Assembled Fashion Conference 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yesterday [Saturday, November 12], I attended the Assembled Fashion Conference, thanks to an invite from Time Out NY! It was an interesting & informative day filled with compelling speakers within the fashion industry. The day was segmented into separate panels on particular subjects (longer post than usual, bear with me!).

It started with The Rise of the Social Brand. The moderator was Kathyrn Finney, CEO of The Budget Fashionista. The panelists included: Gemma Craven (Senior Vice President of Ogilvy Digital Influence), Sarah Conley (Social Media Manager of Ideeli), Lala Lopez (Social Media Strategist of Fashion Collective), and Daniel Saynt (CEO & Founder of Socialyte Co. & Director of Marketing at Rebecca Minkoff).
Social media, as we know, is a great tool for building authentic communication & conversations as well as build strong relationships. It takes time, effort, and cultivation. The panelists discussed how important the use of social media is, and mentioned that brands are now focusing & moving to social media marketing as an important strategy. The key is "getting the mix right". There are so many platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Polyvore, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. that it's best to pay attention to your brand & customer and try everything out in order to test which works best. Sarah said, "Go where your customers are", which is indeed the best advice in order to discover which platforms to use.
The discussion continued with Flash and Private Sales. The moderator was Hitha Prabhakar, Correspondent of Bloomberg TV. The panelists included: Abi Muller (CEO & Founder of Picki Picki), Jyothi Rao (General Manager of Gilt Group Women's), and Amanda Uprichard (President & CEO of Amanda Uprichard, LLC).
This particular session looked at how private sales have changed the way the fashion & luxury industry uses e-commerce as well as what the flash and private sale industry needs to do to stay relevant and innovative. There is a particular adrenaline rush that we all feel when we are purchasing items from a limited inventory that will be available for a limited time, which is why that even in a recession, flash sale sites may do well. However, on the flip side, that may result in a high rate of return. Despite that, everyone loves getting a good deal, whether it be a discount or having the opportunity to purchase an exclusive item. It was said, "Flash sales are like Black Friday every day!" Furthermore, there is a trend in mobile shopping -- it is predicted that $119 billion will be spent on mobile shopping alone in 2015! Incredible amount, right?
The conference continued with Content to Commerce. The moderator was Michael Martin, the editor-in-chief of Time Out New York. The panelists included: Erica Cerulo (Co-founder of Of a Kind), Marissa Gibbons (CEO & Co-founder of Lineby), Nizzi Karai Renaud (VP of Marketing & Merchandising of Refinery 29), and Caroline Wexler (Director of Digital Content at Lucky Magazine).
The panel described the blend of reporting on fashion and selling fashion. Now, it seems natural to start with one and then offer the other. When you sell fashion, customers are a lot smarter about products and want to know the stories behind it - the process of it, the origin, inspiration, etc. When you report on fashion, it is then easier to sell it. There is more engagement and captivation with the use of bloggers and other influencers. Partnerships are great to have as well. For example, Caroline spoke about the partnership they're having with Fashism. As some of you might already know, users can upload their outfit images onto Fashism & have it critiqued by Lucky editors. It's a great way to integrate both brands with the customer. It's all about content, commerce, and community.
Then came the discussion of Discovery 2.0. The moderator was Cate Corcoran, freelance writer for WWD, The New York Times, and Slate. The panelists included: Ryan Junee (CEO & Founder of Inporia), Brooke Moreland (CEO & Co-founder of Fashism), Hilary Peterson (VP of Business Development of Lyst), and Vivian Weng (Co-founder of FashionStake).
The connected world is both exciting but perilous for brands because it's a continuously disaggregated experience. How people shop has been and continues to be disrupted, but equally challenging is how people discover what to buy. Discovery is a long lead activity.
After a break for lunch, the conference resumed with The New E-Commerce - Experiential. The moderator was Lauren Indvik (Associate Editor of Media & Marketing of Mashable). The panelists included: Jamal Motlagh (CEO of fitted fashion), Shauna Mei (CEO & Founder of AHALife), and Anthony Santagati III (Manager of Creative & Digital Media of Lacoste).
Fit is definitely key in e-commerce. This point has been stressed throughout the entire day, and was a popular subject. The hardest part about shopping online is not knowing exactly how the garment may fit on our individual bodies, and what particular scale size a retailer might have. Once a company can figure out fit, everything will seem golden. What I also took away from this particular panel: "For women, it's all about their backside. There's actually a mathematical way to enhance that area" - Jamal Motlagh.
It was followed by Yuli Ziv, CEO & Founder of Style Coalition, discussing the Rise and Roll of Fashion Bloggers. "Bloggers are like the new celebrity type". They have a strong following and their own interactions & relationships with their followers and readers. Although, it's not only about the amount of followers. A successful blog produces quality content. With that said, they have a strong influence and have many opportunities to work with brands now. It is also more common for companies to work with bloggers.
Jordy Leiser, CEO & Co-Fonder of Stella Service, discussed Keep Them Happy, Insights into the Customer Experience. He spoke about the efficiency of companies & the top ways to connect with customers. There should be a phone number available & easy to find in order for customers to contact the company if they should have any questions or problems. It's best to reach a human contact within 1 minute after calling or within a day after emailing. It's shocking to discover that 40% of emails sent are not being responded to. The presentation lets companies know where they may fall short, and definitely gave great tips on how to make shopping experiences better.
It was then followed by Retail Disruption/Business Model Innovation. The moderator was Simone Oliver, senior fashion producer of the New York Times. The panelists included: Katia Beauchamp (Co-founder of Birchbox), Lara Crystal (VP of Brand Marketing at Rent the Runway), Melanie Moore (CEO & Co-founder of Elizabeth & Clarke), Richard Mumbu (VP of Marketing at Bonobos), and Chantel Waterbury (CEO & founder of chloe + isabel).
Technology innovations in conjunction with changes to manufacturing and distribution have come together, seemingly all at once, and force everyone to rethink how they shop and think of fashion & luxury. Birchbox & Rent the Runway were great examples, giving customers access to a product they may have not been able to reach before. It introduces the customer to something they mat not normally buy, and allows some exposure.
The conference concluded with the last panel, Fashion Tech Startup Showcase.The moderator was Liz Bacelar of Assembled Fashion. This presentation featured 5 different start up companies and the audience were able to tweet to vote for their favorite and the winner will be able to present at a future conference, I believe.
The presenters included: Dane Aprino (Co-founder of Alluring Logic), Alisa Gould-Simon (Director of Marketing & Communications at Pose), David Whittemore (Co-founder of Clothes Horse), Jenny Wu (Co-founder of Stylyt), and Seph Skerritt (President of Proper Cloth). All were very interesting and innovative companies. Most of which, involved customization, fit, or interaction with the consumer. I recommend checking each of these companies out, which were very engaging.

I've also tweeted during the event, so check out my Twitter newsfeed for some quick overview of the day :) Check out my Facebook page for some images that may have not been included in this post.

Which topic do you find the most interesting?

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Jessica said...

Great post. I liked the idea that fit is extremely important in e-commerce. I know there have been plenty of shops online that I've ordered stuff from, only to have the size not fit as well as I assumed. Some places run small, others run large. So its good to know how a certain shop's clothes will fit. :)

xx Jessica said...

Sounds great!


Couture Carrie said...

Sounds awesome!
Love the pics!


Unknown said...

Love the photos, this is awesome!


Kallie, Happy Honey and Lark said...

Shoot! I wish I would have known about it. Must remember to read TONY more often. This looks fantastic. I work in advertising, but I never get to go to any panels that interest me beyond my actual work. Looks like you got a lot out of it!

Andrea said...

great post!

Grace said...

Wow, that all sounds really interesting! Especially about flash sales staying relevant.

Style, She Wrote said...

Sounds like a really interesting conference Audrey. Thanks for sharing and for the great images. Hope you had a good weekend. xo style, she wrote

The Sydney Girl said...

wow how interesting! i'll be on the panel of a forum like that in sydney soon! it's all about social media and how we engage with PR etc. :-)

Thanks for sharing!

XXX The Sydney Girl

J said...

this sounds like a great conference, wish i could have gone too!! a lot of great ideas and points! social media is so powerful.

StyleMeBAD said...

these conferences are always so great!! So important to learn all that you can and to network! Looks like you had a great time!

Mary and Dyer said...

Wow! I would have love to have been there! Every single topic would have been beneficial for me to learn about! I just started an online business and am dying to learn more! So jealous! xox

I just became your newest follower! I would love for you to check out my blog & follow back if you'd like! :)


Harija said...

looks like an awesome fashion conference - I wish I was there =)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Audrey,

Sounds like an interesting conference and would have been great networking with others.

Happy new week

Alexa said...

Wow sounds like such an informative conference. I always want to attend things like this...feel like I could learn a lot!

Josie said...

This sounds like such an interesting and informational conference. I can't believe you got to see Amanda Uprichard -- I love her designs!
xo Josie

classiq said...

Everything is very interesting. Thanks for a very thorough review.:)

Anonymous said...

really cool. that looks like a interesting conference. thanks for sharing!

Blonde hair, Blue jeans said...

sure it was interesting! :)

Crazy for fashion said...

Very interesting! Have a lovely week <3<3

MosaMuse said...

sounds interesting!

SabinePsynopsis said...

Interesting post! The whole internet retail and blogging scene is still so much developing and growing - How much bloggers want to become marketing tools or rather stay independent... I think we're still getting our heads around it.

Cafe Fashionista said...

You seriously attend the greatest events! :)

Elle Sees said...

Fulll of lots on info. Great coverage

Anonymous said...

interesting :)

little luxury list said...

That sounds so cool and what a great collection of panels!
Have a lovely week dear!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Wow very cool!

STYLE'N said...

What a thorough and informative post Audrey.

creativefashionglee said...

This is such an informative post, dear. Thank you so much for sharing. Made me unnderstand more the concept of flash sales. :)

alicia said...

great post, audrey-- lots to think about!

xoxo said...

Oh that looks interest...wait are those purple socks? I can't take a man seriously in that color purple!

Oh to Be a Muse said...

this is pretty awesome. a ton of great panelists with a ton of great advice! i wish i were there.


Wow1 This looks like it was an amazing conference. Would love to attend something like this. Wonderful post dear!

Unknown said...

wow looks like a nice fill of new information!

Hot Pink Day
Shop Blue Vanilla

Unknown said...

This sounds like such an interesting event--wish there was going to be one on the west coast!

xo Mary Jo


Sounds like a good conference. I think the rise and roll of bloggers would definitely the one I'd be most interested in. :)SarahD

FashionJazz said...

Sounds like a really interesting conference babe :)

Happy Monday xx

Jennifer Fabulous said...

Sounds like a fabulous, important event! Lucky you. ;)

Bonnie said...

Ahhhhhh, I love this event. I wish I could have been there!! It looks like my kind of people.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

The Blonde Duck said...

The social media intrigues me just b/c I suck at it.

Akiko said...

It sounds like a great conference. Love to attend one of those and learn. Thank you for sharing :) -akiko

Erin said...

That's awesome! How fun!


Erin @

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

i bought Yuli's book but have yet to read it! i really should and asap!

OneCraftyFox said...

You get to go the best places!!

Kimberlee said...

I love your recap of events! So many great people - love Sarah, Shauna, Yuli and Katia! Wish I could have gone :(

Lala Lopez said...

Audrey, amazing recap of AF! I'm looking forward to keeping in touch!

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