ALICE + OLIVIA’S STACEY BENDET TALKS SOCIAL MEDIA: At any given moment during the launch of the Alice + Olivia and MAC makeup collaboration Wednesday night at the Beauty Bar, Stacey Bendet could be found tweeting and uploading twitpics throughout the party. The founder of the eight-year-old brand sat down with WWD to discuss her Twitter, Facebook and blogging habits, and why she thinks press releases are becoming obsolete.
Alice + Olivia’s blog: blog.aliceandolivia.com
Alice + Olivia’s Twitter: @ alice_olivia
Stacey Bendet’s Twitter: @staceybendet
WWD: You’ve become an avid blogger/tweeter. How do you find the time?
Stacey Bendet: It’s funny, I resisted Twitter at first and I’m so weird about following other people. I barely have time to follow myself, let alone others. And I started using Facebook pretty actively awhile ago and I found that people were very interested in what I was doing or what we were working on. So when we started our summer tour, we decided to document the whole project. The whole thing was really making over America and doing good things and promoting girl power. We felt that people were pretty interested in what we were doing in each city and the people we were helping, so we decided to expand our blog. It grew organically — as we went, we posted pictures and blogged about what we were doing.
WWD: Why do you think social media is so important for your brand?
SB: It’s a really direct and efficient way to reach the customer. It also lets you share a little bit of your personality. Sometimes I post personal or funny or random things and it lets you share a little about yourself and your company with people in a not-so-intrusive way. It’s not like you’ve allowed your whole life to be videotaped, it’s like little tidbits.
In terms of Facebook and Twitter, they are so instrumentally and incredibly important in our business and industry. People are always interested in what designers are doing and what they’re working on and inspired by. Twitter, Facebook and blogs allow you to reach out to your customer and fans and in a very firsthand way.
WWD: How has it affected your daily life? You blog and tweet regularly, multiple times every single day. This must have some affect on your everyday life.
SB: The one thing that affects your life the most is a BlackBerry — because it keeps you up to date. I think with Twitter and Facebook, I’m always surprised when people know things about me, and they’re like, “I saw the pictures on Facebook.” I forget that as I’m uploading, people are reading it. From a life perspective, I’m surprised when people know everything that I’m doing and I’m like, “Wait I didn’t tell you that!” And again, because I don’t necessarily have the time to go on other people’s accounts that much, I don’t realize that people actually read mine. Or I’ll write something and another magazine or blog will pick it up and I think it’s really amusing. It’s only getting bigger.
WWD: How do you plan to further integrate social media into Alice + Olivia as a brand?
SB: I’m just tweeting as much as I can right now and trying to do as much as I can. It’s becoming more and more integrated into our regular business. It’s more like every project we do now — whether it’s a fashion show or a road show or makeup collaboration — the first ting we say to ourselves is “What are we going to do on Facebook and Twitter and how are we getting ourselves out there?”
It used to be that your focus was putting out a press release and that’s not how it is anymore. Now what you’re doing is feeding live videos online and creating your whole world. Rather than waiting for the press to put you out there, you’re putting yourself out there. Or at least you have the ability to. Now, when we do photo shoots we’re also doing video shoots. It’s almost like every company is their own media outlet or has the potential to be. I’m not saying we’ve mastered this because we have a way to go, but it’s something that’s interesting and important to me.
I’m obsessed with learning about new technologies. I want to create an application so people can see our new products. I also want to work with a company called Square Up because they are more about consumer-to-consumer purchasing. It’s a device that plugs into your mobile device — you can get all the consumer’s information while they’re in the store and they can do an immediate sale. It’s kind of what Apple does. There are so many ways to advance the technology in the retail industry that are interesting both online and offline. At the end of the day, it’s really about reaching new customers and offering more to the customers that you have.
WWD: What is your preferred social medium? Twitter? Facebook? Blogging? Foursquare, etc.?
SB: I like Facebook. I definitely use Twitter, but they definitely go together for me because if I tweet it, then it goes straight to Facebook and the blog. It’s the most efficient.
WWD: IPhone or BlackBerry?
SB: BlackBerry and the iPad. BlackBerry is efficient and I type fast. From a work perspective, it’s the most functional, and I’m also obsessed with my iPad, but it’s more for entertainment.
The latest social media updates from the fashion world:
@katespadeny reached 10,000 followers.
@FENTONFALLON: My outfit is very Sean Young in Wall Street today. I need a Paloma Picasso squiggle earring to top it off.
@henryholland: Walking down Peckham Rye in my Chrissy Loubs python skin jazz shoes. I think this is what they call courageous fashion.
@MissKellyO is currently in Vegas running on no sleep: Plus the fact they have 1/2 nude dancers everywhere and every time I turned around I got a face full of naked ass, so funny!
BLOGS AND WEB SITES
Charlotte Russe’s Project Mannequin: Fashion bloggers from Teen Vogue, Nylon, The Glamazon Diaries, POSHGLAM and P.S. I Made This were pitted against one another in a style-off Wednesday night, using their styling talents to outfit mannequins in Charlotte Russe ensembles, and, starting today, you can vote for your favorite outfit on charlotterusse.com. The winning blogger will get an iPad, as well as the chance to have his or her winning look in Charlotte Russe store windows.
Foursquare + Oscar de la Renta Giveaway: If we had an iPad, we would definitely be aching for one of the cases that Mr. de la Renta marched down his recent resort show. But luckily for all you iPad owners out there who also happen to be active on Foursquare, the brand is giving you a chance to win one tomorrow. All you have to do is be the mayor of the Madison Avenue Boutique on Saturday, July 17, at 3 p.m. (with proof of mayorship, of course).