Andrea Wasserman, chief executive officer, Sole Society
Rather than presenting historical anecdotes, Sole Society’s chief executive officer Andrea Wasserman painted a real-time picture of how the three-year-old shoe and accessories company is building a vertical brand in the digital space. “Helping women look and feel chic without breaking the bank is our rallying cry,” she said.
The company was launched in 2011 as a subscription commerce site within the Nordstrom-owned flash-sale site HauteLook, later spun out on its own, then in 2012 moved away from the subscription model. Last year, Sole Society elevated its footwear assortment and launched handbags and accessories, all of which sell on its e-commerce site as well as in Nordstrom stores.
Wasserman cited product as the basis of her brand pyramid, with friendly, direct-to-consumer prices and trend-right styles that can be worn for more than a season. Sole Society delivers 20 to 25 new styles a month and looks are shoppable through various filters, by collection or by head-to-toe looks. Fast and free shipping is a must.
“We’re not looking to be the least expensive or the trendiest, but friendly and fashionable,” she said.
The consumer dictates the product. “She drives us in creating the right product; the whole pyramid is built on her,” said Wasserman, noting that her priority is serving a targeted customer who knows about the product, loves it and keeps buying it.
In order to give customers what Wasserman calls a “frictionless” experience, the company stays in touch with her via research, e-mails seeking feedback and input from Nordstrom sales associates. Not surprisingly, consumers state style, price and quality as their top three reasons for buying the product.
Terms such as “brand positioning” and “emotional benefits” didn’t come into play until the merchandise was up to snuff.
“We didn’t begin to flesh out the brand until we were solid on the product,” she said. The building blocks around it include design of the user experience, content, social media, service, customer relationship management and acquisition of new customers, where e-mail, social and mobile are key.
She described Sole Society’s brand personality as “perfectly imperfect” and “predictably unpredictable,” which translates to a resource for shopping inspiration and a place to find edited looks and high-low pairings.
Wasserman noted while there are no immediate plans to open retail stores, “it’s always a fun conversation to have. At the moment, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Nordstrom on that front.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)