Digital guru Oliver Walsh is looking to raise Aritzia’s profile as the Canadian chain’s first chief marketing officer.
Walsh, who founded a digital agency called Wednesday, spent the past four years working with brands such as J. Crew, Tory Burch, H&M, Balenciaga, Proenza Schouler, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani to develop mobile apps, digital marketing campaigns, new brand creations, e-commerce sites and in-store tech solutions.
“It was my job to know more about the intersection of retail meets digital than anyone else,” Walsh said. “But being an agency, you only get so deep — and you’re never going to be as close to the actual product, [or] as capable to make really significant business changes.”
Now Walsh has a chance to take a more hands-on approach at Aritzia. The 29-year-old retailer, founded by Brian Hall, carries a combination of in-house lines and brands such as Rag & Bone and J Brand, with price points ranging from $50 to $300.
Walsh worked to launch Aritzia’s digital flagship last year, while still at Wednesday. The site at aritzia.com is able to respond and adapt to any device, eliminating the need for multiple sites.
E-commerce, marketing, creative services, editorial and corporate communications teams will report directly to Walsh — who is intent on doubling the retailer’s e-commerce sales from 5 percent of total revenues to 10 percent in two years. The company, which will have 61 doors by yearend, is expected to log retail sales of nearly $500 million this year, according to sources.
“There are huge disparities between [Aritzia’s] brand awareness in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, it’s letting people know the clarity of what’s been going on and what’s been evolving, but in the U.S., it’s more [about acquiring] new customers and awareness,” Walsh said. “In eight years, J. Crew went from a direct mail catalogue to becoming one of the most relevant fashion brands in the U.S. They didn’t do it overnight, and that is going to be my approach. It’s about doing it right.”
In the next 18 months, he hopes the brand is recognized as one of the top 20 leaders in terms of digital innovation in the fashion sector.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty