NOT SO BASIC: The Outnet.com’s in-house label appears to be doing well with the e-tailer set to launch party and a fuller offering of shoes for fall and holiday.
The expanded offering is expected to begin appearing on the site from September and on in addition to a broader assortment of footwear for the Iris & Ink label, which is designed in-house.
“[Iris & Ink] started as a very small collection. It was supposed to be essentials basically filling the gaps in wardrobes,” said Andres Sosa, executive vice president of sales, creative and marketing at the Outnet, which is the sister site to Net-a-porter. “Then we realized very quickly that whilst the beautiful cashmere V-neck jumpers and stretch leather leggings and all of those were key pieces and she was shopping into them, the pieces that were a bit more fashion forward, were the ones that were quickly selling out and we never intended it to be a collection where you wear Iris & Ink head to toe. It was completely unintentional but if it works, it works.”
Sosa was in town Wednesday for an event celebrating the Outnet’s collaboration with Los Angeles-based jewelry company Carbon & Hyde, which next week debuts exclusive pieces of fine jewelry with diamond or turquoise embellishments for the Summer Shop program.
Iris & Ink launched in 2012 and saw its first-ever resort delivery with the release of the spring 2016 collection.
The Outnet prices the line roughly on par with the contemporary labels offered on its site. Coats go for around 300 pounds, or $432, a blouse from the summer collection, for example, retails for around 120 pounds, or $173, at current exchange rates.
“It’s not discounted because it’s not available elsewhere,” Sosa said. “It’s exclusive to the site so it’s got an exclusive price.”
Suitors have approached the company about expanding into wholesale, but the Outnet is cautious about building out that business.
“We’ve been very careful with it,” Sosa said. “We’ve had a lot of people approaching us wanting to stock it. I think at the moment we are focusing on building the brand. It’s gaining a lot of traction on the site. So, at the moment, I would say ‘no,’ but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do it in the future. For us, it would have to be something that makes sense for the customer and that really adds value to the brand. It’s not about distribution and getting it out there and getting volumes.”
Iris & Ink is now one of the top 10 brands on the Outnet, alongside designers such as Isabel Marant, Oscar de la Renta, Pucci, Valentino and Balmain.
Continuing to offer options to customers is key. Growth of Iris & Ink is one part of that, while programs such as the Summer Shop plays a similar role in keeping existing customers engaged and reaching new customers, Sosa said.
Mobile, the executive said, will also continue to be a focus with about 50 percent of the company’s overall sales generated from that channel.