Enveme Goes Virtual for Fashion

A group of private label veterans are taking advantage of the Internet to create their own brand and sell it in an unusual online store.

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A group of private label veterans are taking advantage of the Internet to create their own brand and sell it in an unusual online store. In addition to casual rock- and pop-inspired clothing for men and women, EnveMe.com will sell virtual avatars and music from unsigned bands. Along with Zappos and Threadless, EnveMe is one of the first fashion companies whose business model is infused with social media.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“EnveMe was inspired by my partners and my kids, who are in college and always looking for unique trends in clothing and music,” said co-founder and chief operating officer Mark Diamond. “We wanted to create a destination Web site that would not only offer new music and a pop culture community but really be interactive.”

Chillers Clothing of La Jolla, Calif., designs and makes the site’s graphic T-shirts and band apparel. Other manufacturers handle jeans, dresses and tops. (Web design, photo studio and fulfillment are outsourced.)

Typical looks are jeans and graphic T-shirts and hoodies, including band merchandise, which will debut in the next two weeks. The site, which launched last month, also offers dressier fare, such as a chiffon print top for $24 and a strapless minidress for $42. A black satin romper is $39.

In the music portion of the site, shoppers can discover new bands and purchase single songs for $1. Eventually, visitors will be able to vote on which bands and songs they like the best, according to Diamond. Musicians will get a cut of sales of songs and band merchandise. Bands that want to be featured can apply by uploading an original demo song.

One of EnveMe’s more unusual features is its virtual world, EnveZones, where shoppers can virtually meet, chat, play games and attend events. Avatars cost $11 a month and can don virtual versions of EnveMe looks. The community is actually an area in the virtual world VZones, which members can also access.

“They can chat with people about their experiences on EnveMe — what they’ve bought, what kind of music they like. It brings everyone together not just on the local level but around the world,” said Justine Reichman, chief executive of VZones owner Stratagem Corp. and also chief strategy and marketing officer for EnveMe. She said she expects Vzone members to discover EnveMe and vice versa.

Another way the New York-based retailer plans to become better known is through e-mail marketing and social media. The site features a blog, called Club EnveMeet. It has pages on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr and Delicious. EnveMe also plans an online campaign to reach teens and young adults through Alloy Media + Marketing. The initial test will cost $10,000 to $15,000, and whatever gets the best results will be ongoing every month. The retailer also hopes to sponsor some concerts.

Diamond has developed private label for such companies as Bebe Stores Inc., Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Co-founder and ceo Kristine McLaughlin previously worked at Victoria’s Secret and Lord & Taylor.

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