Ippolita is looking to combat a “soft” consumer environment with a more aggressive e-commerce strategy — and a Jenner.
The jewelry brand, founded by Ippolita Rostagno in 1999, will leverage Kendall Jenner’s resonance in the Millennial space — featuring the model in campaign images captured by herself, as well as supplemental photos taken by Ryan McGinley. This marketing push will be coupled with a new web site and online presence, with the aim of attracting both new and previous customers to the brand.
“We are not a red carpet brand, we are an everyday brand,” Rostagno said. “What’s cool about Kendall is what she looks like everyday when she’s caught on a whim.”
Jenner said of her decision to work with the label: “I think everything is so cool, it’s a lot of simple stuff that’s easy to wear day and night. I really enjoyed the concept for this shoot. They didn’t want it to look like a typical jewelry ad.”
The model feels that jewelry is a particularly important component of her wardrobe: “I’m in love with jewelry, I think it can make an outfit, I just feel better when I’m wearing it — whether it’s with an outfit or a bathing suit. If I don’t wear it, I don’t feel finished, like I’m naked.”
Campaign images, shot in New York earlier this month, are to debut for fall. Imagery will see Jenner wearing Ippolita jewelry of her choosing. Brand chief executive officer Jill Beraud feels that this personal choice will lend an air of “authenticity” to the campaign.
“Our whole positioning [going forward] is around individual style. Working with Kendall — she really got to style it herself and decided how to wear it. I’ve done a lot of collaborations in the past and the most successful ones are the ones that are really authentic and play to the collaborator’s strengths. Kendall is very stylish and continues to be one of the greatest style leaders of our time.”
The label is in talks with Jenner for future collaborations, which could include product.
Both Rostagno and Beraud feel that the model’s core audience will help widen the brand’s own reach. While declining to discuss actual figures, they project that sales will grow 20 percent in the next 18 to 24 months, by focusing on product development, marketing and brand visibility. Currently, 80 percent of the company’s business comes from wholesale, with the remaining 20 percent attributed to Ippolita’s direct distribution — including a store on Madison Avenue and its e-commerce web site.
“We have a very loyal customer base through current wholesale channels as well as independent retailers. We believe that the Ippolita line appeals to a broad age range, but certainly adding a younger customer could benefit the brand,” Beraud said.
Ippolita has updated its e-commerce site to include a style personality quiz, which isolates consumer behavior and suggests product and cultural happenings that best match with their preferences.
“How do we get out of this retail slump? I think one of the main strategies is around customizing and personalizing, giving our consumers a much more personalized service, and individually styling their wardrobes. We’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and money to train staff at our retailers and do a big relaunch of our e-commerce site, where we expect sales will double over the next six to 10 months,” Beraud said.
The label has also strengthened its under $500 assortment, in an effort to lure new consumers.
“I don’t believe that new customers will go into a brand at over $1,000. But over time I believe they could be trading up — it’s not just about targeting Millennials,” Beraud said of the price point’s logic.
The brand’s average purchase profile among loyal customers runs around $5,000, according to Beraud. With an increased focus on products under $500, design families like Ippolita’s Cherish Chain range have been expanded with silver finishes and diamond pavé details.