The Glossy Podcast is a weekly show on the impact of technology on the fashion and luxury industries with the people making change happen.
Week in Review: Balenciaga x Fortnite, LFW and Vestiaire Collective's mega-valuation
Neighborhood Goods’ Matt Alexander on disrupting the traditional department store model
For many consumers, a well-curated Amazon homepage -- complete with a fall shoe edit and ‘customers’ most loved’ products, from toaster ovens to tote bags -- has replaced the need for the local department store. But the benefits of a brick-and-mortar store for brands and customers alike were not lost on Matt Alexander, co-founder and CEO of Neighborhood Goods, a department store for the new age.
Unlike the traditional -- and dying -- breed of department stores, Neighborhood Goods, which launched in 2017, caters to the modern consumer with a selection of rotating brands and innovative restaurants.
For some brands, having a presence at Neighborhood Goods resembles “a pop-up,” while for others, it resembles “wholesale,” “testing real estate” or “a marketing channel,” said Alexander on the latest Glossy Podcast. “It creates this opportunity in this landscape and ecosystem where they can show up in a physical and digital way, [and] leverage the restaurants and different bits and pieces. [And they can] inexpensively get in front of a great consumer and accomplish all sorts of different goals.”
Since the first Neighborhood Goods location opened in Plano, Texas, the company has continued to expand its physical footprint, with stores in Austin and Chelsea, as well as its digital presence. “With the [onset] of the pandemic, [all products] went online,” leading to a 1,000% year-over-year sales growth on digital last year, said Alexander.
“The more we can [translate] the ‘why’ and the storytelling that we do well in the stores to the digital realm, the better,” he said. “[Our website] can augment and create something special to exist alongside a lot of existing channels for the brands [and] consumers.”
Centric Brands' Suzy Biszantz: 'The most challenging obstacles are logistics and supply chain'
In 2020, office spaces around the country began to resemble the ghost towns of the Wild West. Still, Suzy Biszantz, group president of men's and women's at Centric Brands, was determined to find an in-person space for her teams that would balance safety and productivity. To do so, she traversed to the Arts District of Los Angeles and secured a workspace that could also facilitate the growth of the company, where she oversees its Favorite Daughter, Herve Leger, Hudson, Buffalo Jeans and Izod brands.
“It’s important that your creative people who touch product are able to actually touch and feel and be around the product,” said Biszantz on the Glossy podcast. “We rented a new building that’s 20,000 square feet, has 10 separate entrances and is all one story.”
The building's other Covid-safe features include ample outdoor space for collaborative meetings, a lack of elevators, and separate exits and entrances.
Each brand needs its own space because each is focused on different objectives, she said. “[For] each brand, you have to look at the total potential,” when determining its DTC, wholesale and retail strategies," she said.
In the same way, not every brand is focusing its marketing strategy on collaborations with influencers, which is a unique challenge.
“You have to strike the right balance of operational support, logistics support, strategic support,” she said, regarding a brand's role in influencer partnerships. “But you can’t lose and water down the authenticity of who you’re collaborating with.”
Bonus Podcast: Glossy staffers recap a whirlwind NYFW
Glossy’s editorial team, like much of the fashion community, reunited with New York Fashion this past week, as the event returned by hosting a full schedule of IRL shows for the first time since February 2020.
Going in, we had some expectations about how the event would play out, as we’ve covered NYFW every season for the past several years. But as the world has turned upside down since we last hit a runway show at Spring Studios, for example, we also had some questions. For example, how would event organizers make showgoers feel safe, as the Delta variant is still a big cause for concern? And would the usual editors, buyers and influencers show up, with most every brand also showing their collection virtually?
On this bonus episode of the Glossy Podcast, editor-in-chief Jill Manoff and fashion reporter Danny Parisi break down what they experienced while show- and event-hopping this season. As they tell it, the event had highs and lows, plus a few surprises that hinted at the future of fashion week.
IMG’s Dominic Kaffka on the ‘festivalization’ of NYFW
In his 13 years working on the events production side of IMG, Dominic Kaffka -- now svp of IMG Fashion Events -- has not only had an insider’s view of New York Fashion Week’s ongoing transformation, but he’s also had a hand in steering its course.
For example, he spent the past two show seasons fueling the event’s digital acceleration by ensuring the show went on, so to speak, without physical shows. In September 2020 and February 2021, the bi-annual event was largely carried out virtually, due to the pandemic.
“We had 20-25 guests [per show] -- but for us, it was really important to not miss a full New York Fashion Week,” Kaffka said on the latest Glossy Podcast. “Most of our clients who chose not to do a live fashion show with guests came up with much more creative ways to present their collections. A lot of designers did lookbook shoots, a lot of designers produced very elevated fashion films on a cinematic level -- their budgets shifted from putting on a big show to putting on a big digital content production.”
But now, he said, “People are shifting their budgets, their intentions and their planning back to live events.”
Ahead of New York Fashion Week, which kicked off on Wednesday, Kaffka discussed how designers will strike a physical-digital balance this season and to what extent the event will be democratized moving forward.
Everlane’s Michael Preysman: 'Buying carbon offsets is an excuse to continue to reap carbon'
“We have to be OK with riding the wave." That is the mantra Michael Preysman, founder and CEO of Everlane, has come to rely on throughout Covid-19.
In other words, Preysman has learned that, while the Everlane team can't control what challenges are thrown at the fashion brand -- which was founded with a focus on transparency and ethical sourcing in 2010 -- they can control the way that they respond.
From the initial waves of the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement to now the Delta variant, getting through the past year can be described as “running a sprint, and it turns out it’s a marathon,” said Preysman, on the most recent episode of the Glossy Podcast.
While the vaccine rollout evoked hope in many for the return of normalcy, Everlane has been honest about the fact that the resulting supply chain issues and labor shortages will take “another 3-5 years” to come back from, said Preysman. Until then, Preysman remains determined to maintain transparency regarding Everlane’s prices and direct-to-consumer business model, overall.
“[Our] $100 cashmere is coming to an end in 2022, because the cost of cashmere is increasing, said Preysman.
However, the typical Everlane customer, who ranges in age from their late 20s to early 30s, is “willing to pay more” for the brand’s environmentally conscious and quality pieces, said Preysman.
Everlane has also adapted the customer experience to be “seamless” online and offline, ensuring that “fitting rooms are the star of the [physical] space,” and that returns and shipping are made easy for customers.
Looking at the bigger picture of sustainable fashion, Preysman remains outspoken that sustainability has “completely been greenwashed,” he said.
"We try to avoid that word [sustainable] and use more factual statements, [like] organic, or clean water, etc.,” and to actively focus on reducing the brand’s carbon footprint. Everlane has done so by committing to the use of recycled materials and more efficient means of transport.
“What we're trying to show is that you can both … live a great life and have a low environmental impact,” said Preysman.
Saucony 🙌 Huzzah!
Listened 👂 to the Saucony episode w/Anne Cavasso. I had a buddy who owned a running shoe 🏃♂️ store. Got me to try Saucony & I was most impressed. As a longtime runner, I’m pretty picky as to what I’ll run in. Solid brand.
Great For Anyone Working In Fashion
Jill asks great questions and isn’t afraid to dig in and ask tough ones as well. Love the focus on influencers since they are really changing the game of fashion pr/marketing. I can’t get enough of this podcast!
Keep it up!
- Cassandra McClure
Clean Beauty Podcast