Moda Operandi Founder, HBS Alum Talks Fashion Curation, Data, and Fit

6/12/12Follow @xconomy

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subset of designers in our existing business. There will be a significant editorial content supporting this; it will be built around themes and trends, and will have different, unique ways of displaying that.

X: How does data impact your business and luxury e-commerce more broadly?
AM: The beauty of what we’re doing is we’re giving brands real data. There are companies that are tracking what are the styles that customer are liking immediately after a runway show. That data is certainly helpful, but it doesn’t have prices attached to it. It’s very easy to like something. But what are the prices people are actually going to commit to? With our model, people have to commit to it. It gives a very real picture of what is actually going to sell.

There hasn’t been a way to access that information before our business model. We do hear it is starting to influence many of the designers we are starting to work with. This will become very, very relevant information for them to use in their planning.

Department stores have done physical trunk shows. But typically that’s happened later, after production has all been locked down. There hasn’t been the ability to react to the data. Now we’re providing this information early enough that there is an ability to react to it the first time.

X: What role does curation play in e-commerce?
AM: There are the shoppers that come to a site and know exactly what they want. Many shoppers that shop runway shows are very fashion savvy. They come to shop for that item. A lot of shoppers want a little bit more guidance. When they go into a traditional physical retail store, there’s an assistant who can help them and guide them.

Online you have to do it in a different way. We have personal stylists they can call and talk to, but people also want to be able to access that information easily on that site. They learn to trust certain sites. We are curating, in terms of the designers we pick and pieces we select, our customers can know these are really the items that will be must-have items. We will provide editorial guidance in terms of how to wear them.

Many people want to have an easy online experience. It’s becoming increasingly important.

X: You had a number of technology-focused venture capital firms in this latest financing round. Are VCs warming up to investments in fashion tech startups?
AM: I think VCs in general have really started paying more attention to the fashion space in the last few years. The success of Gilt, Rue La La, and Ideeli is what kicked that off to a large extent. They have … Next Page »

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