Stacey Bendet trained as a Web site designer, but her Alice + Olivia brand was without one — until now.
This story first appeared in the May 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“When I started Alice + Olivia I was still building Web sites for other people. It’s how I paid the bills,” said Bendet, who designed sites for Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss and Patrick McMullan. “I always knew I wanted to have a site for the brand, but I’m designing the line and running a company, so I couldn’t do it all.”
The rapid developments in technology soon meant what she knew about Web design 10 years ago had been far outstripped, she said.
“Technology is completely different now, and there was no way I was going to do it myself,” Bendet said.
She conferred with Web designers in recent years but had been unable to find one who understood her vision for the site. Then she met Matthew Daniel Siskin, the 27-year-old owner of Designedmemory, which has designed sites for brands such as Chopard, Bensoni, Rory Beca, Obedient Sons & Daughters and Chris Benz, among others. Siskin started the company in 2002 to pay the rent so he could focus on his music career. Now, Bendet said, Siskin is among the most sought-after Web designers in the industry.
“He seriously is the most creative person I have met in years,” she said. “I totally have a digital crush.”
To create aliceandolivia.com, which launched last week, Siskin dedicated himself to getting inside Bendet’s head to design an interactive site that takes the consumer through the “quirky and cool” world of Alice + Olivia. There are random pieces of Bendet’s life seen throughout the site, such as a floating chair from her office and her baby’s favorite toy.
Siskin said his goal is to make the audience “forget they’re on the Internet” and realize they are inside the brain of the fashion designer. When a shopper clicks through, she can view the latest collection. Retail buyers can see future collections through a password-protected section. Bendet said she hopes to get e-commerce operating this summer.
“We have found that a lot of our smaller stores are not making the trip to New York for Coterie and for market,” Bendet explained. “So we really needed an amazing tool for the buyers to see the collection. The site allows buyers to really zoom in on the clothes and see the texture of the fabrics. You can see some crazy detail. It’s amazing.”