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Intelligent Design

Burgeoning fashion site Polyvore creates a monthly magazine

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It’s hard to believe that a new-ish, niche-y social network could succeed in a Facebook world.

But Polyvore, a website where users make digital collages of clothing and accessories, has amassed 11 million loyal users, many of whom return each day—and spend an average of eight minutes a visit. For apparel industry execs, it’s an engagement dream. Users interact with Polyvore’s database of 42 million articles of clothing; the items are clearly identified by brand name; and they all link to shopping sites.

Polyvore capitalizes on its humming community by selling ad space and paid promotions of products, which typically see a boost of 5 million to 10 million impressions, says Lester Lee, the company’s head of business development. But Polyvore has something even more precious than eyeballs. It has a giant instant focus group at its disposal, and the data it spins out is highly sought after. The site offers rag trade players valuable engagement analytics on everything from apparel categories (for example, shoes) to individual brands (say, Yves Saint Laurent) to specific products (Yves Saint Laurent’s Tribute sandal garnered 227,114 impressions in August).

To further capitalize on that information trove, Polyvore last month launched a sleek monthly analytics magazine called Intelligence Report. Free for retailers, brands, and editors, the publication aims to share its wealth of engagement data, including top brands (last month, Wet Seal), top e-commerce destinations (HM.com), top trends (capes…rejoice super heros and magicians), and top products (Miu Miu’s velvet bow bootie).

More importantly, Polyvore is distributing the data in a way the apparel industry is accustomed to digesting its news, with pretty pictures in a glossy print format. “There was something interesting about doing it in print with a high production quality,” Lee says. “We would love every agency to have it on their coffee table.”

While Intelligence Report isn’t a direct play for new revenue for the VC-backed startup—the monthly is free and does not run ad pages—it is a way to keep info-hungry retail buyers plugged into trends, highlight up-and-coming designers for brands, and give apparel marketers an instant idea of which items resonate with Polyvore’s growing audience.

Oh, and it’s a gentle little reminder to its pool of potential advertisers: Polyvore’s audience is available for the buying.

Shop on!