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E-commerce site Revolve is trying to turn up the volume on its brand messaging, and Iggy Azalea is part of the plan.
Starting officially May 14, the Australian hip-hop artist will be the face of Revolve’s summer campaign and be featured extensively in its content, including on a section called Spotlight. Revolve will also sell merchandise from Azalea’s North American concert tour and downloads from her album, “The New Classic,” scheduled to be released on April 22. The video for “Fancy,” which is the first single off the album and has garnered more than 11.8 million views on YouTube in about four weeks, riffs on the 1995 movie “Clueless” and kicks off with Azalea scrolling merchandise on Revolve.
“Iggy is perfectly in line with our brand,” said Michael Mente, cochief executive officer and cofounder of Revolve. “Revolve is a little bit outside of the mainstream. Our customer is risk-taking and confident, and Iggy is the perfect embodiment of that. Revolve is not about playing it safe.”
Long before 11-year-old Revolve, Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher in “Clueless” selected outfits using a closet organizing system on her computer, and a scene referencing that process in the “Fancy” video was an easy way to integrate Revolve. Azalea explained, “The idea of re-creating ‘Clueless’ is something I’d always talked about doing and thought ‘Fancy’ would be the perfect since it’s so West Coast sounding. All the story boarding was done myself, and Cher’s closet was a really important scene that could not be skipped over.”
Comfortable showing skin and wearing loud colors, Azalea isn’t toning her fashion choices down for Revolve’s campaign or her summer wardrobe. “I love busy and bright prints for summer. I don’t really care what brand something is as long as it fits my personal style. It can be low or high end and I will love it,” she said. Would she extend that love of fashion into doing her own line? She doesn’t think so. “I don’t have any ambition to work in the fashion industry, although I love its quirkiness. I’d prefer to remain a fan and spectator who enjoys the fun of clothing,” said Azalea.
Fueled by a $50 million investment from TSG Consumer Partners, a minority stakeholder in Revolve, the e-commerce company is bringing on board a new celebrity seasonally to front its campaigns. Azalea followed Emily Ratajkowski, the actress and model in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video who was the subject of Revolve’s spring images. Mente said Ratajkowski and Azalea reflect Revolve’s focus on discovery because “both Emily and Iggy are on the cusp of blowing up and becoming big.”
TSG’s investment isn’t only going toward celebrities. Mente outlined it has helped Revolve improve its warehousing system, product assortment, mobile capabilities, and the quality of images and content on its Web site, which was relaunched on Feb. 6 with an updated look. In addition, the money is being put toward executive hires. Mike Wilhelms, previously president and ceo of CorrectiveSolutions, has joined Revolve as chief financial officer, and David Sobie, formerly senior vice president of marketing and business development at HauteLook, has joined Revolve as chief marketing officer.
Mente and Mike Karanikolas, Revolve’s other cofounder and co-ceo, projected that Revolve will generate nearly $300 million in revenues this year, up from $150 million last year. Revolve operates Forward by Elyse Walker as well as its namesake Web site. The month of the site’s relaunch, Karanikolas said, “Seasonally adjusted, the month-over-month increase was 20 percent, which was a huge gain, and that was on top of the great momentum we already had. The first quarter is going to be up 80 percent year-over-year. Right now, we are firing on all cylinders.”
Karanikolas and Mente believe Revolve can become a multibillion-dollar enterprise, and point out that TSG has bought into their beliefs. “There is a huge, huge business to be built. There is a huge customer that no one was speaking to, and TSG was one of the few [investment firms] with people that understood that potential. They approached us. They really understood what the Revolve brand was about, and they understood the potential both in the online market and with the demographic, and so far, it has been a perfect marriage,” said Karanikolas.
Revolve carries approximately 500 brands with an emphasis on emerging labels. The average price of a top on the site is $100 to $120, according to Karanikolas, and dresses are usually above $150. Originally, Mente said, “You came to Revolve because you were familiar with some of the brands that we carried, whether it be a hot new upcoming brand with a lot of hype or a big brand that everyone knows like a J Brand. What we are seeing now is huge success with smaller lines. Our customer is coming to us because they value our perspective and the curation we provide for them.”