Well(Un)Known aims to be a purveyor of under-the-radar brands and designers and is the brainchild of Aneesha DuBois, who most recently headed up public relations for Australian Fashion Labels’ portfolio of five brands and before that Wildfox.
DuBois originally had a blog in 2013 under the Well(Un)Known name, created in response to inquiries from followers on Instagram about her outfits. Although the blog fizzled as DuBois continued to focus on her career, the idea for a retailer came back into view late last year utilizing all the brand contacts and experiences DuBois has picked up during her time in fashion.
“The name Well(Un)Known comes from the blog I had when influencers were booming and my niche was brands people hadn’t heard of,” DuBois said.
She began working on the site in earnest in September with partner Chris Taylor, who handles the men’s buying.
The online shop has six women’s brands and three men’s brands, with the idea of not ballooning the assortment too much. DuBois said, ideally, the site could maintain 20 to 25 brands.
“We don’t want to be throwing newsletters down your throat every two days,” DuBois said. “Right now, we love that it’s very intimate and not overwhelming.”
Lines carried by Well(Un)Known include the brother-sister duo Valas Los Angeles that brings utilitarian military influences to their upscale accessories line in a nod to their late father, a Nicaraguan soldier. There’s also eyewear from futuristic contemporary sunglasses brand Percy Lau, which won a nod this year from Forbes in its 30 under 30 Asia list of rising business leaders and jewelry from the line Mara Paris, founded by an architect.
Of note is these are not fast-fashion brands, DuBois said. She and Taylor are looking at designers focused on craftsmanship with unique personal stories to tell. Case in point, Valas Los Angeles’ signature Voyager bag — made of Italian leather, a European suede lining and Japanese hardware — retails for $2,345; a vermeil sculptural necklace from Mara Paris is $495; marabou sandals from Brother Vellies are $285, and the assortment of tops from A.W.A.K.E. run anywhere from $390 to $520.
“We feel these brands [in the store] should be the Guccis. They should be the Louis Vuittons. They should be the Marnis,” DuBois said. “There’s emotion behind these brands. They’re not following the normal rules of the industry. We want to reach the customer who is fashion inquisitive and who wants to discover new brands. We also think that eventually these brands will outgrow Well(Un)Known and that leaves the opportunity for us to bring in new ones.”
Marketing so far has focused on Facebook with most of the site’s traffic coming from the U.S., but it has also been attracting visitors from Australia, Canada, France and Italy.
The business is based out of Los Angeles. Longer term, DuBois said she could see the brand entering physical retail with a concept space and said the assortment there would broaden out to other categories, such as the most well unknown technology brands.