Saks Direct President Denise Incandela came from McKinsey & Co., where she consulted on Internet retailing, to launch Saks Fifth Avenue's Web store in 1999. The operation numbers about 400 people, including fulfillment and customer service. This year it will be Saks' second-largest store after the Fifth Avenue flagship. Here, Incandela talks about video, social media, the economy, and Saks' innovative multichannel campaign with Theory, which concluded Monday.
WWD: How is Saks using video online?
Denise Incandela: The editorial portion of our site in the last year has really changed the way people shop. Especially video. Ninety-nine percent of our customers are now on high bandwidth connections. So it's more like TV and it's much closer to the in-store experience. We've incorporated video into our trend coverage. One thing we're doing that we're really excited about is designer interviews. For example, we had an interview with Christian Louboutin up in December. It generated over half a million dollars in sales. Think of it as a store personal appearance, but in the store only so many people get to go. This concept is taking technology and using it to expand beyond what we could do in the store.
WWD: Video is a big piece of your campaign with Theory.
D.I.: We're doing a promotion with Theory that is a multichannel event, which is why it's so powerful. You tell us your point of view on fashion. The winner will win a $3,000 shopping spree. We held events in five stores last month in the Theory areas. People could make a video in the booths. About half of the entries so far were submitted through the stores. About half were submitted through our outside partner Brickfish. [Entries can be viewed at the Brickfish site.] We also used Facebook. You can send a link [an application that shows the user's favorite Theory outfit] in Facebook. It's viral, you can pass on the link. We also had Theory video in New York store windows.
WWD: What are the results so far?
D.I.: We absolutely saw a lift on the in-store piece. For us, it was also a question of how do we reach a customer segment we're not reaching today. There is social media out there that we think is cannibalizing our shoppers' time. We need to be involved. Our online customer tends to be 10 years younger than in the store. Shopping used to be a form of entertainment and now with social media there's competition for that form of entertainment. We don't see a lot of retailers partnering with social media companies or sites.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye