Video commerce platform Ntwrk has appointed Colby Black as chief merchandising officer.
Black, who previously served as executive director of buying and marketplace at Urban Outfitters, will oversee Ntwrk’s merchandising strategies across the company, including the platform’s daily product drops and digital festivals, and lead new global initiatives such as tentpole events, retail holidays and city guide editorials.
He sees Ntwrk as an attractive opportunity for its ability to speak to the Gen Z consumer, which he said is shifting into being the “largest spending cohort” that digests media and commerce much differently than previous generations. “It’s going to take new platforms to speak to that,” he said.
“It goes back to how the consumer is choosing to immerse themselves in the shopping experience for 2021. Bringing together fans of streetwear, toys, fashion, media and more under one roof. It’s a different way to shop and interact.”
Black previously led Urban Outfitters’ global partnership initiatives, introducing international brands to North America and expanding the retailer to overseas markets. He launched in 2013 UO’s activewear sub-brand Without Walls and was behind the merch designs for Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” tour and The Weeknd’s “Starboy” album.
“Colby is a key addition to our Ntwrk team, and we are confident in his demonstrated expertise in marketplace strategy and execution,” said Aaron Levant, chief executive officer of Ntwrk.
Levant said Ntwrk achieved 300 percent growth in 2020 across its core areas, retail and marketplace, and 600 percent year-over-year growth in sponsorships. Levant described the company’s new marketplace model that rolled out in 2020 as a “multimillion dollar line of business” and he expects it to become over 50 percent of the business in 2021. Ntwrk counts Drake, LeBron James and Jimmy Iovine among its investors.
Ntwrk kicked off its digitally native Transfer Festival in August, offering capsule collections and exclusive product launches scheduled around conversations and performances all via the Ntwrk app, and in December its Beyond the Streets virtual art fair curated by Roger Gastman.
This year, the company is launching seven shopping festivals and two “holidays,” including the return of Transfer and Beyond the Streets, and new festivals Unboxed, for collectibles, on Feb. 13 and 14 and Off Court, for basketball, on March 27 and 28.
He added, “We’ve always strived to attract top talent to the company and scale meaningful businesses. As we’re past the proof of concept phase, it’s now about scaling this business and Colby’s experience is instrumental in doing that.”