Rebecca Minkoff has always believed in the power of digital and social media, but she remembers a time when most of the fashion industry wasn’t buying it.
“In the early days, when I realized bloggers were talking about my bags, I decided to interact with these girls directly,” the designer recalled at the WWD Fashion Forum in Las Vegas. “We were the same age and going through firsts together, sharing experiences and creating dialogue.”
But buyers and fashion insiders discouraged Minkoff from speaking to her consumer in such an intimate way.
How things have changed.
Today the challenge is staying ahead in the digital-obsessed world, said Uri Minkoff, CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, who shared the stage with his sister at The Venue in downtown Las Vegas. “As the luxe sector grew and e-commerce became ubiquitous, we had to ask ourselves what our experience was going to offer, how we could be different, he said.
To do that, the company, who is exhibiting at FN Platform this week, has invested heavily in social media and using a variety of platforms to speak to her core millennial consumer in an authentic way. In addition to focusing on Instagram and Snapchat, among other platforms, the brand went a step further with its digital push, filming the February 2015 runway show with virtual reality cameras.
On the retail front, the brother-sister team is charging ahead with its “store of the future” concept, which will be front and center at the new Los Angeles flagship, the Minkoffs’ largest store in the world. “We want to create the new standard for translating online into brick-and-mortar,” Uri Minkoff told the crowd of executives, designers and retailers.
In addition to featuring the first-ever storefront for men’s brand Uri Minkoff, the L.A. location will have an athleisure space and special section called Minkoff Projects. Rebecca Minkoff revealed that Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Y7 Yoga will be the the first brand showcased in the project space.
Consumers visiting all of Minkoff’s stores can use an interactive screen to select the items they want to try on — from the moment they walk through the doors. Once inside the dressing rooms, they can tap another screen to have new styles brought in or adjust lighting. “Thirty percent of consumers want that outfit completer,” Uri Minkoff said, regarding shoppers’ tendency to add more items as they go.
The executive noted that the company has benefited from the plethora of data it gathers from its tech-driven locations. “We find out how many people come in, what’s converting and what styles people are mixing together,” Minkoff said, noting that ready-to-wear is selling three times as fast as the company thought it would.
There’s no doubt that the tech revolution will continue — and Rebecca Minkoff wants her female millennial consumers to play a major role in the future. “Tech has always been in the hands of a white male, but what if our customer was creating [new platforms]?” she said.
That’s why the designer decided to partner with Intel on a new initiative that encourages young women from all over the world, particularly in fast-growing markets like Europe and Asia, to get into the tech game. Minkoff plans to hit college campuses this fall to begin spreading awareness of the project.