What Revolve’s Triumphant IPO Debut Means for the Influencer Economy

In its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Revolve Group Inc. saw its share price nearly double from its initial public offering of $18. The e-tailer, under the ticker RVLV, closed on Friday at $34.65 — a nearly 90% spike from its offer price and at the high end of its expected range of $16 to $18. It marked the third-best trading debut in the United States this year, soaring as much as 111% and raising $212 million to end the day with a market cap of $1.47 billion.

The moment was a big one for the Los Angeles-based company, which was founded in 2003 and bills itself as “the next-generation fashion retailer for millennial and Generation Z consumers.” Its stock continued to impress Wall Street, climbing 7.5% to $37 in midday trading on its second day as a public company.

Revolve has successfully capitalized on today’s burgeoning influencer economy, boasting a network of about 2,500 social media-savvy tastemakers, models and actresses — including Song of Style blogger Aimee Song, reality star Kendall Jenner and “Pretty Little Liars” lead Shay Mitchell — to sell its merchandise assortment of more than 45,000 clothes, shoes and accessories.

Last month, Song revealed her own in-house collection on the site, aptly named after her blog, marking the company’s latest move in its influencer-driven brand strategy. It also hosted its annual activation at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — which accommodated upwards of 90 influencers from more than a dozen countries this year — as well as staged its own two-day mini-music festival dubbed Revolve Festival, complete with a star-studded lineup and Instagram-worthy backdrops.

In 2018, Revolve posted profits of $36 million on revenues of $498.7 million and, according to its website, records around 9.4 million unique visitors each month. The digital marketplace maintains a portfolio of 21 private labels.

Revolve’s offering also comes nine months after competitor Farfetch Ltd. launched its own IPO in September — the latest in a string of retailers to hit the public markets. (The latter raised $855 million in its IPO.) Both platforms heavily rely on Instagram and influencers to promote their products, as an increasing number of consumers turn to their social media feeds for fashion inspiration.

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