At Bluefly this week, the recession seemed to be on hold.
The 12-year-old Web site, like the rest of the dot-com and retail communities, sharply cut inventories last year. But for its spring launch commencing at 6:31 a.m. Wednesday, there was a significant buildup, with 2,500 new styles listed versus 2,000 a year ago. The plan apparently paid off as the Web site saw a 160 percent sales gain on the day, according to Bluefly’s chief marketing officer, Brad Matson.
He declined to disclose the volume, but attributed the surge to the increased product investment, ongoing efforts utilizing the fashion blog world and key word search, and the improving mood within luxury and retailing. “We sent out a teaser [e-mail] the night before. Shoppers got to the site early, and sales took off,” Matson said.
Now the challenge is to sustain the momentum and eventually move the company into the black. Bluefly is heading in the right direction, narrowing its loss last year to $4.4 million from $11.3 million in 2008. Across all its pages, Bluefly lists 16,000 items from more than 350 designers and brands, and sells merchandise at 20 to 40 percent off regular prices.
The increased number of products is also about financing. Bluefly got a shot in the arm recently from Rho Ventures, which purchased about $15 million in new common stock at $1.70 a share and became the site’s largest shareholder with a 33 percent stake.
Matson also contended that Bluefly’s format to encourage browsing is advantageous over the private, limited time “flash” sales. While Bluefly occasionally conducts a flash sale, customers mostly leisurely browse the site and its main pages spotlighting trends. For example, on the dress page, mini and flirty summer dresses are featured; on the sportswear page, leathers and city shorts are played up. In swimwear, monokinis are a key trend, and in shoes, it’s about neutrals and texture. “We know 70 percent of all women’s apparel shopping is browsing,” Matson said.
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