Designers are innovating their web sites to drum up business and be philanthropic.
Nili Lotan is launching Nili Lotan Giving Back on Thursday, a new web site that will allow customers to shop from past collections at 60 percent off retail prices. (Her regular web site features current spring merchandise at full price.)
“I have always believed that clothes should be timeless, trendless and of the highest quality,” said the Israeli-born Lotan. She said the new site will showcase clothing that ranges from everyday essential to occasion dressing. The pieces are culled from the pre-fall 2019 and fall 2019 collections.
The site will mirror her main e-commerce site with elevated product imagery, styling and exclusive content. At the end of the month, she will donate 10 percent of the site’s revenue to a charitable organization of her choosing. This month, she will donate 10 percent to NYU Langone for its COVID-relief efforts.
Lotan said she was inspired to do this because one of the things she’s been doing while working from home is connecting to her online community. On Instagram Stories, she started to cook and has been cooking many of her late Hungarian mother’s recipes. Lotan said many of the women who follow her on Instagram said they can’t afford to wear her clothes, so she thought this was a good time to give back and “to create a site for all these women who can’t afford me, to afford me.” She said she doesn’t have thousands or hundreds of pieces, but has dozens that she plans to sell.
Meanwhile, she started offering personal styling sessions on her regular web site that have gotten good traction. She noted that 160 women signed up the first day, and she offers a 50-minute session for free. “It’s been super successful. We’re selling a lot of clothes, and hired more people,” she said. She said a lot of the people wanted to talk to her, so she’s organizing a Zoom session next week to do that. Lotan has four freestanding stores in New York: one in Tribeca, two on Madison Avenue (a new one was supposed to open earlier this month and never did), and one in East Hampton, N.Y. Many of the salespeople she recruited to work on the web team. She also sells 350 retail stores, in addition to her web site, where sales have increased.
Lotan has a dedicated area on her regular web site where she created a limited-edition series of items in signature camouflage print and donates 15 percent of profits to NYU Langone Hospital, along with 100 percent of face mask sales, in support of frontline medical workers.
Meanwhile, Caroline Constas on Tuesday launched The Persephone Project, a multipronged wellness initiative focused on philanthropy, mental health and nutrition. The new initiative coincided with a redesign of the brand’s web site.
Original content on carolineconstas.com will focus on mental health and nutrition during this time of social distancing. There will be a bi-weekly Instagram series with industry experts during which people can have questions answered. In addition to starting the dialogue around these issues, the company’s goal is to make expert advice and resources more available to those without access to it.
“I wanted to launch this initiative in order to destigmatize issues surrounding mental health and bring knowledge, care and resources closer to those it may not otherwise be accessible to,” Constas said. “Mental health awareness is an issue that needs tremendous support and attention in order to make it more accessible to people in need, especially during this difficult time of social distancing and economic instability.”
The series starts with Rebecca Appleman, RD, founder of Appleman Nutrition, on May 3 speaking about ways to better care for one’s mind, body, and spirit through nutrition.
From now through the end of June, 15 percent of net proceeds from all purchases from the new web site will benefit City Harvest, New York’s largest food rescue organization.