Jennie Baik, cofounder and chief executive officer of Orchard Mile, often chooses the road less traveled, as in the case of the pop-up guide shop the e-commerce site opened in Martha’s Vineyard for the second summer in a row, eschewing the hyperactive social scene of the Hamptons.
“We’re doubling last year’s sales in the regular Orchard Mile shop and new Orchard Mile Beach shop,” Baik said. “We have more than 60 brands. We curate entire looks down to hats, shoes and makeup.”
Baik revealed that Orchard is looking for a permanent home after launching pop-up shops last year in Greenwich, Conn., and Palm Beach.
Orchard Mile is also launching a loyalty program; it’s one of the few digital platforms to offer rewards. When consumers purchase something on Orchard Mile, points are deposited into their accounts. Three tiers of membership includes gifts such as a complimentary manicure from Glosslab for silver members, Skin Laundry hydration boost enhancement for gold, and $25 off flowers from Floom, platinum.
Customers who don’t live near a Glosslab or Skin Laundry location have the option of receiving an Orchard Mile gift card for $25, $50 or $100. Other perks include a $25 gift card and birthday surprise for all tiers; early access to sales and VIP concierge services for gold and platinum members, and invitations to exclusive events and an annual “just because gift,” at the platinum level. Baik said gifts are personalized for clients based on their purchase history.
“It’s all about experience for Millennials,” Baik said. “The whole Millennial culture is about being more than just transactional. Our consumer can’t see us every day. How do you translate your ethos to consumers. One of the best things about this program is that our favorite brands are investing in us and our customers. They’re gifting the Orchard Mile clients. It’s all about targeting a certain customer set that’s relevant to both companies.
Baik said Orchard Mile vetted 200 companies, interviewing the executives and scouring customer reviews online to make sure they’d be a good fit for the site. “We’re exposing our best customers,” she said. “Our partners realize we have a qualified list of consumers.”
Orchard Mile’s Martha’s Vineyard presence owes a debt to Bonobos, Baik said, adding, “We took a page from their guide shops. The stores are touch points. When consumers are shopping online, they’re searching for brands they know. Offline, they want discovery and to be surprised and delighted.
“Brands don’t rent out square footage,” she added of the Martha’s Vineyard store. “We become the merchant and pick the sku’s. Everything is displayed by look, not by brand. It’s a much more intuitive and graceful way of shopping.”
Baik described the pop-up shop business model as an “asset-light real estate environment. We focus on driving traffic and getting great product.” Brands are charged a participation fee and percentage of sales.
As for a permanent store, Baik said she’s looked at a lot of spaces in New York. “We’ve had a few offers from the West Coast. I like the idea of hyper-localization,” she said. “For example, what would the Nashville Mile look like? My Mile Paris could be very cool.”
Baik isn’t ruling out shopping centers, either. “All the malls are looking for what they call, ‘texture,'” Baik said. “How do malls try to attract brands that are different? The rotating pop-up [platforms] at malls are temporary and that doesn’t stick.
“We’re trying to expand into the home with brands that have home already built into their DNA,” Baik said, adding that beauty is Orchard Mile’s fastest-growing category, accounting for 10 percent of sales and with an average basket of $130. “People are buying skin care — it’s a huge seller,” Baik said. “We launched Supergoop.”