By  on February 1, 2017
Motif accessories

The perils of being a blogger, vlogger or other influencer boils down to a single truth: grow too much and risk losing clout with that carefully built following, or do nothing and lose out on the potential business opportunity that comes with those followers.Venice, Calif.-based accessories platform Motif wants to help.The start-up, which sells hundreds of different styles of jewelry online and through an app, works with influencers from across channels to help them create their own accessories line while retaining authenticity.“Regardless of size, influencers are going through a life-stage development where they’ve created huge opportunities for themselves as influencers, but at some point, you have to choose to move from an influencer into becoming a brand or supporting a brand,” said Motif's head of strategic partnerships Stuart La Brooy. “Big influencers are starting to tap out that market. They’ve, to a certain extent, exhausted themselves.”La Brooy, who started SK-II’s Beauty Bound Asia program to find influencers, founded the company with Elaine Shuainan Zhu, formerly of Facebook Asia, and Gordon Wang, who previously worked at Google. Motif works with companies such as Montblanc or Tiffany to help influencers create their own shops on the Motif platform to sell their lines.The company launched in October and counts 40 people across its offices. It’s in the midst of raising an angel round.Motif, on Tuesday, rolled out The Edit geared toward influencers who want to dip a toe into creating their own line with a small offering. The influencers get to release between four and eight pieces typically, gauge customer reaction and get a sense of what the market appetite is for their product. The thinking, said La Brooy, is if it’s successful these influencers then graduate to larger collections with Motif.While the company has an application process, most of the time the influencers are handpicked based on what La Brooy described as a deep engagement with their following and original style that doesn’t piggyback off of someone else’s creative ideas.Jewelry was a good way into the Motif business, but the company sees expansion into watches, bags and tech accessories this year.Motif designs are all created in the company’s Venice office where product is taken from concept all the way to a 3-D printed sample before its produced in Asia. Materials are sourced from throughout the world. Anywhere from 600 to 800 of the items available for sale are from emerging designers, while the rest of the inventory comprises original designs.The company has so far picked up a mostly Millennial audience in the 25- to 36-year-old range, with about 70 percent of overall revenues generated in the U.S. It’s also seen strong sales in Japan, Korea, Australia and the U.K.“I think one of the things that’s very true for us, if I look at a lot of our competitive set that are playing around with a capsule or affiliate model, is the focus is still very much on the retail brand versus the influencer,” La Brooy said. “They’ll leave out the influencer and the creative control of their brand is pretty minimal.”Motif, La Brooy said, aims to help its influencers create their own stores and channel to build their brands.“It’s much more about the influencer and her relationship with the community than it is about the retailer,” he said. “E-commerce retail brands are starting to be dinosaurs. They’re not the reason you shop. I think influencers are the gateway [for retailers]. We’re a B-to-B business first in terms of serving that influencer.”

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