Even for the smallest boutiques, e-commerce is a requisite these days. But organizing and operating an online store is more laborious than one might think.
That’s why Michael Mente and Mike Karanikolas, owners of well-known e-commerce sites RevolveClothing.com, ForwardForward.com and ReverseReverse.com, decided to launch the US division of FarFetch.com, a UK site that offers items from independent European boutiques that are not quite ready to set up their own Web shops.
Thus far, FarFetch’s US branch features pieces from EVA New York, BBlessing, and more recently, American Rag, the famed California mini-chain that’s been painfully missed online–especially for those of us who don’t get out to the West Coast as much as we’d like to. Labels repped include Camilla Skovgaard, Manish Arora, and C.Neeon.
To celebrate its partnership with American Rag, FarFetch is hosting a party at the retailer’s Los Angeles store on La Brea. Angel Taylor will be performing, and shoppers who attend the event will get the opportunity to win a bunch of stuff, including a $50 gift certificate from Umami Burger–yum–Eskuche headphones, and shoes from Warriors of Radness. (You can RSVP here.)
We recently chatted with Mente about FarFetch, the success of his other sites, and why brick and mortar still matters.
Fashionista: You’re currently running four sites–can you explain the differences between them?
Michael Mente: Revolve is where we started and is the backbone of everything. The site carries over 500 designers and 15,000 products for just women alone. I can shop there for my niece, my mom, my girlfriend, and myself. I’m not not sure if anywhere else in the world (physical stores or online) that has the range of designers and range of styles that we try offer our customers.
But the luxury, craftsmanship, and design of some of the products we were bringing into Revolve just wasn’t coming across. So we decided to launch Forward to focus on the designer market. It’s a mix of big fashion names next to the emerging luxury houses of tomorrow. And Reverse was built to better serve our more budget-oriented customers. These shoppers love fashion just as much as our Revolve and Forward customers, but are just looking to stretch their dollar a little more, and really…. Who doesn’t love a bargain?
So where does FarFetch fit in?
We chose to launch FarFetch because so many of the best brick and mortar stores in the world don’t have Web sites! We’re able to do two awesome things. 1. Use our experience and skills to build individual Web sites for amazing stores that they may not have been able to do so on their own. 2. Put all the products from these great stores on one site, which is unlike any other shopping experience out there. We like to view FarFetch as the most exclusive and exciting digital shopping district out there.
There are so many stores on FarFetch that thrill me. American Rag was in desperate need of an e-tail outlet! Do you find that a lot of users are super excited to find their favorite indie boutiques online? Users are definitely excited. Travel and shopping go hand-in-hand, and we’re able to help facilitate a relationship that previously wouldn’t exist. A trip to LA has to include shopping, and if you’re shopping in LA, you have to stop by American Rag. Now shoppers can check out what American Rag is up to all the time.
What are some of the FarFetch users favorite designers? We offer a diverse range of designers, which is not surprising given the diversity of the individual boutiques that make up the site. It really varies, from some of the most established and respected labels such as Comme des Garcons and Maison Martin Margiela, to fresh and new designers like Android Homme and Warriors of Radness.
You’re doing this event with Angel Taylor at the American Rag store on La Brea. What do you think stuff like this does in terms of marketing your product? Fashion is ultimately part of a lifestyle, which is something that isn’t always easy to communicate online. We’re hoping events like this help give customers a context and reference point for the clothes we’re selling. Fashion and music should be fun, and I hope everyone who comes to the event enjoys themselves!