There's no other Instagram safe space quite like the Revolve Social Club. The invite-only storefront on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles is a brick-and-mortar marketing extension of the online retailer, and it's a smorgasbord of 'grammable vignettes: floral installations, a picturesque rooftop, a glossy Chanel surfboard propped against a matte-black wall. It's a place where there's no shame in capturing images of yourself, your accessories or your hot friends — and you'll always find a sponsored photo booth to encourage in that pursuit.
Over the weekend, all three levels of the Club were decked out for Revolve's beauty launch, a brand new category for the fashion e-comm site. And the whole affair was tailored to a social media-competent crowd: The main floor was outfitted to broadcast tutorials hosted by bloggers and celebrity makeup artists on Facebook Live, guests could get their makeup touched up and snag freebies from niche brands like NCLA and R + Co., and the rooftop offered a dedicated staging area for artfully arranging products against provided backdrops to create the perfect flatlays. Revolve understands the power of user-generated content, and when it comes to hosting brand events at the Social Club, the company ensures that everyone welcomed through the door leaves with something to share. In the case of this weekend’s programming, the goal was to spread the Gospel of #REVOLVEbeauty to friends and followers.
"Beauty is a giant market, but one that we feel our customer doesn't have a place to shop right now," says Revolve Chief Brand Officer, Raissa Gerona. "It was important for us to establish ourselves as the go-to place where you can buy emerging designers, so for beauty that was the exact same thought process we had." The lineup is focused on hard-to-find brands across cosmetics, skin care, hair, nails and body, including vegan options, which Revolve has identified as an important value to its shoppers.
The launch event marked the second time customers have been invited to the Social Club. Its guest list is typically limited to editors, bloggers and great looking women with huge social-media followings (aka influencers) — similar to the crews invited to take up residence at the brand's Hamptons house over the summer, or to take part in one of the many #RevolveAroundTheWorld trips designed to show the site's product in context. This time around, Revolve welcomed 200 "high value customers" to the event, each of them handpicked for their longtime loyalty to the site. In Revolve-speak, "high value" doesn't just include top spenders, but also those with a history of engaging with the brand via social media. And if there's any question whether this was a hot ticket, social media's a reflection of that, too. "We put on our Instagram Story an RSVP for the event," says Gerona, "but we had to take it down because within 10 minutes we got over 300 RSVPs."
The event's focus was on influencers who meld the worlds of beauty and fashion, with live demos like a "Holiday Smoky Eye" with Jasmine Sanders and Hrush Achemyan, and a "Wavy Beach Hair" how-to with fashion blogger Rocky Barnes. "This was actually the first time Rocky's done beauty; we work with a ton of fashion influencers who weirdly don't work that much with beauty brands," says Gerona. The company plans to continue aligning its network of fashion influencers (which it's been growing since 2008) with the beauty category, and vice versa, bringing beauty vloggers and the like into the fold and eventually matching them with the fashion side. It's a smart move, ensuring crossover exposure for all parties involved.
This is where Revolve's strength lies, and why it stands a fighting chance in the crowded beauty world. The company holistically understands how people shop today, where they get inspiration, whose opinions they trust and the greater image people want to build for themselves. With the evolution of #selfie to #shelfie, the vanity has become shareable content, with each little jar a beacon of personal style.