Polyvore Uses Social Engagement to Grow Indie Brands

Designer Collective driving sales

Last January, social style network Polyvore launched its Designer Collective, a mentorship program to help indie brands like Dannijo and Meredith Wendell learn to use Polyvore to drive traffic and sales. Four months in, the collaboration suggests that the right kind of social exposure can lead to major growth.

Accessories brand Meredith Wendell was picked up by popular Amazon-owned retailer Shopbop, and Polyvore continues to drive nearly 20 percent of sales through the brand’s own website. The brand also collaborated with Polyvore member Sincerely Jules on a handbag that quickly sold out at Bloomingdale’s. “One of the challenges we faced prior to being a part of the Designer Collective was getting the brand recognition and awareness to help drive traffic and, more importantly, sales to our site,” said Meredith Wendell co-founder Wendell German, who added that consumer engagement had also increased substantially.

Meanwhile, shoe designer Madison Harding’s overall sales have increased by 2,250 percent, nearly 70 percent of its traffic comes through Polyvore, and its own design collaboration with Polyvore member Olivia Lopez produced a pair of festival-inspired boots that sold out in a week after being spotted on tastemaker Whitney Port at Coachella. Polyvore has also become the top referral site for shoe brand Alejandro Ingelmo and is in the top three for jewelry designers Dannijo.

In addition to mentoring these brands, Polyvore has also been using them to beta test new ad products, said Lee.

Considering the success Polyvore has had with its inaugural Design Collective brands, Lee sees the program potentially becoming a yearly class, with new designers each year. (Think a tech-savvy CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for the indie set.) “At the end of the day, getting the community to engage with your brand really does drive traffic and sales," said Jess Lee, co-founder and CEO of Polyvore.

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