Jessie Zeng’s social intelligence-driven fashion brand Choosy and Verishop, the Millennial- and Gen Z-focused marketplace cofounded by ex-Snap Inc. executive Imran Khan, have joined forces, the partners told WWD.
Set to be revealed on Wednesday, the companies plan to feature Choosy apparel on Verishop’s brand-focused e-commerce site, with the latter also acquiring the rights to select Choosy data and technology assets. Zeng and Khan declined to comment on the value of the partnership.
The deal looks like a fitting match on several levels. Choosy benefits from reaching new customers, while Verishop gets to expand its selection with a popular brand that uniquely appeals to its target audience.
But it’s Choosy’s strategy that grabbed the Verishop chief executive officer’s eye. The brand’s approach can manifest up-to-the-moment trends culled from social media in as little as three weeks.
Zeng relies on observations and shares pulled from thousands of accounts — which yield millions of data points a day — to inform product design and a supply chain optimized for speed, with smaller runs.
The process allows Choosy to quickly produce drops at price points that are primarily around $100. Since its launch in 2018, the brand has garnered an array of noteworthy fans, including Priyanka Chopra, Lana Condor and others. Its popular Crosby St dress, which stems from its artificial intelligence platform, was spotted on Sophie Turner last summer during her wedding week.
“The company — even in the earliest days, before we had a brand name — had the cool idea of shopping trends in real time,” said Zeng, Choosy’s cofounder and ceo. “And in doing that, you’re able to really cut through a lot of market inefficiency both on the supply chain, as well as being able to predict customer demand much more in real time.”
Khan “admired what Jessie and Mo [Zhou, Zeng’s cofounder] have been doing,” he said. “And I’m really thinking about that industry in many different ways. There’s an opportunity for us to leverage some of their assets and some of their technology, from the data.” In particular, he’s interested in his new partner’s audience insights and how it used them to build a fanbase.
Choosy’s model seems particularly interesting in these troubled retail times, as it fuses “of-the-moment,” and even predictive, fashion and affordability.
In general, price points may appeal to younger consumers, whose early careers may not allow for expensive or luxury goods. And these shoppers, even with the coronavirus pandemic, are still spending, according to Verishop data.
“We have seen our men and women’s fashion down 15 to 17 percent. But we also have seen that the demographic above 35 are tightening their belt harder than people 18 to 34, which is 60 percent of our audience,” Khan explained. “They’re actually pretty vibrant.” The company, which reported more than a million site overall visits last January, tracked a 10 percent increase in shoppers under 35, despite the coronavirus.
He pointed out that this demographic also matches Choosy’s core customers, and Zeng added that she hasn’t tracked any major dips in sales either.
Anecdotally, the 27-year-old entrepreneur noticed that people weren’t taking the health crisis seriously at first. But those sentiments changed over time.
“[Now] they’re home all day. They’re looking for ways to escape, so whether that be spending money on home fitness videos or cooking — it looks like everyone’s making bread these days — to trying new beauty trends and then some fashion trends, depending on the price point,” she said.
From that perspective, Khan sees their new partnership as a matter of offering more choices to these customers. Verishop offers a range of categories including home goods and beauty products — both of which soared across retail as a whole, and jumped 158 percent and 108 percent, respectively, on the web site from February to March.
For these reasons, he cautions against painting the health crisis’ effects in broad strokes across all fashion retail or regions. For instance, in New York City, the pandemic’s epicenter in the U.S., he saw his site’s traffic drop by as much as 25 percent. But, he pointed out, it grew in suburbs such as the Dallas and Houston metro areas.
As for whether the time is right to pursue a new partnership during a global health emergency, Khan offered a counterpoint: “Timing doesn’t really stop this strategic partnership,” he said. “It can only enhance it.”