It seemed only a matter of time before Seam — the shopping app that seeks to upend the traditional retail experience — got into video, and a new deal with Los Angeles video production firm London Alley will help it do just that.
Seam entered the market last fall, offering a shoppable app for men and women that aggregates the collections offered on brands’ and designers’ web sites through its digital marketplace. Seam’s not sitting on the inventory, allowing its partners the ability to bypass the more traditional wholesale root or commission structure of many e-commerce sites.
The business, launched with bootstrapped capital, was started by chief executive officer Justin Hruska, editorial director and former GQ writer Jake Woolf and Nate Brown, cofounder of creative agency Studio Institute.
Late last year the business raised some money and is now in the midst of a fund-raise for its seed round, which would be funneled into expanding its engineering and editorial teams.
“What we’re building is pretty complex,” Hruska said. “This next phase we want to build is the fashion Netflix of episodic content.”
That’s where London Alley comes in. The production firm, which was behind Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” video and videos for Justin Bieber and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few, has partnered with Seam on the launch of a new video series bowing in July that will feature celebrities shopping designer collections.
The company declined to say who the celebrity is in the first episode with additional episodes in the series rolling out every two weeks. This would be the first of several video series the company hopes to launch with the help of London Alley.
“Seam is a platform that really lends itself to great content and telling a story, telling the journey of where a lot of these designers and their clothes are coming from and the journey the customer will take,” said London Alley executive producer Andrew Lerios. “It’s very curated designer wear and we want to make sure we can accentuate that journey and give people an insight into that experience. We’re going to be able to do that on a lot of levels with Seam.”
The episodes for this first series will run about five minutes, Lerios said, adding, “We’re really keeping it to bite-size, quick content consummable by a mobile audience.”
The idea with the video is to continue to grow the follower base that could potentially convert to Seam transactions. The continued push with content could also mean monetization of that in the future, although Woolf stressed any advertising would have to make sense for the app.
“At a certain point, if the advertising partners align say, for example, a designer that had 50,000 customers on our platform but there’s 2 million out there and they want to get their products out in front of those people, then we could do some sort of ad play,” he said. “It’s got to be very authentic. It’s not going to be something where we have a beverage company just filling a 30-second ad before a video starts.”
The videos would be working in tandem with an existing ecosystem of content, including written editorial content and a recently launched weekly podcast called “Anything But Fashion” that features industry players talking about topics outside of their work.
“Our editorial doesn’t just exist to push product,” Woolf said.
“This really was our beta phase where everything’s been really, really organic,” Hruska said. “We’ve noticed that people don’t want to just see laid out shots [of product online]. What’s really interesting is when you actually engage with those people one on one. Jake writes a story and they feel like they can actually message him about a product he’s talking about and that converts to transactions.”
Interestingly, while Seam is a marketplace for designers and brands, its private label business since launch has also done well for itself, Woolf said.
“The private label took off more than we anticipated,” he said. “What started as a promotional product turned out to be a sizable chunk of our business in the first seven months.”