Chris Paradysz

Chris Paradysz, co-chief executive officer and founder of PMX Agency, an integrated global performance marketing agency, shared topical thoughts about luxury, collaborations, data — and sneakers.

“Dangerous assumptions, lethal conclusions. In our business, in ways that we do business, making assumptions and worse making conclusions is actually the underpinnings of the decline of good business,” he said. “We make decisions based on experience. The problem with experience it tells us often times what we don’t want to know or conclusions we might make that pop up as fact.”

For example, he said several years ago at these summits the audience heard that Amazon would never sell luxury, see-now-buy-now was where it’s at and showrooming was going to destroy retail. He said they heard that morning that four out of five people who walk into a store are carrying their cell phone and shopping and about a two-hour delivery cycle. “This is where we’re going and is part of the industry we’re in,” he said.

“All of us are trying to keep pace with the technology changes. What’s underpinning that is the consumer. We’re seeing these cycle times of change. It’s happening at such a rate we could not have anticipated yesterday,” Paradysz said.

He referred to summit speakers from Snap, Stadium Goods and Nordstrom and what they’re doing with data. “We can know how much we’re able to use, how public we can be with that, how much we can apply that and not get in trouble. We’ve seen a busy winter at places like Facebook. We can know so much more of who our customers are, and to be there in a way for them, and not just selling, but to building that relationship.

“When you look at opportunities, the mash-up, collaborations, the new ways of selling, like Hypebeast. Influencers are now selling and third-party sellers like Stadium Goods are massive businesses and have exciting new investments in it,” Paradysz said.

He then asked the audience: “How do we deal with all this onslaught of information coming in? How do we manufacture the best ideas, how do we light a match to make fresh and new happen? We know what’s going on is the confidence online is rising. Not a surprise.” If you rewind three to four years, online was still being wrestled with the major luxury brands and that is very much changing, he said.

“Digital influencers and bots have followers.  It’s a time where all this mashing up and opportunity can happen,” he said.

He talked about the dad shoe phenomenon from Balenciaga. “Try to get your hands on it. Two years ago, you never thought you’d see sneakers blowing up like they are. Sneakers are a passion, sneakers are fashion and dramatically changing the luxury space,” he said.

He noted that Serena Williams wore Off-White/Virgil Abloh throughout the U.S. Open tennis tournament which got people talking. “What happens with this drop phenomenon around sporting events? It’s taking on a whole new phenomena around driving interest and driving fascination,” he said. When Abloh signed up as a collaborator, “Within an hour, 100,000 likes showed up and by the time that day was over they were over 200,000.”

“Luxury is leading that in a way we couldn’t imagine a few years ago. Serena with Off-White, the urban phenomenon in luxury appears across multiple brands. She had a shoe called the Queen. Within three days, that shoe almost added $400 in resale value [over three days of the U.S. women’s finals]. We’re seeing not just influencers, but collaborations be very, very important,” he said.

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