Meet Revolve Social Club. Please don’t call this a store — or even a showroom.
Revolve, after toying with various temporary retail formats in recent years, debuts a concept Thursday on Melrose Avenue that’s one part clubhouse, one part event venue and, yes, a place to buy clothes and shoes.
“We knew that the traditional model of just opening doors and having racks of clothes was not going to work,” said cofounder and coceo Michael Mente. “Revolve customers use shopping as entertainment. They browse us the same way they browse magazines. [It’s about] experiences over things.”
The roughly 3,500-square-foot space is available by invite only to high spenders, top social media followers, influencers, stylists and select celebrities. Those members will have the option of scheduling private shopping appointments in three- to four-hour time blocks during which mimosas or catered lunch could be served as customers sift through a store merchandised for them, based on data compiled from past purchases.
The company declined to define what high spender means in terms of dollars because “it’s a case-by-case basis,” said cofounder and coceo Mike Karanikolas. “Our best, most valuable customers are high up on the list.”
The initial invite to the Social Club has been extended to a group of about 200, which could grow as long as the level of customer service isn’t compromised, Mente explained.
Karanikolas and Mente founded Revolve, headquartered in Cerritos, Calif., in 2003. Private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners took a minority equity stake in the company in 2012. Revolve’s portfolio includes not only its namesake online store selling more than 500 labels, but Forward by Elyse Walker, footwear brand Raye and the Alliance Apparel portfolio it acquired last year. The Alliance deal folded brands Tularosa, Lovers + Friends and NBD under the company’s umbrella.
Last year, Revolve’s sales were more than $400 million and the company’s projecting between 40 to 50 percent growth from last year to about $600 million. It also continues to be on track to hit a $1 billion revenue target over the next few years and growing the in-real-life experience will be key to reaching that, Mente said.
The Social Club, aside from acting as a physical storefront, is aimed at helping raise the profile of certain brands sold on Revolve by giving them a shot at trying retail with pop-ups in the Social Club. For Love & Lemons will be the first to experiment with a temporary shop there, previewing a 20-piece collection during a pop-up running for four days beginning April 7. The collection is available for sale that same day on Revolve’s site.
The Revolve Social Club, with an upper deck, will also play host to parties, performances and VIP styling sessions for members.
“With our customer and with Millennials generally they really value experience over things,” Karanikolas said. “We feel like this is a way to give her an experience she can’t get anywhere else. It really leveraged a lot of the general themes that we think are going on in the marketplace.”
While the two said the Melrose Social Club could be a precursor for more, they’re not actively shopping for additional real estate, according to Mente. Los Angeles was an easy decision because it doesn’t require a plane ride from headquarters, for starters. The location is also central to other places in the greater Los Angeles area. Opening in New York or Asia — China is the company’s second-largest market after the U.S. — will require more time poured into research before pulling the trigger.
Time to build out this concept and test it is a luxury Karanikolas and Mente say is afforded to them, unlike the competition — some of which is also located on Melrose.
“We don’t feel quite as in a rush as a lot of the other companies may be,” Mente said, adding there’s enough on their plate planned for this year to keep them busy.
That list includes the upcoming Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where Revolve will host a weekend party at a house — daily capacity 1,000 people — about four miles from the Empire Polo Club.