night stay at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, a 5-star star property in Playa del Carmen valued at up to $4500.
To celebrate the launch, ideeli is hosting a "Putter's Paradise Giveaway" that includes a 2-night stay at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort a, 5-star oceanfront hotel and spa.
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 2.9 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of women's and men's apparel, accessories, home, beauty, travel and kids. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
SOURCE ideeli, Inc.
Luxury.comSeptember 18, 2010
By Jay Palmer
They were late to the Internet, but brands like Ralph Lauren, Hermès and Tiffany are now making a real splash with their Websites. Some winning features: Live fashion shows, edgy blogs and Q&As with trendsetters. Oh, and nice merchandise. We rank the 10 best sites and window shop at upstarts like ideeli and Gilt.
THE BIGGEST INNOVATION in online luxury retailing is the development of start-ups such as Gilt, Ideeli, HauteLook, Swirl and scores more. They sell designer clothing and shoes, electronic gadgets, home furniture and furnishings, tableware and luxury vacations, including accommodations at resorts and plush city-center hotels. The prices are often fantastic and on one, Rent The Runway, you not only can buy clothing but rent it for short periods.
These start-ups have been attracting big-money investors and may eventually go public. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture-capital firm that backed Google and Amazon, has put money into One Kings Lane, a site selling home decor. Gilt Groupe got its start with $55 million from Matrix Partners.
"Luxury online is open to a potentially bigger audience than luxury brick-and-mortar stores," says Paul Hurley, CEO of Ideeli. "You can reach everyone everywhere who has a computer, including those who are maybe not especially rich, but in this particular case want to buy luxury. Everything is super-convenient, and this is an entirely new retail channel that is in my view ideal for luxury goods."
The new sites are offering far more than clothing. Last week, Gilt Groupe's Jetsetter subsidiary was selling a South African tour ($5,800), a plush Jamaican resort ($180 a night) and the Berlin Grand Hyatt ($180 a night). The only real drawback: Nearly all sales are nonrefundable.
The major brands and retailers are making some clear progress on their own Websites. Just look at the 10 in our ranking on this page. As the sites work to perfect their presentations—from the background music to the blogs about luxe living and tools for zooming in on merchandise—they are sure to attract and keep more shoppers. With a little more competition from the likes of Gilt and Ideeli, they may even start trimming their prices.
In the discriminating world of luxury, the Internet might yet become the most luxurious place to shop.
But What Can You Do To Get Me New Customers?September 13, 2010
I talk a lot about using real-time bidding with behavioral targeting data to make display advertising work for travel marketers. While this approach is a great place to start to drive profitability in display, I'm reminded of a question asked at a Fixing Advertising event I hosted earlier this year -- asked by a former airline executive.
"But what can you do to get me new customers?"
Great question. With all the discussion around behavioral targeting (and its privacy implications), have we forgotten that most of us are here primarily to bring new customers into our pipeline? Lest we have, I'll devote the remainder of today's column to a couple ways travel advertisers are utilizing technology to generate new customers.
Flash Sales & Group Buying
I love flash sales and group buying (à la Groupon, LivingSocial, Ideeli, et al.) for one big reason: their entire raison d'être is to get people who have never bought from an advertiser to try them out with an offer they can't refuse. While we try to figure out ways to show someone a banner ad that somehow will convince them to buy in (and future columns will explore just how), flash sales such as last week's Virgin America / Loopt two-for-one deal on tickets to Mexico are giving consumers the equivalent of hundreds of dollars in discounts to convince them to try something new. It's no wonder this deal was the fifth-largest sales day in Virgin history.
A word to the wise: expect cost per acquisition to be very, very high in this channel. But, a lot of these deals occur only when a minimum amount of people commit to them, providing advertisers a volume guarantee to offset the high CPA. And, of course, smart marketers consider the total customer lifetime value when evaluating CPA, especially when generating new customers.
Social Media Advertising
This channel isn't there yet -- but watch. I've said here before that all the ill-fated Facebook Beacon had to do was to give users a reason to allow their online purchases to be broadcast to their friends -- 10% cash back, for instance. Nevertheless, social media advertising is evolving. Zynga has got it nailed -- think of how many FarmVille users joined because they saw a post about a friend's farm in their news feed?
It's word-of-mouth on steroids, and travel advertising is clearly well positioned to take advantage of this channel. Plenty of travelers choose their destination based on recommendations from friends, and social media is the perfect conduit for these recommendations. My guess is services like TripIt that already broadcast travel plans in Facebook news feeds are going to switch on deals that relate to those destinations: "Paul is planning a trip to London. You can, too, for as low as $599."
It Shouldn't Be an Ad
What I love about these two approaches is that they get consumers' attention by giving them a truly relevant value proposition instead of something that looks like an ad. As display advertising evolves to do the same, I'd expect to see more of "what's in it for the consumer?" during campaign planning. When we start there, we can't go wrong.
Fashion week replaces sponsor clutter with strategySeptember 10, 2010By: Alexandra BruellAt the height of the recession, designers were all about the creative, and oftentimes more affordable, alternative presentations and show-less digital promotions. Now, 2010 spring Fashion Week has arrived at the new Lincoln Center location, and while the aforementioned promotional tools are still in play, designers and sponsors are investing in longer, more meaningful collaborations.
In the past, online discount retailer ideeli has found success in sponsoring individual designers, so it decided to “take a bigger presence and investment” with an official Fashion Week sponsorship and online promotional campaign, explained Christopher West, VP of business development at ideeli.
The outlet is hosting feature sales for various designers on the days of their shows and presentations. It will also capture and push out runway content, as well as background information and visuals on collection inspirations, via the site and other social media platforms. The program also includes an editorial series called “My First Fashion Week,” for which it's partnering with blogger Noel Duan as well as bringing on a “first-time” correspondent.
“Things on the runway don't end up in stores for six months,” he said. “We're able to capture content of fashion events and deliver it immediately, via the power of the Internet and social networking.”
Of the timing for this season, he added, “Everyone's looking for a success story right now. The move to Lincoln Center is a link that enhances the event itself.”
Long-term, though, it's all about “creating dialogue about the fashion community” and establishing credibility amongst its consumers.
For the sponsors, it's about maximizing the ROI of the high-profile event. And for the designer, it's about staying top of mind amongst fashion-hungry consumers until the actual looks they're seeing online and in shows are available months later.
Peter Levy, SVP and MD for IMG Fashion Worldwide, explained that like ideeli's program, 90% of which is online, “technology allows the experience and the story about what's happening in fashion to come together in a way that it never did before.”
He added that technology aside, sponsors need to associate their brands with designers in relevant ways that “don't live and die in eight days.”
“There are only so many times we can carve out a time and place for a sponsor to own that,” he said.
For example, instead of doing its expected backstage lounge, W Hotels is underwriting a number of exhibits in the new Lincoln Center presentation venue and working with a few of them on longer-term programs.
In a similar approach, Fiji, the main water sponsor that returned to the event after a five-year departure, partnered with designers Charlotte Ronson and Christian Siriano to create looks inspired by the Fiji bottle.
Like ideeli, the brand had partnered with designers outside of Fashion Week and wanted to leverage the Lincoln Center buzz with an official sponsorship.
“It's a huge event, and we need to find ways to stand out,” said Amber Eyerly, manager of corporate communications at Fiji. “I also think that a lot of brands are doing things to extend the life of their sponsorship beyond what they're doing in the tents.”
Paul Wilmot, president of Paul Wilmot Communications, noted that this season he's noticing fewer visible promotional stories and sponsorship deals that “don't make sense” for the brands. As with his Payless and Christian Siriano clients, for whom he's inked an ongoing Fashion Week partnership with in-store capsule collections and online promotions, he explained that the collaborations are more strategic and long-term
“They keep honing it and get better at doing it,” he said. “There's an opportunity to re-promote [the designer-sponsor collaboration] and they can link what they've done with stuff that can drive sales.”
Despite the promotional elements that help to finance a lot of the shows, he said that this year, at Lincoln Center, “people are focused on fashion.”
“It's New York at its best.”
8 Ideas for Rocking Fashion WeekSeptember 10, 2010
We've tapped the strategies of some of the best young companies trying to get noticed by the style-makers and influentials at New York's Fashion Week.
Sure, it's glamorous. But New York Fashion Week is not all champagne fountains and elaborately coiffed models pacing the tents. Assembling all that glitz is a lot of hard work – and not just for the armies of stylists and limo drivers.
If you're not blinded by the flashbulbs, it's easy to see that Fashion Week can be a marketer's daydream. It's tastemaker central, with crowds saturated with cultural influencers: bloggers, buyers, designers, and editors. The big labels, of course, have a literal center-stage during Fashion Week, but emerging fashion, design, and beauty companies also can take advantage. So can, well, anyone. And you don't need to take the Mercedes approach and sponsor the whole shebang.
In fact, a little humility can go a long way. In the throes of the recession last year, Fashion Week could have had an identity crisis. The industry was wounded, but it decided to rally its forces and encourage shoppers to join the fashion week party. Dubbed Fashion's Night Out, the Friday night city-wide shopping event, which layers in-store after-hours promotions with celebrity meet-and-greets and musial events, has now spread to Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive. Events centered around making Fashion Week accessible to average folks (well, average folks who can stimulate the fashion economy) are also being held in a handful of other cities.
We've consulted the experts in promotions, marketing, and events at growing companies trying to get noticed at Fashion Week. Here are some of their best tips.
1. Hold a Charity Event.
Even in this week of celebrating decadence, charity can be a big draw. Stuart Weitzman, the shoe designer, has found a potent formula for brand promotion. It's one part charity (ovarian cancer awareness) mixed with one party celebrity and poured over a ping pong competition.
"Our customers are women, we latched onto ovarian cancer in part because it is a disease that's important to them, and can be, if not cured, prevented. But when you just ask people for money for a cause, you don't get a lot of response," Weitzman says. "If you make it fun, it's a lot easier to draw a crowd. And that's part of what's good for the brand."
Why a ping pong tournament? Pretty much just because Weitzman loves the sport. It's also zany enough to raise an eyebrow, which is just what Weitzman wants.
"Of course, there's a little bit of show business in the fashion business," he says. "When you make a lot of noise, people listen. Newspapers magazines cover it – you get your name in front of the public and see you're doing something worthwhile in addition to making beautiful shoes."
2. Throw a Party.
Ideeli, an online private sale site, is a Fashion Week sponsor online. But to extend its Fashion Week presence, Ideeli is also hosting an end-of-week bash. The target audience: you guessed it, influencers. Well, at least of the blogger variety.
"The primary focus of that party is to reach out to all of the bloggers who have been covering fashion week all week long," said Tamara Rosenthal, Ideeli's executive director of brand marketing. "We appreciate the blogger community, they're very important to us and the designers we work with every day."
The Ideeli and Style Coalition party is slated for the night shows end, ("So no one has to worry about waking up early the next day," Rosenthal says), and Fashion's Night Out is also ripe for event-hosting. Gilt City is hosting a Fashion Week launch party, and plenty of the Friday night retail events have party elements – lights, music, and celebrity appearances.
3. Cater a Show.
When Gregory Baratte, a former director of marketing for Louis Vuitton, launched Hello Pasta, an all-natural fast and casual pasta eatery in midtown Manhattan, this January, he thought he'd said goodbye to Fashion Week being part of his job. Not so much.
When a friend told him cosmetics company M.A.C. and Milk Studios, which together host emerging artists and designers during Fashion Week, were looking for a new caterer, he went for it. This week he and the Hello Pasta team are feeding models, backstage crew, guests, editors, and buyers neat little boxes of penne or fusilli from five catering stations in the studios.
While a company that deals in hearty carbs might not seeme to be the snuggest fit for lithe models, the brands are comfortably well matched.
"M.A.C. and Milk are known to support young companies, young designers, not the biggest fashion brand," Baratte says. "Because we are a start-up and we are trying to make it, it makes it a community of people trying to start-up. And that's just where we want to be."
When is it worthwhile to trade a week's worth of food for exposure, though? "When you have a new product, you need as many people as you can to try it. When I realized we would be serving more than 4,000 people that week, I knew it was a good idea."
Baratte wanted to create repeat customers, and encourage word-of-mouth advertising. And the shoe fit, because Hello Pasta is opening a second location in New York's Garment Districe this fall. "The No. 1 objective is to have a group of trendsetters try the product, and this group of people at Fashion Week are a lot of opinion leaders and trendsetters."
4. Pamper the Influencers.
You'll get a lot of their eyeballs along the way. That's the strategy John Amato's Show Media, an Inc. 500 company based in New York, employs. Last year in the economic downturn, Show Media, which supplies about one-third of New Yorks taxicabs with advertising and cab-toppers, decided to donate $40,000 in ads to Fashion's Night Out.
"Last year fashion was really beat up. in donating the ads we were trying to help out the people who mean so much to us," Amato says.
This year, Show Media is maintaining a presence during all of Fashion Week by staging vehicles in front of the runways' new home, Lincoln Center. The company's partner taxis last year shuttled Vogue editors around. This year, it's running a VIP shuttle, and constant shuttles on Fashion's Night Out for shoppers looking to get from, say, Fifth Avenue down to the Meatpacking District.
5. Get Your Product Out There.
Two words: goody bags. It's true that swag bags can be overrated, and some marketing gurus warn against including your products in freebie or sample bags. But when it's done right – and actually reaches your target audience – it can have a big impact. What could be better than getting your product into the hands of someone who will buy it again?
For designers, it's a tricky thing, and giveaways are typically reserved for celebrities or product placement. But across the beauty industry, demonstrations and samples are still king.
Your brand might not be internationally known, but you can take some inspiration from the big dogs in the kinds of freebies and promotions that actually draw a crowd. For instance, L'Oreal takes the direct approach, thinking no one's afraid of taking a free sample. A L'Oreal car will be cruising around Fashion Week and Lincoln Center giving out free Elnett samples and touch-ups. On Fashion's Night Out, it will be parked in SoHo for maximum exposure. Chanel is doing free manicures all Friday night in the Meatpacking District, and consumers can get a runway-ready crimpy hairstyle at Cynthia Rowley in the West Village.
6. Get a DJ.
Not just any DJ. A famous DJ.
This week includes quite a slate of trend-forward music, with DJ Alexandra Richards spinning at Sephora to promote YSL's Rouge Flame lipstick, DJ Charlotte Kemp Muehl and Sean Lennon are playing at Mabelliene, and DJ Leigh Lezark is taking her place as the new face of the DKNY campaign. Get the hint? Drumming up some beats is buzz-worthy – you'll get press before the week even starts. And it's not just of the bloggy variety: Vanity Fair's September issue devoted a significant amount of editorial space to Fashion's Night Out, including an event guide.
7. Get Someone Famous for Your Event.
It might seem an unlikely pairing, but when Jersey Shore's Vinny Guadagnino is at C.O. Bigelow's in New York City on Friday night, he won't just be delivering grooming tips: He'll be drawing in a lot of foot traffic and driving sales. Big fist pump.
In the same vein, Maybelline is using models Erin Wasson, Jessica White, and Lisalla Montenegro to judge a catwalk-walking contest. If you're looking for a consumerist, but not necessarily highbrow or uber-opinion leader crowd, consider this tactic for drawing crowds.
8. Sponsor an Emerging Designer.
You may lack a Mercedes-sized marketing budget, but you can still get exposure and cultural clout by linking arms with an emerging designer and sponsoring his or her show. Out of the deal the designer will get the financial ability to put on a great show and you'll get your brand cited alongside theirs. The arrangement will also give you a nice presence during the runway show.
With the more established brands, it's easy to know what you're buying into. With smaller designers, you have to really do your research.
"You have to pick the right partner that matches your own brand's DNA. It has to be a brand that relates to the fashion industry," says Baratte of Hello Pasta. "I was a little shocked to see another fast food company sponsoring fashion week in the past. It has to make sense in terms of the branding and the positioning."
He says it's trickier for brands outside the industry (or the industries of health, beauty, design, or healthy foods) to find matches that make sense. But if you have a good fit, sponsoring an emerging designer is a nice foot-in-the door for Fashion Week. Ideeli, which is sponsoring Fashion Week as a whole this year online, started its relationship with Fashion Week by working with a couple small designers. Now the site has partnerships with a number of high-end brands.
"That's my advice, to try and catch that wave, find the emerging, rather than going right to major sponsorships," says Rosenthal. "When we did that, we could see the recognition, and the approval of our brand partners. And that's our whole goal: We are sending the message to our partners that we are a big part of the fashion community."
Fashion Week: What to watch forSeptember 9, 2010By Andrea MandellFashionistas, be warned: New York Fashion Week has plans to weaken even the most devoted vows of austerity. Between the hot parties, sweet deals, stylish celebs and sultry spring silhouettes, USA TODAY compiles a list of moments not to miss.
Tommy Hilfiger turns 25
This is no ordinary fashion week for Tommy Hilfiger, whose all-American mega-brand is ringing in its 25th anniversary. The master of prep has something special in store for his runway show on Sunday. "We've been working on that collection for a year," says the designer, who says to expect a colorful "twisted country club" spring 2011 collection. Afterward, it's all about his "rock 'n' roll" anniversary bash at the Metropolitan Opera House. "We're really going to rock the house in Lincoln Center," he says.MORE: Fashion Week kicks off
A front-row seat at a fashion show is not only premium real estate but is also the best place to catch fashion-forward stars like Brooke Shields, Demi Moore, Janet Jackson and Jessica Alba. For designers, mixing in an eclectic group of stars is key, says fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone, whose client, Nicholas K, opens fashion week today. "Each designer has a different idea of what an amazing front row would be," she says. Shows can also be a place for redemption — an ideal first foray back into the spotlight for Lindsay Lohan? Her rep, Leslie Sloane, says she has no plans to attend, but the Machete actress has taken a front seat before at Alice + Olivia and Charlotte Ronson shows. "It's a good place to show up," Cutrone says. "I hope she does. I love her."
•On Sunday, Victoria Beckham holds private viewings of her Spring 2011 line.
•Gwen Stefani returns with a formal L.A.M.B. show Sept. 16 at Lincoln Center.
•Even the Kardashian clan is hitting Fashion Week: They launch their new line, K-DASH by Kardashian, on QVC Friday at 9 p.m.
When we're not gazing at Mad Men's Don Draper, we're coveting Joan's perfectly constructed 1960s wardrobe. Get a piece of the action with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant's new '50s and '60s MOD line, where bright baubles, (faux) fur coats and leopard capelettes bring back an age of dressing up. "The '50s have always been my favorite. It was so feminine and so ladylike," says Bryant, whose line makes its debut on QVC on Friday (9 p.m. ET). Her styling tips on her fab throwback two-button faux fur coat? "I would wear that with leggings and booties, and jeans and flats," she says.
If The Rachel Zoe Project has taught us one thing, it's that New York Fashion Week is one of the best places to see red-carpet-worthy dresses. Shows like Marchesa are hot spots; their glittering confections are snapped up by stylists the minute the show ends for stars like Sandra Bullock (who wore Marchesa while nabbing her Oscar), Heidi Klum and Olivia Wilde. We're also on gown watch for sequined stunners at Oscar de la Renta, Naeem Khan, Pamella Roland and Badgley Mischka.
Fashion's Night Out freebies
One year after Vogue's Anna Wintour decided the fashion world should throw a party (rather than throw in the towel), Fashion's Night Out is no longer just for New Yorkers. Most major shopping districts are participating, including Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with free swag, cocktails and makeovers Friday from 6 to 11 p.m.
•Atlanta: Saks Fifth Avenue is serving up ping-pong tourneys, cocktails and makeovers from local SCAD students.
•New York: Ralph Lauren Soho is enlisting Jessica Alba and Andre Leon Talley to play host while Grammy-nominated Janelle Monae serenades the crowd. Other zany fun includes karaoke under Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's watch at Barneys New York; Tim Gunn judging a window-dressing contest at Kate Spade in Soho; Sarah Silverman's stand-up at M.A.C. Cosmetics in Soho; and dance lessons at Vera Wang on Mercer Street with the help of Olympian Evan Lysacek. Now that's what we call a stimulus package.
Call it the year of the curve. From Zac Posen outfitting Christina Hendricks at the Emmys to non-waif model Lara Stone hitting multiple pages of Vogue this month, the fashion world is embracing a more realistic frame. "Full and voluminous is accepted now," says Roseanne Morrison, fashion director of The Doneger Group, citing fuller models at Chanel and Louis Vuitton this year. "It's not about skinny, it's about real." Morrison predicts there will be some designers who still cast super-slender girls at shows this week ("they think the clothes look better"), but fuller bodies are definitely in. "Now the emphasis is on the bust," she says.
Get it while it's hot
Itching for a closet update? Online flash sales are shaping up to be the upside to seven days of high fashion, and you can join in.
•Gilt.com will have its ZYNC private designer sale Sept. 22, with deals up to 70% off. Get a special link on facebook.com/ZYNC on Friday — normally these sales are only for American Express cardmembers.
•eDressMe.com will be hosting a "Fashion's Night In Sale," with 30% off the entire site from midnight tonight until midnight Friday (use coupon code "fashion10").
Introducing: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, ideeli-StyleSeptember 9, 2010
NEW YORK, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc, the fastest-growing members-only online shopping community, today announced details of its Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week sponsorship program. As an official sponsor of MBFW, ideeli.com will host a series of events, editorial coverage and activities, all taking place over the eight days of runway shows at New York's Lincoln Center and dedicated to delivering the fashion week experience to the site's nearly three million members around the country.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Activities will include:
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Featured Designer Series
- Daily sales curated by the ideeli editors and featuring select picks from the very same designers showing throughout fashion week, including Betsey Johnson, Custo Barcelona, Prabal Gurung, Nicole Miller and Tadashi Shoji, among others.
- Each event will be timed to go live on the same day the designers are showing at Lincoln Center, and will feature looks you can buy and wear now, or add to your wardrobe for seasons to come.
- The sales go live at 11am each day (for First Row members, at noon for everyone else) and will last up to 40 hours or until sold out.
ideeli's Insider Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Coverage
- The ideeli Editorial team will provide ongoing coverage of favorite designer shows, the scene at Lincoln Center and everything else, ranging from trend reports to celebrity spotting and street style. (Members can follow via the ideeli blog: blog.ideeli.com; Twitter: @ideeli; and Facebook: www.facebook.com/ideeli)
- Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Pick of the Day: ideeli's key blog feature gets a runway-ready makeover, spotlighting a top pick from the MBFW Designer suite of sales each day.
- The Beauty Beat will deliver the beauty 411 from in and around the shows, including the latest on makeup trends, the visionaries who create them, and how to get the looks yourself, as brought to you in savvy style by guest beauty blogger and pro makeup artist Felicia Walker Benson (ThisThatBeauty.com, ONMAKEUP Magazine, ESSENCE.com).
My First Fashion Week
- ideeli premieres a brand new editorial series, "My First Fashion Week," where one up-and-coming blogger serves as a first-time fashion week correspondent, allowing members to follow along as she jumps into the fashion trenches and shares all of her adventures (and misadventures) along the way!
- Noel Duan (NoelDuan.com, MissCouturable.com) will serve as My First Fashion Week's inaugural correspondent. Noel has been named a Blogger of the Moment by Teen Vogue and featured in Seventeen magazine. Follow her forays and foibles all week on the ideeli blog and on Twitter and Facebook.
Giveaways and Social Media
- ideeli will also host a number of polls, contests and conversations with members on Facebook and Twitter around new trends and news from the shows.
- Themed giveaways include "First Row" membership upgrades, fashion week survival kits and a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week VIP Getaway to NYC.
"As an official sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, we're thrilled to bring all the glamorous excitement of this week long event direct to our members," says ideeli's executive director of brand marketing, Tamara Rosenthal. "This is fashion week, ideeli-style."
To join ideeli, visit www.ideeli.com and use invite code "MBFW"
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 2.9 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty and kids. Each event is curated by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
SOURCE ideeli, Inc.
A clothes call for Ideeli.comSeptember 8, 2010
By James Covert
"Flash sales" are coming to New York Fashion Week.
Ideeli.com -- an online apparel merchant that specializes in brief, sharp discounts on designer fashions -- will launch a weeklong event to sell off-season styles during the spring 2011 shows that start Thursday, The Post has learned.
The fast-growing site, which this year has become a key sponsor for IMG, the producer of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, will stage short-lived sales of classic styles from designers including Betsey Johnson, Badgley Mischka, Nicole Miller and Tommy Hilfiger.
"We're figuring out how to bring fashion week to our membership, and to tie commerce to what's happening on the runway," ideeli.com CEO Paul Hurley told The Post.
Indeed, the idea of selling clothes during Fashion Week -- an oddly rare activity in past years -- is lately drawing more interest in the fashion industry.
Fashion's Night Out, a citywide shopping event that launched last year with unexpected success, has been scheduled this year to open Fashion Week.
But while Fashion's Night Out -- a brainchild of Vogue Editor Anna Wintour -- is an attempt to get shoppers to buy the latest fashions at full price, ideeli.com will be selling last season's duds at marked-down prices.
Increasingly, designers are getting used to the idea of fashion at a discount. Last year, Narciso Rodriguez surprised cohorts by creating a lower-priced collection exclusively for eBay.
"Fashion Week is about showing your collection, garnering press and ultimately selling," said Caitlin DiStefano, a spokeswoman for the chic fashion label Prabal Gurung, whose runway show and corresponding ideeli.com sale will go live on Saturday.
The Saturday event "is in a way bringing Fashion Week back to its roots and re-directing the focus toward sales," DiStefano said.
Golden Age of Online RetailSeptember 1, 2010
Fashion.comSeptember 1, 2010
This is a revolutionary moment in fashion, and Silicon Valley—yes, those Geeks in T-shirts and baggy sweats—is at the heart of it. As sale sites proliferate, they’re doing for style what Facebook did for friendship. The result is that shopping for clothes has become more democratic, more sophisticated, and more addictive than ever.
The Bay Area likes to imagine itself as existing beyond fashion. But that was before Gilt Groupe—not to mention Kaboodle, Chictopia, and Moxsie. Suddenly, a string of offices and warehouses from Sunnyvale to Mountain View to SoMa has become the new epicenter of fashion retailing, as recession-savvy bargain hunters all over the world discover that the Internet is the most amazing outlet mall ever. Geek chic will never be the same.
The emergence of the Bay Area as a fashion e-mecca was probably inevitable. For all its style-challenged stereotypes, Silicon Valley is blessed with the brains of a web developer and the guts of an entrepreneur. While a few fashion sites are still based in Manhattan, many others—including ModCloth, which moved its headquarters to San Francisco this summer (from Pittsburgh, of all places), and Gleemaster, the luxury site that’s staffing its financial district offices with talent from Paris—have concluded that being in a fashion capital is less important than being near the Valley’s large pool of engineering, retailing, and marketing talent.
“The expansive mindset of the Bay Area gives us an edge of technological creativity that is far ahead of New York,” says Gina Pell, the online pioneer who founded Splendora in 1999. Case in point: Splendora’s first-of-its-kind iPhone app, called SalesCast, which lets multitasking fashionistas track bargains on multiple sites. SalesCast became the top featured app on both iPhone and iTunes soon after its debut in June, and it remained on Apple’s “What’s Hot” list for weeks. This translates to about one download every 10 seconds. “We’re usually ahead of the curve when it comes to online strategy,” Pell says. “I can’t say the same for online fashion sites that are not based on the West Coast.”
Actually, it was New York–based Gilt and its innovative sales, filled with high-profile brands, that made online fashion sites a hot commodity with shoppers and venture capitalists alike. Three years later, the Bay Area sites have their own power-to-the-people, very social vibe that goes way beyond Facebook and Twitter. Gone are the days when you were forced to stand between your husband and the flatscreen to ask whether your bag matched your dress—now you can click on Sunnyvale-based Kaboodle (“Shopping for people, by people”) and ask the masses instead (they’re more likely to tell you the truth, anyway). Whereas the New York sites are all about amazing deals, sites such as San Mateo–based Couturious and SoMa-based Chictopia encourage dress-up and fantasy role-playing as much as they do shopping. Imagine Project Runway with no critical Nina Garcia around to roll her eyes if the results aren’t stunning.
One unexpected feature of the new fashion sites: a culture of nice that’s decidedly different from the Devil Wears Prada cattiness of chic New York and Paris, not to mention the nastiness of the broader Bay Area blogosphere. Splendora has only a “love this” sign; there’s no “hate this.” Chictopia (“The people’s fashion destination”) takes aim at insecurity by declaring, “Everybody is ugly.” Negative judgments are merely inferred: If someone doesn’t like your virtual outfit du jour, you won’t score high. Even a feature with the tabloid-y edge of Splendora’s “Fashion Violations” focuses on blunders made by celebrities like the Kardashians and Perez Hilton, not by the average Jo.
The supportive atmosphere is one of the things that 25-year-old Amy DeLong of San Francisco loves about Polyvore and its “global community of independent trendsetters.” She discovered the Mountain View–based site last year and wrote a grad-school paper about how its role-playing element helps middle-school girls develop writing skills. Now a teacher, DeLong creates two to three Polyvore sets (personalized collages that resemble a magazine layout) every week. The fact that she has no fashion training doesn’t disqualify her from defining trends, she says: “It’s a very democratic medium.” Nor does it seem to matter to anyone that she lacks a critical eye honed over a lifetime in the industry. “I have yet to receive one single negative comment,” she says. “It’s not really the nature of Polyvore. It’s about self-expression and not necessarily about controversy.”
This amicable vibe extends to how the sites treat each other. Palo Alto–based Moxsie, for example, has hosted a few contests with Polyvore and has worked with Sunnyvale-based Kaboodle. Chictopia allows users to share items with Polyvore. “There’s a lot of back-and-forth,” says Moxsie’s marketing director, Julia Kung. “We’re this new fashion community in the Bay Area, so we cooperate and help each other out.”
Increasingly, the sites’ partners include fashion magazines, which arguably stand to lose the most from their proliferation. Teen Vogue has teamed up with Chictopia, Vogue with Gilt Groupe, British Elle with ShopStyle. “Many of these iconic print publications are beginning to realize that the physical location of a pub is less important, since the immediacy of the web bridges the information gap,” Pell says.
Fashion sites aren’t just changing the way people interact with fashion—they’re also changing the way the Bay Area dresses. From Cupertino to Palo Alto, laid-back offices are being infiltrated by towering Louboutins, rugged Demeulemeester boots, and Yves Saint Laurent Muse bags.
Chictopia cofounder Helen Zhu, who trained as an engineer, remembers wearing shorts and flip-flops when she was consulting at eBay. Now she’s just as likely to slip on a Jean Paul Gaultier top and Jeffrey Campbell booties. Her husband, Chictopia cofounder Richard Ho, once dressed almost exclusively in freebie corporate T-shirts. These days, he has a closet full of Zara, Original Penguin, and J. Crew.
After cofounding San Mateo–based Like.com, CEO Munjal Shah—a computer-science major—made his first trip to New York fashion week “and learned a ton about fashion in the process.” Shah says his company’s holiday-party pictures illustrate the integration of style and technology in the Valley. And Like.com’s Abigail Holtz organizes mixers called Fashion Meets Tech to bring programmers and stylish product managers together.
Carol Tran, a former Silicon Valley biotech patent attorney, combined her passions for fashion and philanthropy by founding Chic Meets Geek as a way to bring together tech and fashion workers while raising money for the community. A July event benefiting Glide Memorial Church featured Jay Nicolas Sario, from Project Runway, and Polyvore CEO Sukhinder Singh Cassidy.
On Fridays, Moxsie members who eat at the lunch carts parked outside the company’s headquarters serve as a real-life illustration of Silicon Valley’s heightened fashion sense. Moxsie employees tweet invitations and photograph the stylishly turned-out diners, then upload those images to the company’s blog. “These sites have definitely upped the fashion quotient here in Palo Alto,” says Kung. “You see a lot more fashion, style, and personality on the streets. It’s not just khakis anymore.”
It’s also not just fashion anymore. As locals reevaluate their relationship with style, fashion sites such as Ideeli and Gilt have expanded into home design, where downtown San Francisco–based One Kings Lane has already carved out a profitable niche, and vintage-furniture site 1stdibs has moved into jewelry and clothing. Now that we have this new model for selling, it’s easy to imagine all the other objets that can be hawked this way. Perhaps in 10 years, “dot-com decor” won’t imply garishly bright lofts hung with Dale Chihuly glass, and “dot-com fashion” won’t bring monogrammed fleece vests to mind. At the very least, our Second Life avatars won’t touch that stuff.
Joanne Furio is a San Francisco contributing writer.
THE SOCIAL SITES
Like shopping with your friends, only without the complicated friendship stuff.
The crowd: Discerning and brainy.
Check out: Splendora.com
Home base: San Francisco
High concept: What’s hot and what’s not, served up with wit and plenty of deals.
The goods: Recent offerings ranged from a Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony skirt (60 percent off) to a Hangover Helper candle ($22).
Best part: Founder Gina Pell defines fashion-forward—she launched the site in 1999 and added social media in 2005, years before Facebook and Twitter became ubiquitous. She also knows the addictive power of fluff: Dr. Seuss, Juergen Teller’s Missoni ad campaign, and a quiz on world leaders all turned up in one blog post. Splendora is insider-y and sophisticated, yet friendly—a hard combination to pull off. No wonder her community has been so loyal for so long.
The crowd: Big, boisterous, and down-to-earth.
Check out: Kaboodle.com
Home base: Sunnyvale
High concept: “The web’s best products, hand-selected by shoppers like you.”
The goods: Everything under the sun: handbags, cocktail rings, organic makeup, greeting cards, origami napkins, and—believe it or not—bacon salt. The new PopPicks feature lets you “heart” your fave items, with the most-hearted picks going on sale for a huge discount.
Best part: Poll the community to help you choose between shift dresses from See by Chloé, Alexander McQueen, and RVCA. Then add the winner to your “styleboard” and—if you’re brave enough—upload a photo of yourself in it to your “blogazine,” with details about the party you wore it to and the cute guys who swooned.
The crowd: Marching to a different drummer—in wedge clogs.
Check out: Moxsie.com
Home base: Palo Alto
High concept: Affordable pieces that differentiate you from everyone else on the Google/Yahoo!/Facebook bus.
The goods: Deals from experimental designers such as Matt Bernson and Melie Bianco, some of whom are local and many of whom cater to men.
Best part: The site’s 75,000 Twitter followers help decide what goes on sale. “We’re not trying to be New York or Los Angeles,” says marketing director Julia Kung. “We want designers with a lot of personality, with stories to tell.”
The crowd: Edgy Lolitas with de rigueur sourpuss expressions.
Check out: ShopNastyGal.com
Home base: Emeryville
High concept: Look like you just stepped out of Nylon magazine.
The goods: Vintage finds that are more Gaga than garage sale, plus plenty of new pieces.
Best part: No geeky getups to scroll through, and your mom’s not a member. The social-networking aspect happens offsite, as you and your friends share links to that vintage crocheted skirt you can’t live without.
THE INVITATION-ONLY SALES
Instant gratification—and a stack of bills you won’t believe.
All comers are welcome, registration is free, and you can start shopping immediately.
Headquarters: New York; CEO Paul Hurley launched three startups here before heading east.
The goods: Midprice labels and accessories.
Why membership has its privileges: Sales start every day at 8 a.m. PT for paying members ($6.99 a month), and at 9 a.m. PT for everyone else.
The fine print: Deals last 40 hours—or until items sell out.
So private-clubby, you can’t even check out the site without a membership. To get one, you must register, then be contacted by the site. No worries if you have a rejection complex—the invite will arrive within a couple of hours.
Headquarters: New York; cofounder Alexis Maybank used to work at eBay.
The goods: Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Vera Wang, Jil Sander, and any other blue-chip designer’s line you’d like to click on. This month, Gilt Cities launches its San Francisco sales, offering everything from chef’s tables at eateries to insider museum tours to impossible-to-book spa reservations.
Why membership has its privileges: Up to 70 percent off last season’s merch.
The fine print: Seventeen sales start daily at 9 a.m. PT and last 48 hours, but the best stuff earns a black “sold out” sign in the first five minutes.
This new site, which features European designer labels, is out to give Gilt Groupe a run for its money.
Headquarters: San Francisco.
The goods: Luxury labels discounted up to 70 percent.
Why membership has its privileges: Gleeters must be invited by another member or request membership. Once you’re in, you can network with fellow shoppers, post photos, and comment on members’ looks.
The fine print: Flash sales start at 9 a.m. PT and last for 72 hours. Expect lots of baubles and watches; staffers have close ties to French jewelry houses.
THE AVATAR SITES
What’s the point of a second life if it’s just as boring as your real one?
You idolize: Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington.
Check out: Polyvore.com
Home Base: Mountain View
High concept: Create your own magazine shopping spreads (aka “sets”), complete with headline, using Polyvore’s Clipper tool to cut and paste images of anything on the web. If enough people like your set, you’ll make it to the home page (and steal the show, just like Coddington stole The September Issue from her boss, Anna Wintour).
Best part: Ask the community a question—“How do I make a military jacket look more feminine?”—and they’ll respond with sets of their own.
You idolize: Model-muse Kate Moss.
Check out: Weardrobe.com
Home base: San Mateo
High concept: You know how every single outfit Moss throws together seems to end up being photographed? Upload digital pix of yourself—with links to help others re-create your look—and wait for commenters to shower you with compliments.
Best part: Like someone’s look? Add her as a friend and style-stalk her daily.
You idolize: Those everyone-is-beautiful Dove ads.
Check out: Chictopia.com
Home base: San Francisco
High concept: Browse for “people like me” by body type, style, and location.
Best part: You can accumulate “chic points” by voting, commenting, and posting on the site—then redeem them for clothes and accessories other members want to swap. How refreshing (and how S.F.) that not every fabulous bargain requires a credit card.
You idolize: Stylist Rachel Zoe.
Check out: Couturious.com
Home base: San Mateo.
High concept: “Discover your inner stylist!”
Best part: You dress a virtual mannequin in clothing and accessories—all for sale, natch—that mold realistically to their bodies, then share the results with the community. So far, the models have the supersvelte shape that all of Zoe’s clients seem to share, but rounded tummy, athletic, and plus sizes are coming soon.
You idolize: Actress-singer Zooey Deschanel.
Check out: ModCloth.com
Home base: San Francisco.
High concept: One-off and vintage pieces that you’ll never find anywhere else—assuming you can snag them before the site’s 64,000-plus other Facebook fans beat you to it.
Best part: Indie-fashion fiends use the recently implemented “Be the Buyer” program to choose from designs suggested by founder Susan Gregg Koger. The items are produced if enough people click on them.
THE SEARCH ENGINE SITES:
When you’re willing to track the perfect whatever to the ends of the Internet.
You: Hopelessly addicted to Allure’s “Lust/Must” and Marie Claire’s “Splurge vs. Steal”—columns that show you runway styles and real-world ways to replicate them.
Check out: San Mateo–based Like.com, which visually links similar products by color and style.
Best part: Discover variations on a design at retailers ranging from Kmart to Neiman Marcus.
You: A fanatic about reading every review and comparing every price before handing over your credit card and making a commitment.
Check out: Mountain View–based TheFind.com, which organizes some half million retailer websites and reviews, providing “everything you need to decide quickly what to buy and where to buy it.”
Best part: Helps you track down coupons from hundreds of thousands of stores and savings on green products, in partnership with GoodGuide.com.
You: A locavore by instinct and a dedicated staycationer who loves the idea of supporting homegrown shops, spas, and other businesses.
Check out: San Francisco–based FreshGuide.com, which offers a geographic and crowdsourcing twist on search-engine bargain shopping. Every day, the site offers 50 to 90 percent off at San Francisco stores, museums, and restaurants.
Best part: You can use the power of the crowd—your friends—to get great deals. But you need multiple signups to make the offer “tip.” If you don’t, it ends, and no one’s credit card is charged.
You: The indecisive procrastinator who always waits until the last minute to buy anything, then gets fixated on an item and can’t find it anywhere.
Check out: San Francisco–based ShopStyle.com, which enables you to relentlessly hunt for that last pair of red patent-leather Lanvin pumps in size 8. The site pulls from an A-to-Z listing of fashion labels (American Apparel to Zac Posen), so if it’s not here, it’s sold out everywhere—leaving eBay as your only hope.
Best part: Create a stylebook of favorite items and wish lists, and receive alerts about special sales from relevant designers.
ideeli Names Barbara Levy as Senior Vice President of Retail StrategyAugust 25, 2010
Former Ross, Macy's Senior Executive to Lead ideeli's Merchandising Team
NEW YORK, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- ideeli, Inc. (www.ideeli.com), the fastest growing members-only online shopping community in the United States, today announced the appointment of Barbara Levy as senior vice president of retail strategy. In this position, Ms. Levy will report directly to CEO Paul Hurley, providing leadership and support of the company's continued efforts to build and maintain relationships across a growing portfolio of world-class brands.
"Barbara Levy is well known for her experience and expertise within the industry," said Paul Hurley, CEO and founder of ideeli. "We couldn't be more excited to welcome such an exceptional talent to the ideeli team during this time of incredible growth and innovation."
Ms. Levy joins ideeli from national off-price retailer Ross Stores, Inc, where she occupied a number of leadership positions during her 15-year tenure. As executive vice president, Ms. Levy, along with her team, was responsible for buying from, and negotiating with, over 1,000 active vendors on behalf of 700 stores. Prior to that, Ms. Levy was a senior vice president/general merchandise manager for RH Macy and Company, where she oversaw a buying team with responsibility for nearly 70 stores, including the Herald Square flagship.
In her role at ideeli, Ms. Levy will specifically focus on building the company's merchandising team, devising new strategies for its vendors and brands, and ensuring that the overall merchandising function aligns with the strategic direction of the company. Ms. Levy will also be responsible for strengthening the company's existing reporting and analytics systems.
"In just three years, ideeli has transformed the online shopping experience for both consumers and brands alike," said Levy. "I am thrilled to be working with the ideeli team as they grow and expand this incredibly successful retail platform."
ideeli, Inc is the fastest growing online members-only shopping site in the U.S. Launched in 2007, the company now has over 2.8 million members who enjoy limited-time sales events featuring products from over 600 brand partners across the categories of apparel, accessories, home, beauty, kids and travel. Each event is designed by ideeli editors to offer an exclusive shopping opportunity with new brands featured each day at up to 80% off.
SOURCE ideeli, Inc.
Get a spa vacation with that silk dressAugust 22, 2010
Flash-sale sites add discount travel, food
By Adrianne Pasquarelli
What goes with a discounted silk dress from Marc Jacobs, or a fur shrug from J. Mendel? Judging from the latest craze to hit the online shopping world, it's a half-price trip to a tony South Beach resort.
Flash-sale sites, which made shopping for off-price luxury apparel from a computer terminal as easy as a mouse click, are moving from the closet to the spa. Companies including Gilt Groupe Inc. and Ideeli Inc. are expanding to include services and food items, at the typical markdown prices that made the members-only sites so popular. They have good reason-the total number of visitors to Ideeli, Gilt, Haute Look and Rue La La in July was 213.6 million, up more than 9% since July of last year, according to tracking service ComScore Media Metrix. The demand is so strong that smaller players, catering to niche industries like weddings, are sprouting up. In addition, traditional retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus are elbowing their way in.
Web-enabled Thanksgiving "door-buster"
"It's an old formula, but one of the most successful merchandising strategies of all time," says Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst of e-business at Forrester Research. "They provide a Web-enabled Thanksgiving 'door-buster' every day for limited hours with limited merchandise."
The origin of online flash sales dates back almost a decade to the launch of French company Vente-Privee. As a members-only e-commerce site, Vente-Privee discounts goods by as much as 70%, working on consignment with vendors and eliminating the risk of purchasing inventory. For U.S. companies, where outlet centers and off-price liquidators compete physically with these virtual sale machines, the flash sites partner directly with manufacturers. Experts say most flash-sale companies in the U.S. sell a combination of exclusive merchandise and goods on consignment from the designers themselves.
It's no accident that the growth rate of sites like Gilt and Ideeli, which now have 3.4 million and 3 million members, respectively, soared while the economy plummeted over the past three years. Consumers signed up in droves, eager to devour steep discounts on designer duds discreetly-without broke neighbors seeing multiple shopping bags. There's also an element of excitement, since each sale lasts only a few hours.
"It's that feeling that you're a member of a secret club that comes at the same time every day," says Larry Joseloff, vice president of content at Shop.org.
To keep shoppers interested, many sites are turning to services or experiences, which cut down on inventory costs. Gilt just began its Gilt City division, offering discounts at places like Townhouse Spa and the Brooklyn Museum. The New York division is still being tested but will officially launch next month, and a Chicago site should be available this week. Gilt, which expects 2010 revenue of between $400 million and $500 million, is aiming for as many as 10 service sales a week for New Yorkers.
"We realized there was a huge demand for high-end inclusive offerings," says Nate Richardson, president of Gilt City, who could not provide membership numbers.
Similarly, Ideeli, with revenue of $150 million and 150 employees, introduced Ideel Access this summer. For now, the service is national, but a localized New York segment goes live in September. The more consumers who sign up for a deal with Ideel Access, the lower the price.
Los Angeles-based Haute Look and Boston-based Rue La La also promote services in their sales, but they have yet to put the items into separate divisions.
"We're investing a substantial amount of time and money in the platform," says Greg Bettinelli, senior vice president of marketing for Haute Look, which has annual revenue of $100 million.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have noticed the success of the flash-sale model and have begun testing the waters. Saks Fifth Avenue featured a temporary sale last fall, while Neiman Marcus recently joined the fray by hosting a "secret" flash sale this past May. Experts expect more high-end department stores and specialty stores to follow, yet they warn that stores run the risk of being labeled discounters.
"The major retailers have an opportunity to establish their own [flash sales], but they have to be careful that all of their products don't fall into this model," says Gene Alvarez, research vice president at advisory firm Gartner Inc.
Smaller websites are also jumping on the bandwagon, if they can find their niche. Next month, Aisle New York, which sells bridal apparel from coveted designers like Oscar de la Renta, will go live.
"There will be intense competition in this space over time, but we'll see who the long-term winners are," says Mr. Alvarez.
The Big Deals Issue!August 1, 2010
The Big Deals Issue!
- Reed Evins suede flat (page 98): July 13 - July 15, August 8-10
- Furla Carmen shopper (page 84): July 19 - July 21
- Core Bamboo flower bowl with servers (page 85): July 23 - July 25
- Cuisinart 14-piece cutlery set (page 86): July 31 - August 2
Available now, gone in a flashAugust 1, 2010
In the realm of online flash sale shopping, high-end items are sold at mouth-watering discounts. But typically, you have to act fast.
By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
It's just after 9 a.m. on the West Coast and the competition is already out in force at GiltGroupe.com. The countdown has started on the $129 turquoise Oscar de la Renta peep-toe pumps in my virtual shopping cart, where they will stay for just 10 minutes. If I still haven't checked out by then, the shoes will automatically go back onto the virtual selling floor.
The urgency and limited quantities are supposed to stoke desire, and it's working.
Over on RueLaLa.com, a message pops up onscreen telling me there are only six pairs left of the $99 Rafe ikat print wedge sandals I've been eyeing. While I'm going through a mental checklist of what's in my closet, the turquoise pumps at GiltGroupe.com disappear, and are quickly "clicked-up" by another shopper. I follow a link that says "waiting list" and enter my contact information. If the other shopper returns the pumps, I will get an e-mail giving me a second chance
Welcome to the sport of private online flash sale shopping, where Alexander McQueen dresses, Vera Wang jewelry, Moschino blouses, Judith Leiber jeweled evening bags, Tag Heuer watches and Gucci sunglasses can be bought for as much as 80% off retail, so long as you are the quickest one to the virtual checkout counter.
There are dozens of private flash sale sites online now, tantalizing shoppers every morning with an announcement of the day's new designer sale events and turning shopping into must-surf entertainment. The catch is that bargains, big and small, are available for just a brief window — one to three days — and you're competing against thousands of other private sale junkies for limited quantities.
GiltGroupe.com launched in November 2007, followed closely by HauteLook.com and Ideeli.com, just as shoppers wanted to satisfy their designer tastes at more recession-friendly prices. All three of the top sites have between 1.8 million and 2.5 million members.
"Discovery-based shopping is what excites the customer," says Adam Bernhard, chief executive of Hautelook.com, which is based in L.A. "We remerchandize our [online] store every night, and every morning you have an e-mail with eight or 10 new brands. Shoppers come for no other reason than to look and all of a sudden they've made a purchase."
This new way of shopping was born of the recession, when entrepreneurs recognized that manufacturers would need a place to discreetly sell excess inventory.
Rather than ditching high-end handbags and runway apparel at bargain-basement, bricks-and-mortar retailers — where they might stay on the floor for months and tarnish a brand's image — manufacturers and designers can turn to the private flash sale sites. Here, discounted merchandise is hidden from search engines, sells out quickly and is seen only by "members" who have signed up to participate, or buyers who've been referred by a member.
"The perfect storm of the recession put wind in the sails of these entrepreneurs because they had access to an excess of merchandise they never would have had, and manufacturers who never would have considered a sale online were left with their pants down," says Sucharita Mulpuru, e-commerce analyst for Forrester Research.
Private sample sales generated $1 billion last year, a relatively small piece of the $155-billion e-commerce pie. But the category is thriving, with more than $100 million in venture capital flooding into the space in the last six months alone and sites continuing to launch as recently as this year. Private sale sites are hiring seasoned brick-and-mortar retail vets from Williams-Sonoma, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters and more to sharpen merchandising and to focus on new segments of the business, such as men's and children's wear.
This new model of shopping has been so successful, in fact, that challenged department stores such as Saks and Neiman Marcus have experimented with their own 24-hour online flash sales, and eBay launched a similar model at FashionVault.ebay.com. Comcast also has entered the ring, launching Swirl.com earlier this year as an offshoot of the popular DailyCandy e-newsletters.
Now that the competition is heating up, private sale sites are working harder at branding themselves and differentiating their shopping experiences.
Some sites are expanding into lifestyle categories, offering discounted ocean view junior suites at Tortuga Bay in the Dominican Republic for $415 (regularly $640), Le Creuset French Ovens for $278 (regularly $370) and half-off QuikTrim dietary supplements.
GiltGroupe, which has projected revenue of $500 million for 2010, has launched a sister site, Jetsetter.com, specifically for travel packages. It is also experimenting with selling furniture and offering more localized deals, including restaurant and spa promotions targeted to members in different cities. "It's about curated luxury items," says Alexis Maybank, co-founder of Gilt Groupe. "We are the anti-Amazon.com."
"I love Gilt," says Liz Garcia, a television writer in Los Angeles. "I don't mind racing against the clock to make a purchase because, unlike other sites, Gilt has an edited selection of clothes and accessories. You don't have to slog through [stuff] that clearly didn't sell previously for a reason."
Swirl.com is emphasizing up-and-coming designers, such as jeweler Amrita Singh and L.A.-based label Dear Creatures. "We introduce them to a broader shopping public," says Eve Epstein, creative director for the site, which is based in New York.
Other sites are aligning themselves with celebrities and entertainment properties. RueLaLa featured a private sale boutique curated by Whitney Port, star of MTV's "The City," and designer Brian Reyes. Port chose pieces from her own Whitney Eve clothing collection for the sale, and Reyes adapted a few of his runway looks. SeenOn.com features private sales of items seen on TV and in movies, such as the preppy-cool outfits worn on "Gossip Girl" and goth styles inspired by "Twilight."
"Ever-changing selections make it fun to cruise through the sites," says Anne Montone, a DJ, singer and event producer in Los Angeles. Her favorite deal was on RueLaLa, a $35 striped cowl-neck sweater from Buffalo by David Bitton. "I love to get things in the mail, so that adds to the experience."
As the private sale business grows, increasingly what's being sold isn't overstock at all. It is merchandise earmarked by designers at the beginning of the season to sell on sites such as GiltGroupe.com at a later date.
"We go into the order cycle at the same time as [other retailers], but we get a different delivery," says GiltGroupe's Maybank. "If done correctly, it helps a brand shape inventory and reach customers it might not otherwise reach."
"Today, the vast majority of what's on these sites is overstock that someone has seen in a store or on a runway," says Paul Hurley, chief executive and founder of Ideeli.com. "But five years from now, when this becomes a big, mature industry, it will be more of a mix."
Ideeli.com won't just be a destination for excess inventory, he says, it will be another channel in a designer's retail strategy that helps support the top line, like a factory outlet. "One of the most successful factory outlet retailers that is also a top brand is Ralph Lauren. He has different levels of his brand. The level that's at a more attractive price point is labeled differently. As long as you are clear about what you are doing, it's fine," Hurley says. (Ralph Lauren's brand architecture is legendary, with the runway collection on top, followed by other levels including Black Label, Blue Label, Lauren by Ralph Lauren and Lauren Jeans — and that's just in the women's apparel category. Lauren also recently created the American Living Collection for J.C. Penney.)
Memo Pad: The Group RulesJuly 9, 2010
THE GROUP RULES: Private sale companies are rapidly moving into the territory of another group of e-commerce rivals, the group buying sites, such as Groupon and its many imitators. The latest to add group buying is Ideeli, which today will offer spa treatments at up to two-thirds off — if at least 100 people buy. If not, the deal is off.
“It can certainly help grow our business. It’s offering another stream of revenue,” said Ideeli executive director of brand marketing Tamara Rosenthal. But it’s also valuable for retailers, she continued. “It answers a fundamental challenge retailers have been having, which is, How do you get customers in the door? Once they’re there, you can up-sell them. It’s a great value to the consumer, but the retailer is not losing money,” she said.
Typically, group buys focus on services, experiences and vouchers rather than physical goods, since they cannot be returned and don’t have sizing, color and fit issues. Ideeli plans to offer spa, travel, coupons for apparel and home goods, entertainment and experiences, said Rosenthal. It will offer deals in cities in which its chains operate. Spa Chakra, for example, has five U.S. locations.
Ideeli plans to roll out a mobile application at the end of the year, and is mulling social marketing with mobile social networks such as Gowalla and Foursquare. It also plans to expand into private sales for travel and men’s very soon, she added.
The site has 2.5 million members and anticipates having as many as 4 million members and $150 million in revenue by the end of the year. It has raised $30 million of venture capital to date.
— Cate T. Corcoran
14 Sites Changing the Way We ShopJune 21, 2010
By: Stephanie Marcus
Let’s be honest, shopping isn’t always as fun as it should be. Between long lines, irate shoppers, communal fitting rooms (I’m looking at you Loehmann’s), distracted cashiers (I’m sorry, don’t let my purchase interrupt your texting), and simply having to part with your cold hard cash, it can be exhausting. Plus, you can’t always find what you want.
We’ve been shopping online since the mid-’90s, and the web is so much more than a viral mall. It’s become a playground for smart and savvy shoppers who know how to make the most out of a dollar. What’s more is that there are now more sites than ever before pandering to bargain hunters. Here are 14 sites changing the way we shop.
Flash sales sites become big deal for shoppersJune 13, 2010By: Beth HughesSan Francisco Chronicle June 13, 2010 04:00 AM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Back in the dark ages, when Amazon sold only books and eBay was called Auction Web, shoppers still wanted the tactile experience of shopping. They relished the touching, the seeing, the trying on that came from searching for the newest of the new in real-world stores.
They found joy in the hunt for deals, bargains and steals. Closeouts, sample sales, warehouse sales, invitation-only sales the big bad daddies of retail offered 70 percent or even more off list price, and made endurable the rituals of sharp-elbow rack rushes, no-privacy try-ons and final sales.
These days, only the joy of the hunt (and the lure of free shipping codes) remains. Online, where the algorithms know your preferences, the proliferation of flash sale sites, and e-mail alerts from the ones you join, knows no end.
In the beginning, there was vente-privee.com. Thin, frugal and fashionable, the French were on to something other than the January Hermès sale when they launched in 2001.
The site set up subsidiaries elsewhere in Europe, but what about us? Where was our invitation for the frugalista spend-athon?
In November 2007, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson launched Gilt Groupe after stints at, respectively, eBay and AOL, and luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. They had initial funding of $5 million from the venture capital firm Matrix Partners.
Today, along with RueLaLa, HauteLook and Ideeli, they're defining the experience. They buy directly from manufacturers because they need bigger numbers of items than third parties, such as retailers, can provide. Membership for each hovers around the 2 million mark, with the median household income pegged at $100,000, give or take. The registers ring. For example, Ideeli is projected to generate $100 million in revenue this year.
Smaller sites such as Billion Dollar Babes, Jasmere and Urbanbloke seek to differentiate themselves from the Big Four by featuring emerging designers or tapping into a slightly different customer base. Billion Dollar Babes started in 2001, with high-end sample sales in Los Angeles, New York and the Hamptons. Teamed with a charity, the events featured bars and DJs, and the site plans to continue with live events, says managing director Dylan Brown, as well as online sales.
At Jasmere, the staff tests everything, says Jeremy Kugel, who launched the site in December with his wife, Katrina. They seek out upscale, eco-friendly items such as Brazil's Beija-Flor jeans and Greensbury Market, which ships fresh frozen organic beef, chicken and pork nationwide.
Urbanbloke concentrates on menswear, such as Morphine Generation and Tailorbyrd shirts, with the goal of securing 200,000 members, "not 2 million," says CEO Kyle Wilkinson. "We want to stay true to our purpose, with a very curated mix."
Indeed, there are so many sites that aggregators such as MyNines are emerging, offering notifications of various sales.
The sale sites share a similar model. Members learn of sales by visiting the site or from online notifications.
The sales begin on a predetermined schedule and last for a set number of hours. Reading the fine print counts. Sometimes returns are accepted, sometimes not. The sites all offer various inducements to get members to spread the good word - "Save!" or "Buy!" depending on your perspective.
If you think the timing was off for the emergence of a new way to spend money, think again. The sale sites "have created their own niche," says Tifani Marsay, women's fashion director for Macy's West, who teaches retail buying at City College.
"They came out when people were shopping more frugally. It's become more of a badge of honor to say, 'I bought it for $50 rather than $500."
Most of the growth has been viral, with early adopters joining, then telling their friends.
"In any economy, people care about how they present themselves," says Maybank. "They have to get clothing for that interview. We enable to people to get the wardrobe they want but at 70 percent off." Often the items are still available in real-world stores.
Shoppers broke down doors even as foreclosures rose.
Today, when a Gilt Groupe sale starts at 9 a.m. Pacific time, it's the norm for 400,000 to 500,000 shoppers to rush to the site. Imagine what happened during a sale of a certain designer's red-soled footwear, with 250,000 women trying to buy size 38. Servers slowed but didn't crash.
Yes, items sell out but in shopping as in life, only the strong and the site-savvy survive.
"It's a change in behavior - it's introduced a new way to shop and brought theater and urgency to online shopping that didn't exist before," says Stacey Santo, vice president for marketing and communication, and a member of the original team at Rue La La, which launched in April 2008.
With each site having so many members, the idea of exclusivity does seem a bit disingenuous. "I'm not sure if exclusivity ever was what anybody cared about anyway," says Paul Hurley, the serial entrepreneur who's now CEO and founder of Ideeli. The real level of exclusivity comes behind the glitz as the site excludes "spiders."
"Google cannot spider the site and see the prices. That's a big deal. We're perceived as a separate channel, and that's important for the brands. It provides them with a special service and doesn't conflict with what else they're doing online."
But not everyone is as bullish on the sites. Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University, calls them "a disaster for consumers ... when it comes to impulse purchases. They're very difficult to resist. (They're) tapping into an extreme fear of missing out. "
Faced with that, "the madness sets in, and the ability to think rationally about whether or not they want or need something" disappears.
The way the sites are set up "isn't an accident," Yarrow says. Retailers have studied how consumers decide to make a purchase carefully. There's enough data available so they know exactly what it takes to make somebody "pull the trigger. It's being used to the detriment of consumers who are trying to be frugal now."
She's confident, however, that shoppers will figure it out.
"Retailers are always going to come up with new ways to entice consumers, and the consumers always figure out what's happening to them."
The flash fashion players
Each site runs sales on a different schedule with different rules. It is not unusual for items to sell out quickly, even in the first few minutes. Discounts vary by item.
Gilt Groupe: www.gilt.com.
Rue La La: www.ruelala.com.
MyNines.com: An aggregator, the site helps shoppers track sales on different sites.
Splendora.com: The site's new Salescast iPhone app aggregates sales from its Top 20 favorites, such as the Outnet and Daily Candy's Swirl sales.
Who Has a Better Price on this C&C California Tank? Gilt or Ideeli?June 10, 2010
By: Dainca Lo
It's happened before and now it's happening again. The same C&C California tie-dye tank top is on sale today at both Gilt and Ideeli, but the prices are different.
Over on Ideeli, the tank is $20, down from an original price of $48. At Gilt, they mark the original price as $50.60 and their sale price is $29.
Lesson learned, again: It pays to shop around, even when you think you're getting a bargain.
· Cotton bold tie dye tank, left, $29 at Gilt
· Spiral tie dye tank, $20 at Ideeli
· Free People sale on Gilt and Ideeli: Guess who has lower prices?
Ideeli Adds to Management, Revamps Look of SiteJune 3, 2010
By: Rosemary Feitelberg
In honor of its third anniversary,Ideeli, the members-only sample sale e-commerce site, has bolstered its senior management team and revamped its site. With 2.5 million members — a considerable leap from its one million base in December — Ideeli aims to have $150 million in revenue by the end of the year, according to chief executive officer Paul Hurley. What began in 2007 as three staffers working around the dining room table of Hurley’s downtown Manhattan apartment is now a 100-person operation headquartered in a two-floor Lafayette Street office. Four relatively recent recruits are chief financial officer Bob ross; director of brand marketing Tamara Rosenthal; senior vice president of operations Jacob Hawkins, and vice president of engineering Eduardo Frias. That foursome previously held senior-level posts at Urban Outfitters Inc., ASmallWorld.net, Overstock.com and Johnson & Johnson, respectively,where they helped “create multimillion-dollar companies,” Hurley said. “We have created a world-class team with deep domain experience in retail and e-commerce,” he said. Read full article>>>
Gilt Groupe's Stiff CompetitionJune 3, 2010
By Alisa Gould-Simon
Gilt Groupe may be sweeping the members-only sale market, but the competition isn't giving up without a fight. In fact, similarly structured flash-sale fashion sites are beefing up their infrastructure and looking to intrude on the vast and extremely lucrative territory Gilt Groupe has dominated this past year. Haute Look, for one, has just announced a 31 million-dollar expansion (courtesy of investments from Insight Venture Partners). "Gilt Groupe has been the reigning outlet of choice for the high-fashion crowd (think partnerships with Vogue), but now HauteLook (think partnerships with People's StyleWatch) has just received the kind of funding that can make it a major player in the world of internet sale sites," says Daily Front Row. So, what's next? For starters, Haute Look will be offering deals on gourmet food and wine as well as "services and experiences" (read: spa trips, wine tastings, etc.). They're also throwing a lot of energy into revamping their men's section, which includes hiring "Tim Davis, who spent 17 years at Neiman Marcus."
Speaking of key hires, Ideeli.com, a major Gilt Groupe competitor, has also put quite a bit of funding and focus into assembling a more impressive masthead. Ideeli.com, which just hit its 3-year-anniversary, landed several recent hires whose collective resume includes stints holding “senior-level posts at Urban Outfitters Inc., ASmallWorld.net, and Overstock.com,” says Women’s Wear Daily. Beginning Saturday, the site will implement aesthetic changes too, like incorporating Polaroids into its images alongside with more glossy, mag-appropriate shots. “Of the leading four members-only shopping sites, a group that also includes HauteLook, Rue La La and Gilt Groupe, Ideeli saw the highest rate of growth in unique visitors, according to Comscore data” for this past year, adds WWD. Meaning, the battle of the flash sale sites is far from over.
Dogs Will HuntMay 8, 2010
By Deborah Evans Price
The duo will appear on “Good Morning America,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” “The View,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and other major TV outlets. “Each day the girls do a TV show, we’re going to take a photo of what they are wearing and then their website is going to direct fans to ideeli.com, a female online clothing store, where you can buy their look,” Greer says. “There’s the special of the day and it can be bundled with the record.” “We were definitely excited about that because we shop on sites like ideeli.com” says Maguire, who notes that fans often ask where they buy their clothing. “That’s basically how I shop now because Austin is not known for its great shops, and being busy moms, that’s how we find things.”
Shameless Money-Saving TricksMay 1, 2010
By: Mina Azodi
Score Hot Clothes on Sale
Now you can buy designer clothing for supercheap without having to get in a catfight with other bargain-hungry shoppers at the mall. Check out sites like gilt.com, ideeli.com, and ruelala.com for daily online sample sales on brands that might typically be out of your price range. You can score clothes for up to 80 percent off, depending on the site. Read More>>>
What Sample Sale Sites Dominate Social Media?April 30, 2010
Though they’ve been around a while, online designer sample sales continue to dominate as a hot trend with consumers. Online Sample Sales have expanded into men’s wear, travel and home decor. It leaves a fashion marketer to wonder just who has the most clout among online consumers. Utilizing Attensity360 (formerly Biz360 Community Insights), I took a look at the top five online sample sales aimed at women, and here’s what I discovered:
Sample Sale Website Social Market Share
On microblogs (Twitter and Google Buzz), social networks (Facebook), online forums and discussion boards and mainstream media sites and blogs, Gilt Groupe is the #1 most talked about sample sale site, accounting for 50.7% of the conversations. Gilt is followed by Hautelook (36%), RueLaLa (8.3%), Ideeli (2.8%) and Daily Candy’s Swirl (2.2%). Editor’s Closet didn’t make the list.
Fashionably Statistics Challenge
Using community monitoring and social media monitoring software is a must for most marketing and PR professionals if we don’t already know the impact we’re having on our client campaigns. Even if we are already studying the impact of what we are doing, we must continually monitor social media for mentions of your brand, your competitors’ brands, and industry keywords. You should focus on possible red flags, as well as brand championship, and develop an engagement strategy with influencers, peers, customers and prospects. Instead of doing my usual analysis, I want to open this up to my fellow marketing and PR professionals. Let’s analyze Sample Sites!
- Based on the the top line information shown in the graphs and charts (above and below), where do you think each brand’s traction, or lack thereof, is coming from?
- In the now crowded sample sale site space – what would you recommend for your favorite sample sale site to gain more market share through their social media marketing?
- Would you recommend beefing up affiliate marketing programs or would you integrate an influencer incentive program into the mix?
The sky’s the limit on this one. Let’s strategize! You don’t have to be a seasoned professional to participate, you can offer any suggestion you like; I encourage students to sound off as well!
- Why isn’t anyone using VIDEO to communicate and connect with online consumers? I can think of at least 10 creative videos you could use for a sample sale site.
- Whose mobile experience is most lacking? Could you take gain online sales and traction through your mobile marketing?
Crowdsourcing Catching On With Fashion PackApril 6, 2010
By: Rosemary Feitelberg
At the shopping site Ideeli, members chime in all the time about the company’s various events on its community board. “People get in there and comment away about the items they see and the value. All that information is then funneled back to our merchants,” said ceo Paul Hurley. “Feedback is a gift. It’s an amazing opportunity to hear what people think of what you did and to do something about it.”
Staffers also comb the posts regularly to see if there is a need for specific sizes, colors and styles. The site’s Shop Talk section is another sounding board for visitors to weigh in about which brands they would like to see introduced. Giving shoppers their say and building an online community have helped to nearly double Ideeli’s membership to two million since November. “At the end of the day, if you don’t have the right products and the right brands, it won’t save you. But the fact that people feel involved and that we’re listening is an accelerator — absolutely,” he said. Read more>>>
Designer Discount Shopping SitesApril 2, 2010
Members-only shopping sites offer big names, big savings.
By Lisa Petty
Are you in the club?
Lately it seems that no gathering of girlfriends is complete without somebody gushing about a new designer shopping site that’s got her seeing stars. Stars like Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang, that is, on sale for mere hours at a time at seriously deep discounts.
Words like “addictive” are often tossed around with the names of these web-only retailers, offering up to 80 percent savings on high-end merchandise. But there must be a catch, right? You bet.
We researched three of the most popular sites for info on membership, brands and more. Read on for the designer discount lowdown:
Beyond The Rack
Membership to this “private shopping club” can be gained through an invitation from a friend or you can request a membership from the site on your own. Beyond the Rack warns, however, that application acceptance is subject to delays.
Be aware that you can’t just browse any old time. Sales begin at a specified hour, each featuring one brand or designer. Merchandise can only remain in your shopping cart for a limited number of minutes, so you’ve got to act pretty fast. Once the sale is over, it’s gone for good.
Featured Sales: On the upcoming sale calendar, we spied an “Incredible Watch Blowout” with big-name watch brands at up to 80 percent off. Also coming up, a sale on ladies’ clothing from labels like Hugo Boss and D&G teased savings of up to 60 percent off.
Also members-only, Ideeli touts “over 1 million members” on its site. It’s free to join, but a small upgrade fee will allow you earlier access to sales and exclusive events. As with Beyond The Rack, limited-time sales begin and end on the clock, so the shopping cart countdown and no-advanced-browsing also applies here.
Ideeli calls attention to its “over 400” brand partners, and also seems to feature more home décor and home accessories than other sites. Again, however, as sales are single-brand and are only listed a few days in advance, this could have been simply a matter of timing.
Featured Sales: Coming soon to Ideeli, a sale on DKNY Home products promised up to 40 percent off, and a 55 percent off sale on Lionel Handbags was also on the calendar. Other future sales will feature Clyde & Co. and Rebecca Beeson.
This collection of sites, co-founded by two friends (one a founding member of eBay), also includes Gilt Fuse and Gilt Man. Modeled after NYC invitation-only sample sales, Gilt Groupe advertises up to 70 percent off retail on its designer goods.
Limited time members-only sales last 36 hours and Gilt also provides designer “bios and reels” in advance of sales to give you an idea of what’s in store. Many guys have become fans of Gilt Man, which features brands like Hugo Boss and Converse.
Featured Sales: While we couldn’t peek at upcoming sales on Gilt Groupe, we spotted names like Vera Wang Lavender Label, Heys Luggage and Calvin Klein Collection.
Last but not least, a word to the wise: Be sure and check each site’s individual return policy before you shop. Often, only certain categories of purchases qualify for returns, and you may only be entitled to store credit in exchange.
The lowdown on invitation-only shopping websitesMarch 23, 2010
By Anna Rice
Invitation-only luxury shopping websites, such as Ideeli and (redacted), seem to be popping up everywhere lately.
These retailers offer high-end designer goods for a reduced price to members, but the sales last only a limited time. Ideeli's events have "secret starts," which members are notified of a couple hours in advance.
I asked these questions and more of Robin Lawson of Ideeli.
Both websites buy their merchandise directly from designers and the brands themselves, so they are able to negotiate a price beneficial to both parties. Cutting out the middleman is one of the reasons why their prices are so low, Meriles said.
The sites attempt to recreate the frenzy and excitement of designer sample sales by selling goods in limited quantities for short durations of time. Like most designer sample sales, they are invitation-only. Designer brands are very receptive to these websites, since it can be challenging for them to reach and engage an affluent audience, Lawson explained.
"They like how we [Ideeli] present their products, particularly the quality of our photography," she said. "We are a marketing solution for them, not a discount site - so they can clear inventory in very high volume fast, but also get a measurable marketing benefit. This in turn helps us tremendously in scoring the best merchandise for our members."
These websites also provide an outlet for small, up-and-coming designers to sell their products to the masses, she added. Usually, niche designers can only be found in boutiques in large cities.
Buyer beware, however, because many of these websites allow returns for merchandise credit only. When shoppers get caught up in the excitement of the exclusivity and limited-time offers of these shopping websites, they might not take the time to think the purchase all the way through. Make sure you check out the previews and know beforehand which items will match your current wardrobe/lifestyle.
Here is a quick guide to the invitation-only shopping sites on the web.
Ideeli - partners with over 300 brands and continues to add more. As well as sales, the website also hosts giveaways. Sales and giveaways have "secret starts," but members can preview the merchandise that will be available up to 10 days in advance. Items are priced between 50 to 90 percent off. Ideeli offers two types of membership. 2nd Row, which is free, is their main membership. They also have a 1st Row membership, which costs $83.88/year. These members can shop sales one hour earlier than 2nd Row members, and they have access to 1st Row only sales. Today, Joe's handbags and Cerruti 1881 cufflinks are on sale. Ideeli has provided Examiner readers with an invitation code, "Examiner." To join, click here.
Do you know of any other invitation-only shopping websites? Please leave a comment and let readers know how they can get invited!
Your Must-Click Web Sites!March 1, 2010
Whether you want hot new trends or fun ways to wear what you’ve got, jump-start your spring look with these 10 amazing style sites!
Social Media: The New Front Row of FashionFebruary 15, 2010
By: Lauren Benet Stephenson and Rachel Strugatz
Style Coalition has spotlighted the designers who are "doing it right" with the first annual Fashion 2.0 Social Media Awards, sponsored by Ideeli and Lucky Magazine. Garnering the most nominations, with four categories each, were Chanel and Diane von Furstenberg; followed by Dolce & Gabbana with three, and Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin and Tory Burch with two each. The winners were revealed on Feb. 10 and included DKNY for Best Twitter
The Members-Only Online Sample Sale PhenomenonFebruary 11, 2010
"Sample Sale" A phrase that can create feelings of excitement and fear simultaneously in any seasoned shopper. The long lines and crowded spaces, impulse buying, fighting over the last pair of size 7 Jimmy Choos. The adrenaline rush we get, similar to that of a gambler or lottery player, is what retailers and designers want you to feel, and bank on to sell their items. In these kinds of situations, all rational decision-making goes out the window on the quest to own a luxury item that is out of our reach...until now.
With the rapidly changing landscape of the retail marketplace, the traditional physical sample sale is becoming somewhat extinct. As shoppers increasingly turn to the web to do their buying and the recession takes its toll on retail earnings, retailers and designers left with excess inventory and lacking the ability to tap into their usual thrill-evoking in store shopping techniques, have had to come up with creative new ways to manipulate us into buying their leftover merchandise online. The result: the phenomenon of members-only online sample sale sites offering designer brand clothes and goods for a fraction of the cost.
Sites like Gilt Groupe, Ideeli, and Rue La La have become household names, and while retail sales continue to look grim across the board, these membership-only sale sites have been recording huge growth in members and revenues. Beyond the Rack, a private sample sale site in business less than 9 months, has raised $4.5 million in funding and is seeing 4 million monthly unique visitors, with revenue growing over 50 percent per month. This company is on pace to do $30 million in volume this year alone.
Gilt groupe, arguably the most well-known of the pack, was the first to bring the luxury sample sale to the US online market when they launched in 2007. Due to its outrageous success, with reported sales of more than $85 million in fiscal 2009, and expectations to generate sales of $400 million in fiscal 2010, Gilt has led the way for many copycats. Gilt is actually somewhat of a copycat itself, following the business model of France's Vente-privee.com, the pioneer and largest of these private sales sites, which currently operates in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. and expects turnover in 2010 to reach $1.18 billion.
But what methods are these sites using that are allowing for so much success? While the details of each of the sites differ somewhat, most of them seem to follow the same overall model. Here, I breakdown the tactics these online retailers use to tap into our consumer psychology and get us to buy things. Since I'm actually a member of Gilt Group and a big fan of online shopping in general, I'll also discuss how these sites benefit us as well. Note, some of these overlap, thus creating mutually beneficial relationships for the retailers, brands, and consumers. Possibly the reason for all the success?
Exclusivity & Added Value Gilt relies on its exclusivity to appeal to both the aspirational shopper and to the luxury brand who is careful about protecting their image. You wouldn't expect Gucci to sell to Walmart and in turn if Gucci was available at Walmart it wouldn't be such a coveted brand.
Gilt is invitation only, and membership to this private club comes with the promise of access to designer offerings at a fraction of the cost.
Gilt does a great job of invoking a feeling of status in a consumer; being part of a private club, gaining entry to private designer sales, purchasing fancy designer items; Gilt makes you feel like your one of the chosen few. (With the membership mark reaching over 2 million your more like one of the chosen 2 million).
The overstock market has always been huge, but the online space poses a challenge for Luxury brands who are apprehensive about becoming available to the masses. Premier Sites like Gilt shield themselves from search engine results, so they do not pop up in response to online searches for the brands they offer, thus these sites allow for a new distribution channel for brands to distribute their overstock items to a large audience while protecting the brands image.
The Flash Sale The time limit element is one of the the most interesting aspects of these sites. We've seen this before on QVC and Ebay. Here, online retailers are banking on that adrenaline rush to get consumers to make purchases, and the addiction to that high feeling to get you to come back, ie consumer retention. Gilt sales start at noon ET and last 36 hours. Merchandise is on a first come first serve basis, and once an item is is in your cart you have a 10-minute countdown to complete the purchase before you lose the item. Creating a feeling of urgency and competition (if i lose the item someone else will get it) leads consumers to make impulsive buying decisions. The high you feel when you score that coveted item at 70% off and beat the clock might block out the fact that you didnt really want it. The Outnet.com, Net-a-Porter's outlet site, exemplifies this concept well on its website when its says "Welcome to Flash Sales! A new way to shop sales fast. Don't blink, don't move and definitely don't hesitate as the clock is ticking."
Reach While expanding both geographical or customer reach is a benefit of all E-commerce in general, it works especially well in the online designer sample sale arena. Urban fashionables have always had access to fabulous sample sales due to proximity, but those less geographically fortunate haven't had the same luxury. Running to the latest designer warehouse sale on my lunch break was always commonplace to me living in New York City , but those shoppers living in the midwest may have never even been to a sample sale. Designers offering their items on these online sites have a real opportunity to increase their customer base, and to sell to shoppers who had no previous access to their items. That aspirational shopper comes into play here as well with sites like Gilt offering a premier and exclusive shopping experience to a customer who may not have been exposed to that luxury lifestyle before.
Convenience With sites like Gilt Groupe, Ideeli, and Rue la la offering luxury items at deeply discounted prices, shoppers can purchase items from the comfort of their own home. As I touched on in the first paragraph, a sample sales can be an ugly scene. The negatives of the sample shopping experience is enough to make even this shopper decide its sometimes not even worth the amazing bargains to even go. Bringing the sample sale to the consumer, rather than the other way around, makes for a better shopping experience for the consumer and in turn, designers could be reaching consumers like me who may have not attended the sale had it been in the store.
Email Frequency & Value With the membership only rule, Gilt has access to a database of over 2 million member emails. Gilt does a great job of keeping their members informed with the latest news and sales on the site and as a member of Gilt Groupe, I receive at least 1 email from the site daily alerting me of the upcoming sales.
While I am normally annoyed by the constant influx of emails from retailers, the Gilt message is one I'm always happy to get. There's a constant debate relating to frequency of emails and profits. While increased frequency may lead to a sudden jump in profits or site visits, in the long term frequent emails could cause annoyed consumers to unsubscribe from your customer list. On the other hand, its been proven that if the content of those emails is providing a value to the consumers , ie Gilt offering me fabulous discounts on luxury items, the consumer tends to stay on the subscriber list for longer. With sites like Gilt who offer a new sale every single day, daily emails are a vital component to their success. While retailers need to find the right balance of email frequency, they also need to measure the consumer value of those emails.
Viral Marketing These sites rely on viral and word of mouth marketing to spread the word. Invitation only means you must be invited by a friend who is already a member. Several of these sites offer some sort of compensation for members to invite friends, for example on Rue La La you get a $10 credit for each new member you invited who purchases something. In an interview with Shop.org, Gilt Groupe's CEO Susan Lyne discussed how Gilt relies on viral marketing to gain new customers, stating that the invite a friend element is the "biggest element of marketing that our company benefits from". Over half of Gilts new members are acquired through invite a friend. "It's a hugely valuable marketing tool for so many reasons, not the least being that you tend to open things from a friend a lot more quickly and a lot more readily than if it's coming from some institution".
The results of the Vente-Privee.com Business model has proven profitable. A study from the French LH2 Institute found that Vente-Privee increased sales in the traditional retail environment. Almost four out of ten members bought an item of a particular brand in a shop after having seen it on vente-privee.com, and 39% stating that the website gave them idea to buy a brand they never bought before.
Seeing the huge success of upstart rivals, luxury retailers have taken notice and are exploring ways to capitalize on the opportunity. Saks began testing invitation only "private" sales back in the fall, and Neiman Marcus has discussed similar plans. These high-end chains have seen outlets significantly out-perform full-price stores, and they hope to add another channel for off-price distribution. However, they have to be careful if they want to protect the brand cache.
Adam Bernhard, CEO of Hautelook.com, said Saks' entry into the business "reaffirms this is the new way of retail." However, he said the move is likely to confuse fashion designers and its other suppliers. "Saks is first and foremost a full price distributor of brands," he said. The Web test will cause suppliers to question, "Are they are full price retailer? Or a discount flash sale site?" he said.
The fate of these members-only online sales sites is still yet to be seen, yet with rumors swirling that bidders are scrambling to purchase Vente-Privee for an estimated $2-4 billion, it seems safe to say that we're just seeing the beginning of this global e-commerce phenomenon.
Shop Super-Crowded Sample Sales from Your CouchFebruary 9, 2010
By: DEBRA ALFARONE
They're designer labels to die for but why risk your life braving crowds of ruthless shoppers if you don't have to.
Many new websites let you buy discounted designer duds without waiting online, or even leaving your home.
Samantha Gannon, an NBC Connecticut Production Assistant, used to prefer going into stores so she could touch and feel what she was buying. But, when her fashionista cousin recommended she log on to Gilt (www.gilt.com), she checked it out, and was sold. Her first purchase -- a Rachel Leigh bracelet. "It was originally $170 dollars. That's the retail price, and I got it for $70."
That's almost 60 percent off. Gilt is far from the only private sample sale site. There're many, Ruelala (http://www.ruelala.com), ideeli --(www.ideeli.com), and Hautelook (www.hautelook.com) all offer high-end labels at bargain prices. All sell everything from jewelry to clothes to handbags to shoes.
Each weekday, there's a new sale.But, Gannon says, don't sit back.
"You have to be ready to go when it happens because, by the end of the day, you know everything is usually sold out."
We went online and found a pair of super-chic and edgy Rock and Republic platform pumps on Gilt. The site says they retail for $275, but they are on sale for $108. That's more than 60 percent off. And sure enough, a quick check of Rock and Republic's retail site shows that retail price is right. But, remember this, each sale's only open for 36 hours and they could sell out way before that.
Quinnipiac University Assistant Professor of Marketing Anthony Asare says there's a reason these private sale sites are popular.
They make you feel like you're part of an exclusive group. It's true, you have to be a member to buy, but membership is free and open to everyone.
Asare says the sites help maintain designer brands' cache while still unloading excess stock.
"They have to deal with getting rid of discounted bargain products but they also have to find a way to deal with all those things that doesn't hurt their brand image," Asare said.
Some of the sites will even give you a $25 credit if you refer a friend and they buy something. Find more deals at Want This.
Va-Va-Veruschka... Kourtney Kardashian's Weighty Issues... Rodarte Sport...February 3, 2010
ENVELOPE, PLEASE: Fashion has never met an awards ceremony it didn't wholeheartedly embrace - take the CFDAs or the Accessories Council Excellence Awards, which last year counted Lady Gaga as an attendee. This bodes well for the latest entrant to the circuit: the Fashion 2.0 Social Media Awards, established by the blogging network Style Coalition in partnership with sample-sale Web site ideeli to celebrate "fashion brands that have really embraced the online space," according to Yuli Ziv, one of the Coalition's founding members. "Last year was a turning point for many fashion brands to embrace social media, more closely connect with their fan base and establish valuable brand extensions," Ziv said. "These nominees epitomize those values and are paving the way for others in the fashion industry."
Diane von Furstenberg, Chanel, Burberry and Alexander McQueen are among the nominees in the seven award categories, which include Top Innovator, Best Online Video, Best Twitter Account, Best Facebook Page and Best Web Site. To come up with the nominees, Ziv and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,000 people - mostly bloggers and people active in fashion-related social networking on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. People can cast their votes on the Style Coalition and ideeli Web sites through Monday night. The winners will be revealed on Feb. 10 during an awards ceremony cohosted by Lucky magazine at W New York-The Tuscany hotel.
Consider DKNY, nominated for Best Twitter Account, a crowd favorite. Billed on her Twitter page as "well-placed fashion source bringing you behind-the-scenes scoop from inside Donna Karan New York & DKNY and my life as a PR girl living in NY," DKNY has gained fans - more than 17,300 followers at press time - thanks to her witty, honest and always-harried tweets about everything from her attempts to dress celebs for the Golden Globes (and, facing failure, finding solace in food) to her own weekend adventures ("Going to a bday dinner at a casual Thai place. Nothing kills me more than having to dress casual on a Sat nite. If u want casual do Sunday," read a recent tweet). - Nick Axelrod
Bargain shoppers can get a rush from speed shopping offered by online sample salesFebruary 1, 2010
Online sample sales offer deep discounts for the fashion-savvy shopper, if you can beat the rush
By JENNY B. DAVIS
Special to the Star-Telegram
When Jennifer Miller-Phillips sees a certain text message pop up on her cellphone screen, she knows she needs to act fast. That text message, from a Web site called Ideeli, tells her that an online sample sale is about to begin, and the clock will start ticking on her chance to score designer gear marked down as much as 80 percent from the retail price.
At the appointed hour, this busy Fort Worth mom will compete with a select group of fashion-savvy shoppers across the country undoubtedly scouring the site at the same time for the same smokin' deals. Thanks to Ideeli, Miller-Phillips says she has scored a butter-soft leather Gustto bag and a cream leather hobo bag from the exclusive Parisian label Lancel, all at prices far lower than what was printed on the tags.
Welcome to the exclusive world of invitation-only online sample sales. Accessible only by the code-holding few, these Web sites stage single-designer sales styled as "boutiques" nearly every day. Some boutiques are open a few days, some only hours. Notification goes out to members up to a week in advance, and only those members can gain access to the luxury merchandise ranging from Valentino frocks to Balenciaga bags to Helmut Lang menswear and Lucy Sykes New York childrenswear. Also in the mix are sunglasses, serving platters, suitcases, lip gloss sets, candles and sheet sets, all discounted up to 90 percent.
How the sites work
The easiest way to become a member is to be invited by another member, but some sites offer the chance to join a membership waiting list. The upside of the exclusivity: A smaller number of shoppers competing for the deals. The downside: The group can be very, very motivated.
"You have to jump on it," says Abby Stark, a junior at Texas Christian University. "If a good boutique is coming up, there are three of us who will run to the computer lab so that we don't miss anything, and then we'll run back to class."
But both women say shopping these sites is well worth the rush. Stark appreciates the discount. "Everything is remarkably marked down - at least 50 percent - and I feel like I am getting a great deal," she says.
For Miller-Phillips, it's about selection - many of the upscale handbags she covets just aren't widely available in Tarrant County. The ideeli site "gets the designers who are not always known and some who are up-and-coming, but they also get the Fendis and the Guccis," she says. Not to mention the convenience of shopping at home. "With a 2 1/2 -year-old, shopping anywhere is a full-day event," she says. "This is so much easier."
The incredible selection - as well as the need for speed - will only increase as membership continues to grow, say those in the business.
Many of the sites, which used to focus on clothes, shoes and jewelry, are also branching out. For example, New York City-based ideeli now offers home decor, electronics, travel and entertainment, says founder and CEO Paul Hurley. It's all part of giving buyers "access to things they want across all categories."
Online sample sales
Ideeli Typical savings: 50 percent to 80 percent
Boutique frequency: Eight-12 sales each week
Past brands: Celine, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Michael Kors
Returns: Yes, on select apparel and shoes
Referral bonus: $25 credit upon the invitee's first purchase
Why it's fab: This site holds frequent giveaways - prizes have included designer handbags, concert tickets and vacations. While basic membership is free, paid memberships provide early access to boutiques and other promotions.
To join: Star-Telegram readers can use this URL: www.ideeli.com, code: fwst
Online Sample Sales: The Year AheadJanuary 29, 2010
Consumers are visiting stores less, but they are signing up as members of private online sale sites by the millions, and beauty firms have noticed.
In the last year, the major sites — namely Gilt, Rue La La, Ideeli and HauteLook — have begun steadily building their beauty offering with a host of smaller brands. So far, none of the major beauty brands have been spotted on the sites.
Beauty-only sites also have surfaced, including Market For Drama, The Skinny, The Fairest and BeautyTicket.com. The pull of the sites has been particularly strong in the tough economic climate, when companies are burdened with excess inventory and crimped retail sales. The spoils of the sites also are alluring. Industry sources estimate a beauty brand can move thousands of units — or roughly $50,000 to $60,000 — over two to three days, the average length of a sale. Beauty brands that have already dabbled in the online sale sites, which discount up to 80 percent in some cases, include Smashbox Cosmetics, Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals, Clairsonic, M Labs skin care, Tarte cosmetics and Lisa Hoffman Skincare. But it’s not a sales strategy supported by all in the industry.Richard Murad, general manager of the skin care brand Murad, said, “We can’t see any justification in giving special pricing to online sale site companies that have not supported Murad over the years to basically compete with our existing customer base.”
Shop These Sites..and Save!December 8, 2009
Sample sales used to be just that-leftover clothes sold for cheap to industry insiders in New York's garment district. These days you can find reductions on designer merchadise wherever you live, says O's creative director, Adam Glassman. Here, his favorite resources...See Full Article>>
Vuitton Plea... Of Makeup and Mammals... House Fire at Nygard's Pad...November 16, 2009
"GRAZIE MILLE: Having just passed the one million mark for members, Ideeli’s ceo Paul Hurley is thanking his flock and new visitors with nearly $15,000 worth of prizes. The first U.S. invitation-only, sample sale site has partnered with Adam, Bliss, Tumi, Delano, Greenjets and Live Nation/House of Blues for a grand prize package and assorted weekly giveaways. Newbies can sign up to try their luck for the “Thanks a Million” initiative, which runs today through Feb. 1."
Psst! Private-Sale Shopping Sites Are HotNovember 5, 2009
Saddled with unsold merchandise amid the recession, makers of luxury goods are selling their wares through members-only shopping sites
During last year's bleak holiday shopping season, fashion designer Lauren Merkin greatly overestimated the number of handbags she'd sell in upscale retail stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's.
She found a good way to sell them elsewhere without consigning them to a bargain-basement rack that might tarnish the brand in the eyes of would-be customers. All year, she's been selling the excess goods for half-price on the members-only Web site Gilt Groupe, during 36-hour sales that are hidden from the view of the general public. "What we're selling is first-rung, but if it sits around at a sale I think the consumer gets the wrong impressions about the product," Merkin says.
Saddled with overstock from the retail recession, makers of luxury apparel, home furnishings, and other high-end goods are selling their wares at reduced prices through Gilt Groupe and other private shopping sites. Many of these companies help fuel pent-up demand by limiting membership, forcing would-be clients to park on a waiting list or be referred by existing members.
Lure for Bargain-Hunting Fashionistas
Luxury brands can use these members-only sites to hide markdown prices from retail shoppers willing to pay the full amount, while attracting scores of wannabe fashionistas willing to wait for haute couture at a low price. "The brands they offer are of such high quality, and because they're at discount prices it makes them much more attainable," says Meghan Donovan, a 24-year-old San Francisco resident who shops on Gilt.com.
The private-sale model also makes sense for Gilt Groupe and other sites that act as middlemen, because they carry no inventory and earn a wide margin on sales. Combined revenue at Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, and Ideeli, three of the top four players in the U.S., is expected to exceed $300 million this year. That, along with sales at other private-sale sites, makes up a significant portion of the estimated $1 billion a year in online sales of luxury apparel, says Sucharita Malpuru, e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research (FORR).
Online private-sale fever is spreading. In October, upscale department store Saks (SKS) held its own online "flash sale," a 36-hour event open only to customers on its mailing list. Cable company Comcast (CMCSA) recently announced it's getting into the space by opening Swirl, a private-sale site affiliated with its DailyCandy newsletter, which provides an insider's guide to shopping and nightlife in cities such as New York and Miami. And on Oct. 27, e-commerce services company GSI Commerce (GSIC) said it will buy the parent company of Rue La La for up to $350 million, a deal that may see a range of GSI clients like Kate Spade (LIZ), Ecko, Calvin Klein (PVH), and Adidas (ADSG) lining up for private sales on the site. "Our brands want to sell a lot of inventory in a very quick period of time and they want to do it discreetly," says Michael Rubin, CEO of King of Prussia (Pa.)-based GSI.
U.S. Market Heating Up
Rue La La, like Gilt Groupe and a few other private-sale players, was started in late 2007. But the business model dates at least to 2001, when French site Vente-Privee.com first took the common sample sales of high-fashion Parisian designers online. Vente-Privee.com has expanded to Germany, Spain, Italy, and the U.K., and has now worked with more than 600 brands in luxury apparel, wine, home decor, and other areas. In 2007, Boston-based venture capital firm Summit Partners acquired a 20% stake that valued Vente-Privee.com at about $1 billion. Dozens of copycat sites have sprung up in France, fueling a substantial e-commerce industry there.
The U.S. market for private-sale sites may be just heating up. "It looks like these sites are growing revenues significantly faster than any other part of retail," says JPMorgan (JPM) retail analyst Brian Tunick. At specialty retail stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Coach (COH), and Tiffany (TIF), same-store sales—those of stores open at least a year—have declined an average of 5% to 7% this year, Tunick says. By contrast, at the top private-sale sites, sales are growing fourfold and fivefold a year, he says. Venture capital firms have begun placing bets in the space. "We think the market is quite large," says Jeff Lieberman, a partner at Insight Venture Partners, which invested $10 million in members-only shopping site HauteLook in May.
Gilt Groupe had sales of more than $85 million in fiscal 2009, which ended in June. The company says it's on track to generate sales of $400 million in fiscal 2010. Analysts say it's a strong candidate for an acquisition or a public offering. "If Gilt doesn't get acquired, it would be an interesting" IPO, says JPMorgan's Tunick. Existing e-commerce players like Amazon.com (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY), as well as brick-and-mortar retailers like Saks and Macy's (M), are likely suitors, says Gartner (IT) analyst Gene Alvarez.
Expanding into New Areas
Just as the recession has contributed to gains by private-sale sites, signs of recovery in consumer spending may dampen the sites' prospects. "It will be tougher for the private-sale sites to get merchandise," says designer Merkin, who expects to sell off her remaining 2008 holiday inventory during a sale on Gilt Groupe this holiday season. Merkin and other brands expect more shoppers to buy full-price items, and are more closely tying the number of products shipped to expected demand, resulting in lower stockpiles of unsold goods.
Still, private-sale sites in the past year have expanded into new areas, such as online outlets for travel packages and marked-down home furnishings. The sites are a good showcase for young brands looking to get exposure and acquire new customers. "The online sale is marketing for new customer acquisition, but marketing that does not require an investment," says Annbeth Eschbach, president and CEO of Exhale, a New York-based chain of spas that offers discounted massages, facials, and manicures on Rue La La.
Others are looking to distinguish their sites by tying online sales to offline events. Billion Dollar Babes, a Hollywood sample-sale business bought by e-commerce company OneStop Internet last year and brought online, still holds live sales in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, replete with DJs, bars, and personal makeovers. Says John Tomich, OneStop Internet co-founder and CFO: "Everybody's got excess merchandise. It's the dirty little secret of the industry." For the growing ranks of members who shop private-sale sites, the secret is out.
The (Email) Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...October 15, 2009
As an email marketer, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't sit at my desk, look at my email and scratch my head in absolute bewilderment -- or amazement, depending on the day. On a good day, one of the marketing messages I get will really strike me as interesting, but I also have those days where I just have to scratch my head.
As marketers are focusing more on the strategy of their email and creating interesting elements that make people want to talk, we will see an increase in innovation. Some innovation will succeed and other attempts will sink like the Titanic, but at least, we as an industry are truly trying to evolve the email channel with the time -- and the communication channels available.
The one thing that this week's (infamous) WSJ article did not account for in its blatant statement about the end of email is the unwavering dedication and passion of industry mavens like David Baker, Lisa Harmon, Ryan Deutsch and others (me included). We love this space too much to let it go by the wayside -- but sometimes we all have to realize that it isn't just black and white, and we do have a little ways to go.
As I step off my soapbox, let me share the recent inbox moments that made my go "hmmm." For better or for worse, here they are:
Number 5: Bribing readers to open their email - (2 thumbs up)
I just love this! Who needs subject lines anymore, let's enter our readers in a sweepstakes just for opening (and rendering images) in their email. See how Southwest Airlines is driving opens for its email program.
Number 4: Not recognizing geography - (2 thumbs way down)
I am a big fan of Room and Board, but when I received a recent email about its new location in Los Angeles that finished off with "we are looking forward to meeting you," I was left with that "you don't know me at all" feeling. I live in Chicago...
Number 3: Including bacon in email (real bacon) - (2 thumbs up)
Everything is better with bacon, and Cooking.com knows it! How could you resist opening and interacting with an email that is all about what you can cook with my favorite (and yours, admit it) ingredient, BACON! There just isn't enough bacon in email today (and not the 2007 definition of email BACN -- email you want, just not right now).
Number 2: Creating a sense of urgency in email (2 thumbs way up)
One thing that member-only shopping sites such as Hautelook, Ideeli and Gilt Group have done is put some urgency back into email. When they tell you that products are available for a limited time only, or that the next Dior sale starts in 15 minutes, people listen. A tried and true tactic, leveraged effectively.
Number 1: Keeping me on the ball (2 thumbs way, way up)
I am LUVin' Southwest these days (no, they are not a client). In advance of my trips, I receive a friendly reminder that my trip is coming, providing me opportunities to convert against an early check-in offer, check the weather in my destination and even let me read what other Southwest travelers have said about the destination.
Let's face facts -- none of these things are ground-breaking, but clearly not enough marketers are employing the basic tactics that make email marketing so amazing. Iif they were, would these things really make me go hmmmm?
Private Sales Burgeon on the WebAugust 11, 2009
Privacy clearly has its attractions.
While online discounters such as Bluefly and Overstock have been around for years without impressive results, the online sample sale format known as a “private sale” has caught on worldwide like Champagne at a wedding, showing impressive growth and attracting venture funding. The hype and froth over firms such as Vente-Privee, Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli are reminiscent of the dot-com bubble.
On the one hand, it seems too good — or too gimmicky — to be true. On the other hand, the off-price market has been estimated at $29 billion a year, according to analyst Brian Tunick of J.P. Morgan, and it stands to reason at least some percentage of that could move online. (In the apparel world, online retail accounts for about 10 percent of sales.)
The magic words seem to be “private” and “sale.” The bargains are hidden behind a firewall where only members can see them — although becoming a member is usually not difficult. (Some sites are invitation only, and others will accept anyone who registers.) The sales are up for a limited time, usually 36 hours, and generally focus on only one brand. Returns and exchanges tend to be limited. Discounts can run as high as 70 percent off.
Because nonmembers (and search engines) can’t see what labels are for sale, even luxury and designer brands such as Gucci, Zac Posen and Carolina Herrera don’t mind clearing their excess inventory this way. The deep discounts, the aura of exclusivity and the convenience of shopping online appeal to consumers — who are signing up in the millions to join the sites.
The results? Many items sell out within minutes.
“This is an elegant and efficient solution,” said Ben Fischman, chief executive of private sale Rue La La, which is the first private sale company to offer access via mobile phone. Manufacturers sell direct to the private-sale companies and get a better return on their dollar than if they waited until the end of the season, he said.
“Anytime you put ‘sale’ together with ‘brand,’ it’s going to resonate with people,” said Forrester Research retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.
The success and fast growth of many of the companies has taken the industry by surprise. Gilt Groupe and Rue La La have racked up impressive growth and millions of members in very little time, spawning imitators and inspiring even established retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Revolve and Net-a-porter to experiment with the limited-time format. Burberry has also held sales on its online shop advertised only to a select group of “friends and family.”
Gilt Groupe, which has received a total of $45 million of venture funding, says it expects to do $400 million in sales this fiscal year and will be profitable in a few months. Rue La La, which has received $25 million in backing, has more than $100 million in revenues and has been profitable for the last three quarters, said Fischman. In France, Vente-Privee, which pioneered the concept, pulled in 491 million pounds, or $812 million at current exchange rates, in 2008 and is on track to generate sales of about 600 million pounds, or $992 million, this year, according to the company, which sells everything from designer apparel to cars and refrigerators. It has more than 7 million members, is one of the largest e-commerce sites in France and is expanding into other European countries and the U.K. At the moment, Vente-Privee has no plans to open in the U.S., said a spokeswoman.
And there are more entrants flooding in. Comcast’s DailyCandy, the newsletter for retail launches and sample sales, plans to introduce its own private sale site soon and has been hiring in Los Angeles. The site will feature both established and emerging brands, with an emphasis on fashion-forward looks, said a want ad from the company. Comcast, which also owns the E and Style networks, bought DailyCandy in 2008 for about $125 million. (The company did not return calls.)
Net-a-porter’s off-price site, The Outnet, holds occasional limited-time sales with no returns on Fridays. Last month, online contemporary boutique Revolve launched a private-sale site called Rewind (at rewind-rewind.com).
Other private sale companies include HauteLook, Ideeli and Editor’s Closet. Woot, open to the public, offers limited time sales on all kinds of closeouts, not usually apparel.
Nor are the sites limited to pure plays. Now brick-and-mortar retailers are adopting the format as well. Since March, Neiman Marcus has experimented with a handful of limited time sales it calls “Midday Dash.” For a few hours last Thursday, the retailer offered a few dozen men’s shoes and accessories from Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and others at 50 percent off. An
e-mail about the sale was sent only to a select group of Neiman Marcus customers. Neiman’s is testing demographics and buying patterns, said spokeswoman Ginger Reeder, who demurred when asked how shoppers have responded to the format, citing competitive concerns.
“I think the steroid was the recession,” said John Tomich, founder of e-commerce provider One Stop, which recently bought well-known offline sample sale company Billion Dollar Babes and built out its online private sale business. The company has been profitable for years but recently took $13.3 million in funding to expand. “If it were 2005, [private sales] wouldn’t have grown so fast. Everything’s 50 to 70 percent off. It’s going to be interesting to see how brands that aren’t discounting guide their way through this. The behavioral patterns of the customers are changing.”
In general, the off-price business is doing well right now, whereas luxury is not, with companies such as TJ Maxx reporting growth, while sales at some luxury firms are down 20 to 30 percent.
It seems logical to expect off-pricers such as Nordstrom Rack, Ross, TJ Maxx and Loehmann’s to get into the business, but so far at least they have revealed no such plans. (TJ Maxx did not return a phone call seeking comment.) While these off-pricers buy from both middlemen and directly from manufacturers, in the past agreements with brands have prevented them from selling online.
The success of the format may hinge on offering better deals than the traditional off-price format. Gilt Groupe, for example, usually offers 60 percent off, and much of the time the goods are end-of-season, so still available in stores. The site offers a deeper and broader selection of designer brands than traditional off-pricers such as Bluefly. A recent Travota sale, for example, offered spring merchandise at 60 percent off at the same time department stores started their spring sales. A recent Rag & Bone sale offered overstock from the current end-of-season as well as past seasons that had previously been for sale at Rag & Bone’s own sample sales in its showroom. Most prices were about the same as Rag & Bone’s own sample sales. For example, the Boyfriend jean was $98, marked down from $242.
Bluefly typically offers 40 percent off regular merchandise and 20 percent off luxury brands such as Gucci and Prada. Merchandise tends to be one year old. The site also has frequent one-day “take 10 percent off” sales. Like Gilt, Bluefly charges for shipping.ast year, the company produced $95 million in sales, with a loss of $11 million.
Bluefly has said it has no plans to adopt the new format because the no-returns policy would not be in keeping with its customer service, but the company has staged private sales with Circa, a wholesale estate jewelry company.
Yoox has bucked the trend and is doing well, perhaps because it offers Italian brands and new non-discounted merchandise. It plans to go public this year. The company had 101 million euros, or $148.6 million, in revenues last year, and more than doubled its earnings to 9.2 million euros, or $13.5 million. The company also runs e-commerce sites for brands such as Diesel, Pucci, Marni, Emporio Armani and Moschino. It also offers vintage and new merchandise through exclusive designer collaborations.
But while the private sale sector might be booming now, with so many companies entering the segment, there’s sure to be a shakeout ahead, predicted One Stop’s Tomich. “Clearly you can’t have 15 people doing this,” he said. “Our strategy is not to worry about it. As long as our list is growing, sales are growing, our off-line events are growing, we will continue to focus on that,” he said.
The biggest challenge seems to be finding enough merchandise. “There’s a real fight right now for product,” said Tomich. “For interesting, compelling goods and services for people to buy. Everyone wants Marc Jacobs and Seven jeans, you’ve got all these guys fighting for the same product.”
“That’s what keeps me up the most at night,” said Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Gilt’s co-founder and chief merchandising officer. “A lot of designers have cut back on production.”
Gilt Groupe’s stylish presentation also limits what they can sell. “Our photo costs are high, we use models and have hair and makeup,” said Wilkis Wilson. “We can’t sell brands that don’t have deep quantity and inventory, so that limits who we can feature.”
The strategy at most companies is to expand into new categories. Most private sale firms have quickly gone beyond women’s clothing to men’s and infants, then into beauty and home. Rue La La is like a Macy’s, with toasters and blankets, whereas Gilt Groupe takes more of a Barneys New York approach, with sheets from Frette, vases from Jonathan Adler and Odegard rugs.
Certain sales move more quickly than others. For example, Hervé Léger, Christian Louboutin and Laura Mercier were some of the fastest-disappearing sales in recent memory, said Wilkis Wilson. Gilt also does a large business in fine jewelry, which cannot be returned, but the inventory moves more slowly. “People take their time with fine jewelry. The sell-throughs are very high, it does incredibly well, but the speed is not the same. Maybe they’re doing research,” she said.
The highest price point Gilt has sold is $12,000. The company offered a bracelet for $23,000, but it did not sell. “We’ll try again,” said Wilkis Wilson. “It’s all about testing.”
Gilt now is expanding both on the geographical and product fronts. In March, the company launched a Japanese site and is looking into other locations. On Wednesday, Gilt will open its contemporary shop Fuse, similar to Barneys Co-op, with labels such as Generra and C&C California. Some of Gilt’s 1.2 million members log on each day to look but don’t buy because the prices and styles are too high for them. Fuse will target customers outside of New York, particularly college students.
“We want to get the word out with a younger audience that loves fashion and doesn’t have access to sample sales,” said Wilkis Wilson.
And Gilt isn’t stopping there. In the fall, the company plans to introduce a travel site with luxury and niche hotels and getaways, ski chalets and summer rentals. Wine is on the to-do list.
Rue La La is also no stranger to the creative buy, offering Father’s Day gift packages such as a gift certificate to Palm Springs, Calif., a Palm cookbook and a delivery of Palm steaks.
But with all the new entrants and expansion into new markets, the question remains whether these sites can sustain decent margins and generate a sizable profit rather than just breaking even, said Forrester’s Mulpuru. In other words, are they a boo.com or an Amazon? The key will be volume, she said.
As far as Rue La La’s Fischman is concerned, the sky is the limit.
“We believe the opportunity in the United States is enormous,” he said.
The “Ideel” Shopping InviteApril 3, 2009
The “Ideel” Shopping Invite
I’m sure a lot of you have been to a sample sale or a form of it. You stand in line for hours, wait your turn to get in, and bamm now you and the Grandma in her “inspired” Chanel suit are fighting for the last pair of Jimmy Choo’s at 80% off. Ladies there’s no need anymore thanks to Ideeli. Ideeli has taken the sample sale, warehouse sale model to the 21st century by moving it online. No more waiting in line, no more hair pulling and waisting your time trying to find something. According to Ideeli: It’s an invitation-only shopping community which creates daily online events providing members with the “ideel” shopping experience: privileged access to the most sought-after brands and products, often at privileged prices. According to me: Ideeli is the best place on earth for samples sales, selling designer goods from the likes of Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, and Pratesi at up to 70% off the retail price. Plus there’s other perks like giveaways, try that at a traditional sample sale. How do I get an invitation? Don’t panic I’ve got one for you click the image below or here to get your invitation. Simply type in your email address and you’re on your way to shopping smart.
How Luxury Retailers Can Retain Their CustomersMarch 25, 2009
By Tanya Benedicto
The economic slump is still lurking store aisles across America, especially the swanky ones. February sales at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom (JWN: 19.96, -1.05, -5%) both showed staggering declines -- but neither as alarming as the 26% plummet at Saks (SKS: 2.84, 0.2322, 8.9%).
Senior fashion editor Lori Holliday Banks at Tobe Report, a fashion retail consultant and industry strategist firm, said stores should focus on customer loyalty programs to revive sales. These programs allow stores to collect data from member purchases to profile their customers' activity and preferences. They could then further lure clientele by tailoring rewards and coupons to their fashion interests and shopping habits.
According to a 2008 study by First Data, only 12% of consumers belong to discount-store loyalty programs. However, these members actively use their membership rewards plan during 72% of their visits. Only 21% of shoppers belong to department-store rewards programs, but use their membership 83% of their visits.
While department stores have the strongest active shopping percentage of fashion retailers, specialty stores have the highest rate of signed members at 51%, who use their memberships on 75% of their visits.
While many chain stores offer credit cards, frequent shopper discounts or prize and monetary rewards, Banks said stores must create more innovative programs, and that "price alone does not bring about sales."
Saks learned this the hard way when its 70%-off designer sales only resulted in a 15% drop and a $99 million loss.
"Loyalty stores need to bring about more unusual perks or benefits for their shoppers. Perks that appeal to people who are so busy. The more you can offer to customers who are looking to save and spend, the more they are likely to visit your store and bring you business," Banks said.
Last month, American Express (AXP: 20.6125, 2.1825, 11.84%) teamed up with legendary designer Diane von Furstenberg to present a runway show during Fashion Week; some invitations were issued, but tickets were on sale exclusively for American Express cardmembers.
"The only people that could buy it are AmEx holders, so that gave them something special that no one could have," said Banks. "It was an exclusive experience and a novel form of status."
There are fashion-forward shoppers who must pinch pennies, but can't abandon their favorite designers despite an economic storm. New Web sites such as The Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and ideeli are catering to their luxury needs. Members shop online fire sales that last about 24 hours and could sell out in minutes.
Members have access to 70% off premium brands and exclusive deals -- but also the privilege of being "in the know." Emails and text messages alert members hours before the limited-time sales. While Gilt and Rue La La both started less than a year ago, ideeli launched in June 2007. Membership is now in the hundreds of thousands, and it expects to surpass the one-million-member mark this year.
"We saw no slowdown quarter to quarter, and by the fourth quarter in 2008 we doubled in size and revenue" said Paul Hurley, founder and CEO of ideeli. "I think it's because we are helping brands to clear inventory, but we also do it in a way that is positive for the brand -- it is a discreet and exclusive offer."
Some retailers refuse to trade down with deep discounts via red-tag signs on their front windows or a secretive shopping Web site. Steve Pruitt, senior analyst at Blacks Consulting/Blacks Retail Analysis, says that while fashion junkies are slowing down, they are still buying these labels.
Blacks Retail Analysis, which specializes in luxury retail, advises these upscale merchants to focus on constant flow of new goods. He advises on a lot of rotation in vendor structures, more private label goods and unique product.
"Stores should have a reason to call a customer or show off new goods in the window," said Pruitt.
Blacks Retail also advises retailers to be in the know when it comes to what's hot in a cold economy. For instance, collectibles are likely to sell in luxury stores, as buyers could mix and match separate pieces.
Many shoppers, of course, just look to the magazines and the icons. Michelle Obama takes Vogue's front page this month, sporting designs by both Jason Wu and J. Crew.
Mandi Norwood, former fashion editor for Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, said a fashion statement from the First Lady is also a sign of the times.
"Her ability to mix mall accessories with designers commissioned to dress her shows great style is about spotting great pieces and combining them, irrespective of price or label," said Norwood, also author of Michelle Style: Celebrating the First Lady of Fashion. "Mrs. Obama proves that you can wear affordable pieces without compromising on style."
She added that while no one needs inspiration to shop smart, the times are certainly demanding it.
Alternative Sales Models Emerging To Target Changing Shopper PatternsMarch 20, 2009
Brick and mortar expansion may have grinded to a halt during the "Great Recession," but innovative new shopping mediums are still emerging across various distribution channels. With mobile commerce emerging the Web becoming more prevalent as a driver of purchase decisions, a new group of alternative sales models are emerging.
"Retailers looking to connect with customers via new marketing vehicles and media-(including in-store networks, new digital sign technologies, mobile marketing and m-commerce, and pop-up, temporary retail stores) --is among one of the most prevalent retail trends," says Mary Brett Whitfield, Senior VP with Retail Forward. "The current economic environment is a powerful motivator for retailers to develop and test new business models that provide added value for customers." Whitfield says these new models are especially important in an environment when retailers should be looking for ways to add value other than by instituting across-the-board cost cuts.
Analysts point to the changing media landscape as another driver of more innovative models popping up on online. "With traditional advertising vehicles like printed newspapers drying up and retailers increased desire to connect with consumers directly and more effectively, there is great interest in finding winning approaches to attract new and retain/grow existing consumers," says Kevin Sterneckert, Research Director, Consumer Centric merchandising at AMR Research.
Ideeli: An invitation-only shopping community where shoppers can enjoy daily online events to optimize their experience, often at privileged prices. Ideeli offers products not yet available in stores, "finds" from abroad, giveaways and prizes, Ideeli offers members a forum for discovery, selection and engagement. Ideeli strikes the affluent and aspirational customer at the core with exclusive products and pre-season products offered to members before anyone else. Spotlighting brands like Dior, Estee Lauder, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, and others, Ideeli holds online charity events with various charity organizations, during which a portion of the proceeds from these sales goes to a particular non-profit organization.
AMR's Sterneckert expects to see a flood of these applications over the next seven months leading up to the 2009 holiday season. "Winners will be those that offer more than just item and price," he says. "I believe the mobile platforms that exist today will foster an influx of new channels that consumers will have available to them to identify and purchase items that they want from the retailers that present the best offers."
He advises that, although cool, innovated interfaces will drawn in the masses, those who offer social networking aspects, exclusive offers, comparative information, and other features that represent a different experience will have true staying power.
Retail TouchPoints readers can experience the invite-only Ideeli shopping community at this link using invite code "touchpoints" until May 1.
ideeli.com fashions a business model to support fast growthFebruary 12, 2009
Members-only retail site ideeli.com, which does all its business through special sale events, has recorded surging revenue growth since launching with e-commerce in May 2007, says CEO and founder Paul Hurley.
Offering up to three special sale events each day on fashion items like handbags and sunglasses, ideeli has leveraged exposure in social networks to build up a loyal base of customers who keep coming back for the deals and the fun in seeing and sharing information on new and unusual fashions, Hurley says.
In addition to the shopping, ideeli members have access to online fashion reports produced by professional writers and an online forum for discussing trends with other members. We think of our shopping experience as a media event, a source of entertainment and a place of community, Hurley says.
Ideeli offers free access to its site to anyone who registers with an e-mail address; for those who pay an annual fee of $83, it offers special treatment such as early access to sales. The ideeli model offers operating advantages over conventional retail sites. Because it attracts a steady stream of member-buyers without having to carry stockpiles of regular inventory, ideeli usually sells out of its products without spending much on marketing, Hurley says.
He adds that ideeli may have been successful in the days before online social networks, but growth would have been slower and tougher to achieve. Our key tool is social networks as word-of-mouth grows about our great deals, he says.
New Sport: Online Fashion ShoppingFebruary 1, 2009
Members-only sites offer high-fashion steals to quick clickers.
By Lisa Marsh for MSN Lifestyles
In the past few months, the online fashion shopping for fashion has been transformed.
While there are still sites out there that offer what's simply shopping that's much faster than a catalog transaction, the ones that are getting the attention -- and business -- have turned shopping into an online sport. Sites like Ideeli.com, have brought the thrill of sample sales to the Web and made them accessible to people outside fashion's inner circle.
Ideeli.com, which was the first of these sites to launch (in June 2007), prides itself on creating more than just a shopping site. It offers shoppers original editorial content and a community of like-minded customers.
"We consider ourselves a lifestyle site," says CEO Paul Hurley. "When you ask people what comes to mind when they think of our site, they say,"fun and great deals, community, editorial and brands no one else carries."
"We're invitation-only for members and their friends," he continued. "We have daily shopping events and offer spectacular prices -- brands [like Christopher Fischer cashmere, Dior sunglasses and IKE watches] an average of 60 percent off -- and we have a lot of giveaways for our members."
Ideeli.com also offers a premium membership called First Row, which, for an additional $85 per year, grants access to sales one hour earlier than those with free memberships. "We added First Row to give our best customers more flexibility; it made great sense to us," Says Hurley.
How do these sites offer such great bargains?
The economy is definitely driving consumers to look harder for values and bargains, which is increasing traffic to these sites -- but it's also making it easier for these sites to offer amazing fashions at a fraction of their regular retail prices.
When the economy took a nosedive, "Retailers were not able to cancel orders for spring," said Ideeli.com's Hurley. These sites stepped in to pick up excess orders from the designers. "So our members will benefit with the value in what they're getting from us. And we're helping brands clear out inventory, which turns out to be important these days."
He added, "Selling at a discount is not good for a brand, but for a limited time, it's okay, and many [brands] are reaching a new audience through us."
And if you love the hunt, but don't have a ton of time to do it, there's Shopittome.com, a Web site that allows you to enroll with your preferences, including desired brands and sizes. It will search the Internet and send you a daily "Sale Mail" that shows you what went on sale that day.
"It automatically shows you things that you might not even know you like," explains founder and CEO Charlie Graham. "This leads shoppers to spend money better and make the most of the money they are spending. You're buying things you need when [they're] on sale." He adds, "Now it happens to be a really good time to shop because everything is on sale. "
Follow this special link for MSN.com readers to join Ideeli.com: www.ideeli.com/in/media?mi=msn
The invite code is "msn" and is valid through the end of March. Readers can also go to ideeli.com and enter the code but it's easier to just use the URL.
Ideeli.com, Ideal Online Shopping?January 13, 2009
by Jason Campbell
Last year, Ideeli established itself as a model among the invitation-only online shopping sites that sell drastically discounted designer goods. With traditional retail sales plunging, we wanted to learn just how foolproof the discounted e-commerce machine is in a dicey economy. Paul Hurley, Ideeli's CEO, enlightened us on the consumer mindset for discount shopping, the sales results during this past-holiday season and his designs on social networking. If this illuminating interview sparks your interest, check out Ideeli's upcoming sales on Marc by Marc Jacobs watches (Tue Jan 13), Ungaro shoes (Wed Jan 14) and Chloé sunglasses (Thur Jan 15) using an invite code especially for you, our readers.
JC Report: How did you fare this holiday season?
Paul Hurley: We did very well. We've doubled our business in the last 90 days. We haven't seen any changes in purchasing patterns and our members continue to buy. Despite consumers being cautious about spending this season, we served up great values that got our members excited about holiday shopping.
JCR: With all the discounts this season due to the economy, will consumers expect discounts all the time?
PH: Not necessarily. It's true that in this post-holiday season, consumers are spending less with traditional retailers. They have witnessed deep discounts on massive volumes of merchandise, often on products and brands they cherish. The perceived value of many products and sometimes brands (for the smaller ones) has been tremendously shaken during the Fall and Holiday season. However, we do think customers will continue to spend at full price. They will spend in products and experiences that meet their newly redefined needs and priorities. Retailers must recognize this and understand how their customer priorities have changed.
JCR: Will Ideeli coast in this new deep discount economy?
PH: We think we have a powerful model to create strong value for our members and our brand partners. Quality, service and price do not suffice to create loyalty today. We're focused on creating a true community with our members to drive trust, authenticity and engagement. We go beyond the sample sale paradigm, and we think it serves our core business while driving revenue to the core channels of our brand partners.
JCR: How does this bode for Ideeli's sales efforts this year?
PH: Ideeli has seen tremendous growth this past year and shows no signs of stopping. We have hundreds of thousands of members now and expect to pass the million member mark in 2009. This continued membership growth will bode well for Ideeli sales this year.
JCR: Which brands/products sell the best on Ideeli?
PH: We've seen a range of products, brands and price points perform well, which is a testament to the merchandise Ideeli offers. Handbags, shoes, sunglasses, clutches and costume jewelry have all been standouts. We've seen amazing velocity of sales on brands such as Celine, D&G and Christian Lacroix.
JCR: What distinguishes Ideeli from other players in the space?
PH: We go beyond fashion and touch many lifestyle categories. Not only do women find the best of fashion and accessories on Ideeli, but also fragrances, skincare and experiences such as pre-sale concert tickets, fashion show tickets and travel deals. Ideeli also offers fabulous giveaways-members can win amazing products and experiences. Ideeli is a community first, a community where our affluent and aspirational members can socialize with other privileged shoppers. This allows us to create a forum to evangelize brands. Ideeli was the first invitation-only shopping website to launch in the US and has the most experience in its arena: our first event ran on the 1st of June, 2007-a Dolce & Gabbana giveaway.
JCR: How does the company plan to grow in 2009?
PH: Growth will continue to be fueled through multiple avenues. The invite-only nature has prompted friends to invite friends, making Ideeli incredibly viral. This will continue and expand with the introduction of new social networking and community features as well as new product categories and brands. Ideeli is situated at the intersection of shopping and social networking, all leading to great partnership opportunities.
Freeze frameJanuary 2, 2009
The New Year is has arrived: It's time for resolutions and for putting your best face forward.
But too often, jam-packed schedules, daily stress and the passing of time can take a toll on your skin, making you feel less than camera-ready. Thanks to Freeze 24-7, however, this no longer has to be the case: its revolutionary patent-pending Age-Less Technology helps produce a nearly instant visible reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Freeze 24-7's mission is to be on the cutting-edge of product development, uniting the latest scientific and cosmetic advancements to make products that deliver on their promises. In fact, in an independent study, 100% of the respondents (everyone!) experienced a 50-90% visible reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles within ten minutes of a single application. These remarkable results have caught the eyes of leading beauty authorities worldwide and Freeze 24-7 has been featured in numerous magazines and television programs including Bazaar, InStyle, Lucky, Rachel Ray, Fox News and the Today Show.
Now one of my favorite sites, ideeli brings this breakthrough brand to you! In this exciting giveaway, FIVE winners will receive the Daily Essentials Skincare System , complete with Skin Glace Daily Detoxifying Cleanser & Mask, IceCrystals Anti-Aging Prep and Polish and IceCream Double Scoop Intensive Anti-Aging Moisturizer. Winners will be chosen at random from the people who register for the site through this link by January 10: www.ideeli.com/in/media?mi=ebeauty
After all, isn't it about time you were ready for your close-up?