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Fast Fashion Finds – April 2013, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – April 2013, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those working in fashion and retail. These resources include the latest business news and valuable insights for designers, retailers, and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles follow us on Twitter: @osfashion.

Business of Fashion || Retail Recon: Inside Warby Parker’s First Offline Flagship by BoF Team

Now, after experimenting with a series of successful “shop-in-shops” and showrooms in several US cities, Warby Parker is making its first major push into offline commerce, with the launch of a physical flagship at 121 Greene Street, smack in the heart of New York’s Soho district.

When BoF visited the new store, three days after it opened to the public, it was already buzzing with a fleet of uniformed sales-staff and people of all ages, both locals and visitors, trying on eyeglasses and exploring the airy space. The deep, high-ceilinged interior was flooded with light and, on each side of the store, the walls were lined with 18-foot-high shelves displaying the brand’s fashionable frames, interspersed with a curated selection of books from independent, artsy imprints.

Business of Fashion || Op-Ed: Racial Diversity on the Runway by Demi Sinclair

This isn’t about filling a quota. It’s about getting global brands to recognize that when they send an all-white cast down the runway, they are promoting an ideal of beauty that does not include the majority of the world’s population. This is problematic. It’s not only troubling from a business perspective. It’s also a social issue. And the bottom line is, a casting director is simply not doing their job right if they cannot see beauty or relevance in models of color.

Fashion’s Collective || Should Brands Get Tangled Up in Vine? by Elizabeth Canon

Vine is proving successful amongst sketch comedians, illustrators and filmmakers, (Tribeca Film Festival has even launched a film-making contest on Vine, using the #sixsecfilms hashtag), but for fashion and luxury brands the main challenge is how raw the final video appears.

The level of artistic control and polish are virtually non existent on Vine, which means that in order for your brand to be successful you either need a well defined personality and strong point of view that has proven successful on social media, and/or you need a campaign concept that is intended to strip away (or re-define) a prestige brand image.

StartUp Fashion || How to Grow Your Fashion Brand’s Pinterest Channel by Kathleen Ong

There have been many articles, tips and advice, and general how-to guides out there for why your brand should have a presence on Pinterest. As the third largest social media channel after Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a great channel for brands within visual industries to use as a tool for creating an online community. As a designer you can create boards to showcase your collections, design inspiration, and other topics that fit your brand identity.

So now that you’ve set up a Pinterest account and have started to pin away, what are some things that you can do to grow your brand’s Pinterest channel?

StartUp Fashion || Self-Repairing Fabric in Fashion by Jane Hamill

Developers have created a new kind of smart fabric: a plastic textile that automatically repairs itself when ripped. Self-repairing material is not an entirely new concept, having been used in conjunction with substances such as metal. However, this is the first instance the idea has been applied to fabric. Originally purposed for use in rainwear for professional fisherman, this new self-repairing fabric technology could potentially benefit all kinds of outerwear.

Retail Minded || 3 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

While email marketing may seem old school compared to Tweeting, texting and uploading pics to Instagram, it still tops customer preferences for gaining useful insight on retailer sales, promotions, events and more. Plus, it’s affordable to do – which any business owner can appreciate it.

Retail Minded || Keep Customers Loyal & Make More Money by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

So often, retailers are worried about getting new customers that they forget to care about their existing customers. This type of mentality can lead to a lack of customer retention – and possibly even worse, a bad reputation. The question of “why” this happens is still a mystery, though. If someone has shown you interest in your store, made a purchase or even multiple purchases and possibly even signed up for your email list / loyalty program, then why would a retailer NOT cater more to this crowd?

A study by Deloitte Consulting found that businesses that track their customer loyalty are 60% more profitable than other companies. 60%! What does that number mean to you? Even if you want your business to increase 5% this year (though more never hurts), consider leaning on your existing customers to help you grow your business.

Entrepreneur|| Startup Survival 101: It’s All About Relationships That Work by Martin Zwilling

Most entrepreneurs, and members of any small team for that matter, naively assume that the key to their success is hard work, dedication and long hours at the business. In reality, their effectiveness is usually more related to how well they develop their work relationships with peers and business leaders.

First, they need to decipher correctly every relationship as a workship, friendship or foe.

Inc. || 5 Things You Should Never Do on Facebook by Marla Tabaka

Facebook has become an indispensable tool for business. Why? Yes, because there are a billion people interacting there. Also because your friends, relatives, and most importantly, your competition, are interacting–creating great relationships and building trust–in this global community.

Did you know that Facebook is primarily a consumer-driven community? And most of them are savvy enough to smell (and block) a disingenuous marketer a mile away. We asked author and speaker Brian Basilico for his top five Facebook “don’ts” for your business.

Tweak Your Biz || Don’t Let The Internet Take Over Your Business! by Lewis Evans

It’s so convenient, isn’t it? It’s the first thing you’re drawn to every morning. It pervades your life via your desktop and mobile devices. It sucks you in. After all, it’s your life-support system and it has all the answers. Or does it?

Undoubtedly, the Internet does hold a lot of answers, but how we use it and the expectations we have of it are key.

Increasingly, I see that we’re becoming expert at providing and consuming ‘light’ information on the web. As Internet marketing and interconnectivity become more sophisticated, we are bombarded with half-useful information that never quite gets translated into practical improvements in our business. It consumes a lot of time, while seducing us with fascinating infographics, pictures, videos and never-ending threads.

 

Also check out:

OSF Contributor Liza Kindred, of Third Wave Fashion, was featured and quoted in an article about consumer data collection from The High Low. José de Cabo of Olapic makes an appearance as well!

The High Low || Digital Data Collection and How to Do it Right by Susannah Edelbaum

We spoke to Liza Kindred, founder of Third Wave Fashion, a consulting company which works with entrepreneurs on top-to-bottom branding strategies and specializes in compelling fashion tech start-ups.  First and foremost, Kindred says, “One crucial thing to bear in mind when collecting data is privacy.”  To that end, “Incremental data collection,” done in a way “that’s respectful of consumers’ comfort levels, is an important way for companies to get the information they need.”  To do this right, the approach needs to be direct and social on one side and behind the scenes on the other.

Original Image created by Dave Bleasdale.

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The Naked Truth About Subscription Start-Ups: The Good, The Bad & The Scams

The Naked Truth About Subscription Start-Ups: The Good, The Bad & The Scams

[Opinions held by the contributor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OS Fashion and its members.]

Is there a fundamental flaw in the application of the subscription model to consumer commerce start-ups with physical goods like fashion and CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies? There are some terrific consumer companies like Netflix and Spotify that have proved the viability of subscription models. They have innovative ideas. They create something that people want like streaming movies and music. They disrupt old-fashioned ways of doing things like having to physically go into Blockbuster to rent movies. They created markets and trends, instead of chasing the trend. But when start-ups apply this model without innovative products and branding, they sometimes rely on scams to lure customers and smoke and mirrors style PR to lead people to believe that their company is successful. In fact, you can even argue that most (with a few exceptions) consumer subscription models with physical products are flawed and unnecessary.

Initially subscriptions became popular among VCs because a subscription implied predictable, recurring revenue. Recurring revenue software businesses tend to have better valuation multiples. However, consumer commerce subscriptions with physical products generally should not. The problem is that many of these well funded subscription start-ups engage in deceptive customer acquisition, lack focus on retention and branding, and partake in poor business practices.

 

Just last week, the Science incubator in Los Angeles launched yet another subscription start-up, a company called ELLIE. It offers workout clothes for women with a monthly subscription service. Seriously, who buys workout clothes every month?  I wonder what the people at Science do with their clothes every month. Throw them away? Don’t they do laundry like the rest of us?

Science start-ups have one thing in common: an aggressive emphasis on paid and socially-driven customer acquisition. To build a customer base quickly, ELLIE reportedly engaged in deceptive bait and switch tactics that are downright shocking and unprofessional. Prior to launching ELLIE, the founders launched a company called PvBody which offered customers two pieces of designer fitness apparel from brands like Lululemon, Nike and Under Armour for $39.99 a month. PvBody even offered a 40% promotion via popular fitness blogs like SarahFit.com to lure customers. Over 70 of Sarah Fit’s readers who signed up for the promotion complained about their less than stellar experience: everyone got a notification that PvBody was not going to be sending out the designer brands they promised , but their own brand named ELLIE.

Now, PvBody has been rebranded as ELLIE. ELLIE used the clout of leading brands like Lululemon and Nike to deceptively acquire subscribers while promising those brands instead of its own. These alleged bait and switch tactics – sometimes known as  fraudulent conveyance — were used to create “traction” for ELLIE prior to the brand’s launch. Ironically, ELLIE’s scam was rewarded with $2M from three venture capital  funds. (For more information about ELLIE’s bait and switch scam, read posts at: Complaint ListThe Purple Giraffe and Marathon Lar.)

According to a recent Venture Beat article, “the lack of highly sophisticated tech is becoming part of the Science blueprint.”  Well, Science start-ups don’t have sophisticated branding or product either. Their strategy has been to focus on unnecessary subscription start-ups with vanity customer acquisition proof points. This does not work since a subscription model isn’t a guarantee for long-term recurring revenue or customer retention.  In the case of the Science portfolio company Dollar Shave Club, which raised $9.8M on an exceptionally healthy $30M pre-money valuation in their most recent round, it experienced impressive but very fleeting traction after their extensive paid customer acquisition efforts. Paid customer acquisition is useless if your brand and products cannot retain the customer. Customers will not engage or purchase after being acquired. Good brands and products are capable of organic growth with monthly churn under 4%. Good content and branding make a brand sticky. Retargeting makes a brand stickier. When you have exceptional branding, product and content, customers will discover you.  Then the focus shifts to customer retention.

 

Just as Science’s Dollar Shave Club and Wittlebee don’t solve any problems or offer anything new, Ellie does not either. If someone is merely looking for Lululemon- style activewear at a lower price point, there are plenty of online retailers that offer lower priced workout-wear such as H&M, Gap, Athleta, even Target. Unless new start-ups are offering great products, prices and experiences, they shouldn’t even bother to try to compete with established big brands or e-tailers. What problem are they solving? What is their point of difference? Are they making the process easier? Plenty of online retailers are offering lower prices.

Subscriptions only work when the price, product, quality and user experience are great. If there is a product mix, it must be personalized or expertly curated, not random. Beauty subscription companies have a hard time satisfying customers with their one-size-fits all (non-personalized) boxes of sample products due to different skin types, customer preferences in color cosmetics and fragrance. Following the success of New Beauty & Beautylish, companies like Birchbox are now focused on content and eCommerce. New Beauty’s Test Tube,  the original beauty sample subscription company which launched in 2005 (well before Birchbox’s launch in 2010), works because of its targeted focus on high performance and efficacious luxury skincare and haircare products; every month you get some of the hottest new products coupled with the latest issue of New Beauty magazine, an industry authority. Since they aren’t offering random color cosmetics or fragrances, color and scent preferences aren’t an issue and there’s a higher probability of satisfying the customer.

Birchbox’s beauty and greatest vice is that they don’t pay for products from brands. Although Birchbox, which received $11.9M in venture funding, clearly has the cash to pay for the products, it engages in dangerous business practices which jeopardize the long-term viability of their core business model.  I recently interviewed Suk Chan the founder and CEO of Soukenberi, an eco-friendly home fragrance and bodycare brand.  Ms. Chan said, “Birchbox requested 300,000 units of a product for free; in return, they said that could offer a conservative purchase order of 400 units for that product if it was received well by their sampling audience.” Birchbox also requested a special sample size, which Ms. Chan would need to create, that would yield at least 3 uses of the product. After Ms. Chan negotiated with them, they lowered the amount of requested free product to 75,000 and then to 50,000 units (for a more targeted customer base). Birchbox only wanted to pay for a purchase order of 400 units after receiving 50,000 units for free. Ms. Chan decided not to do business with them since it was clear she wouldn’t get even a 1% return. Beyond a very conservative purchase order, Birchbox cannot quantify a significant return to brands despite their huge subscriber base. This is a flawed, inequitable method of doing business with brands since it puts many brands in financial jeopardy. Having a large subscriber base doesn’t necessarily yield a successful business. A successful business invests in its supplier ecosystem, it doesn’t destroy it.

 

The sad truth is most subscription companies are NOT doing anything special and are just adding unnecessary clutter to the ecosystem and our mailboxes.  That’s not to say that I don’t like any subscription models.  Three fabulous consumer commerce companies with subscriptions that make sense are Barkbox, NatureBox and Lacquerous whose visions go far beyond their initial consumer-facing product.

Lacquerous is the Netflix for luxury nail polish. It offers a 3 nail luxury polishes that are on trend for $18/month which is less than the cost of 1 bottle of luxury nail polish. It’s an affordable option for women who want to experience trendy new colors from luxury brands while spending a fraction of the cost. There is no other way to do this; Lacquerous is definitely innovative and disruptive. Although they just launched a month and a half ago, they are overwhelmed with customers; at the moment, there are 5,000 people on their waiting list to become new Lacquerous members. Why does it work? Nail polish is one of the hottest consumer commerce categories right now. Customers want to discover the trendiest luxury nail polishes at a discount. Lacquerous offers nail polishes from the most premium brands like Tom Ford, Chanel and NARS.  The products are on trend (focused curation), and, more importantly, its customers can choose the colors they want (personalization). It’s a business model that is a WIN for the Lacquerous team, the brands that they work with and its customers.

It’s trickier to apply the subscription model to fashion and consumer packaged goods start-ups. While many tech start-ups end up sacrificing their EBITDA to pursue future growth, future growth is often less obvious with some consumer commerce start-ups.  Where can you go next if you’re Dollar Shave? For a consumer commerce subscription to work: 1) the business model must be viable, and 2) the brand, product and price must be really compelling and perhaps even addictive. It should make life easier, solve a problem or create a new market. In the case of superstar subscription companies like Spotify, they initially earned their subscribers via freemium offerings and then turned many of them into paid subscribers. They succeed because they keep evolving and creating new markets and trends. That should be the goal of every start-up!

NOTE: All l the information in this article was compiled from public information and articles online which are hyperlinked except for one interview I had with Suk Chan, Founder of Soukenberi.

Previously by Sindhya:
My Break Up Letter to (Some) VCs
VCs Think My Boobs Need An Algorithm

Original header image provided by Lacquerous.

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OSF Discussion Recap: Instagram for Brands

OSF Discussion Recap: Instagram for Brands

Taking place within the Fashionopolis room with The Townhouse building of LIM’s campus, Open Source Fashion hosted it’s first discussion series and event of 2013 on Tuesday (Febuarary 5th). Focusing on how the speakers’ companies and the brands they work with use Instagram, the featured speakers for the discussion were: Jose de Cabo of Olapic, Brian DiFeo and Anthony Danielle of The Mobile Media Lab and Erica Lavelanet and David Pena of LP Fashion Philosophy

Starting off with hour of networking, attendees and speakers came in from the snow and the cold to mingle before the discussion started. Dr. Dudley Blossom, Associate Dean of Experiential Education & Career Management at LIM College, welcomed the OSFashion, speakers and attendees to the college. Dr. Blossom hoped that the speakers, many of them entrepreneurs in their field, not only saw LIM as a great place to hold these type of events but also a place where they could find potential interns and employees already trained to understand the business of fashion and ready to work.  LIM is a great place for professionals to invest in their business of fashion education through their graduate studies programs!

Olapic Logo

Jose de Cabo introduced himself as one of the co-founders of Olapic, the sponsor of the night’s event and explained briefly about what Olapic does. Olapic is a social photo crowd-sourcing service. One of the great features of Olapic is capturing conversations and images of your brand form Twitter and Instagram and bringing them to your site. Jose explained that photos from the online community often drive more traffic to brands than images create by the brand itself. The duo from LP introduced themselves as stylists for brands, bands and individual clients. They also run a style blog. The duo from TMML helps brands market themselves by pairing them with Instagram power-users and Instagram related events.

Here is a summary of some key points discussed:

  • Instagram can be a great way to create and shape an identity for a brand. Erica and David of LP are their brand, so their followers are following the brand because they also want to follow the people working at LP. On Instagram, the two showcase their work and also some behind the scenes shots.
  • “You get what you put into it.”:  You can just post pictures on Instagram, but there is also great value in interacting with other users. When you engage with users, they are more likely to engage with you.
    • If you use photos from the community, credit the user. Using community photos is a great way to give back.
    • TMML uses a 70 / 30 time split on Instagram.  70% interacting with others, 30% posting to their own profiles.
  • Instagram is great for event coverage. You can create and curate a gallery of the event or do live printing of images to extend the life of event. Olapic technology allows event organizers show off attendee Instagram images in near real-time at events.
    • Live events are a great way to get the community around a brand engaged offline.
  • Avoid paragraphs of hashtags when tagging photos. Instead be general or be really specific (such as creating your own hashtag.) You can sometimes just use hashtags to give your brand and photos personality, #forrealz.
  • Check out these apps and sites for analytics and image editing recommended by the panelists and audience: Nitrogram, Statigram and Instaeffects.
  • Don’t just post random photos on your Instagram feed. People appreciate quality shots.
  • Conversation: Do you take down a photo or leave it up if it’s bad or not getting attention?
  • Have a few solid social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) that your brand uses, don’t jump on to every new platform that comes out.
  • Think about how you are using Instagram: Are you using it to sell your product or for attention towards your brand. Which is more important?
  • Online audience can often tell if marketing something feels forced or somewhat organic.

The ideas and engagement was active. Attendees connected with each other and downloaded the recommended apps during and after the discussion. Of course, people were also networking face-to-face before and an hour after the discussion.

OS_Logo

Join us on Meetup to learn about the next NYC event in the Open Source Fashion discussion series.

Special Thanks to LIM College, Olapic, and Justin Lee Images!
View event images by Justin Lee Images on our Facebook Page here.

Follow us:
Instagram – @limcollege @JCabo80 @bridif @takinyerphoto @davieanderica @osfashion
Twitter – @limcollege @Olapic @bridif @takinyerphoto @MMLNYC @davieanderica @osfashion

Header image by Justin Lee Images

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Fast Fashion Finds – January 2013, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – January 2013, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl.

Forbes || Guide To NYC Fashion Week by Michelle Doucette

Whether you’re sartorially savvy or the polar opposite of a fashionista, the high drama and sheer talent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York—both inside and outside the tents—is a sight to behold. As designers from around the world prepare to debut their fall 2013 collections at Lincoln Center between Feb. 7 and 14, our Startle.com editors have been curating a collection of the best things to do and top-notch places to stay if you’re heading there to be part of the glitz and glamour.

Oh nice! A mention of Nolcha Fashion Week!

Independent Fashion Bloggers || Fashion GPS Radar Delivers NYFW Directly to Your Mobile by Amanda Boyce

Everything that you’ve heard about fashion week is probably true. It’s exhilarating, hectic, vibrant, and so jampacked with events that your head will literally pop off. But there is a way to keep calm and stay cool throughout fashion’s busiest time and it’s all in your mobile device and Fashion GPS’s updated Radar app.

The leader in fashion and digital, Fashion GPS’s Radar app is a fashion blogger’s ultimate tool for navigating the shows, events and parties during Fashion Week.

Business of Fashion || Fashion 2.0: Online Vintage Heats Up by Lauren Sherman

For nearly 20 years, eBay has been the dominant player in the market for vintage clothing and accessories. Now, a slew of start-ups are poised to disrupt the business of online fashion resale.

The last quarter of 2012 saw a veritable avalanche of activity in the space, including the launch of no fewer than five notable online vintage sites: Byronesque, Bib and Tuck and Nifty Thrifty in October; Vaunte and Shop Hers in November. That same month, online fashion juggernaut ASOS took a 30 percent stake in the year-old, pre-owned designer fashion site Covetique, while in December, leading luxury goods marketplace 1stdibs raised a $42 million Series B round from Index Ventures, Spark Capital and Benchmark.

So why the sudden surge of activity?

Fashion’s Collective || 3 Major Hurdles Brands Face Launching Ecommerce in China by Cece Liu

Despite the lack of a functional shipment and payment infrastructure, Chinese companies have invested heavily in e-commerce in the past decade and have created an online demand worth hundreds of billions of dollars. However, while the path has been forged and consumers have been educated to purchase goods online, western brands who want a piece of this tremendous market will discover that the lay of the land is unlike what they’ve experienced in the US or Europe.

Luxury Society || 2013 Luxury Industry Predictions from the Experts by Sophie Doran

But what does all this mean for luxury in 2013? How will the Chinese consumer change the game? How will the price of precious metals impact timepieces and jewelery? Where is the digital world headed next? We spoke with a panel of industry experts to gauge their predictions for the coming twelve months.

Tweak Your Biz || 3 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Marketing by Rob Boiron

Marketing in business, especially for a small business, can arguably be considered the most important key to success. You could offer the best product or service, or even have the most experienced executives that could turn your small business into a multi-million dollar company, but if you don’t employ some sort of marketing strategy, your business will be nothing more than a good idea. If you are an entrepreneur, or a simple small business owner, the following suggestions will help you develop a successful marketing campaign, or at least avoid an ineffective one..

Inc. || How to Write an Insanely Popular Blog by Aaron Anders

The most popularly shared articles online, regardless of industry, topic, or even author, often share a similar cadence, intonation, and anatomy–and that’s no accident. Slingshot SEO’s Enterprise Blog Post Optimization Guide reveals the trends and techniques found in highly shared articles and acts as a roadmap for blogging success.

Once you’ve mastered these techniques you’ll be rewarded with increased traffic, conversions and a buzzing online community.

Social Media Examiner || How to Generate Leads with Slideshare by Barry Feldman

SlideShare is a good traffic source for many businesses. SlideShare traffic is driven largely by search and social networks. Visitors are mostly conducting research at work, so if you’re using the website and its services as a strategic marketing tool, you can make it a substantial weapon in your lead generation arsenal.

Fast Company / Co. Design || Poptip Rethinks Real-Time Twitter Polling by Kevin Purdy

Poptip is a service that turns any Twitter account into a power polling machine. Any user can sign up, but for a mere mortal to post a question via Poptip would be like driving a Lamborghini in a 20-mile-per hour street; you’d never see what the engine was capable of. Instead, its dashboard is designed for larger clients, companies like Pepsi and ESPN, who may see hundreds of tweets come in per minute. At the same time, all polling data is publicly viewable to involve the audience.

In other words, Poptip sits in a challenging niche. They provide real-time poll results, so their value is speed and they need to update the page constantly. Simultaneously, how fast is too fast? When does information become too much information? And how will random people on Twitter understand what’s going on? “We wanted to make it more personal,” founder Kelsey Falter explains. “We wanted to make the info more digestible for consumers, so they wouldn’t only see that thousands of people were responding, but they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by it.”

Also check out:

Open Source Fashion || NYC Discussion Series: Leveraging Instagram to Grow Your Fashion / Retail Business

Want to learn how to turn Instragram into a WINstagram for your fashion/retail business? 1) Never say or type WINstagram. 2) Come to our first discussion event of 2013 and learn how using Instagram well can help you build business. The event features speakers from The Mobile Media Lab, Olapic and LP Fashion Photgraphy.

 

 

Original Image created by Jon S.

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Fast Fashion Finds – January 2013, Pt. 1

Fast Fashion Finds – January 2013, Pt. 1

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl.

The Huffington Post || The Business of Beauty by Vivian Weng

The makeup industry has long been driven by marketing, branding, and product and packaging innovation. With a handful of exceptions, business model innovation hasn’t historically been part of this beauty equation… until now. With consumer technology start-ups disrupting entire industries in recent years — think what Gilt Groupe, Moda Operandi, and Rent the Runway have done to the fashion industry — it should come as no surprise that start-ups are now tackling the $300 billion global beauty industry. And the world, it seems, is welcoming these new ‘Beauty 2.0′ models with open arms.

Wall Street Journal || Gap to Buy Luxury Retailer Intermix by Dana Mattioli

Gap Inc. GPS -0.94% is buying women’s fashion boutique Intermix Inc. for $130 million, a deal that will give the mostly casual-clothes retailer an opening to the all-important luxury market.

The acquisition is the first in half a decade for Gap, which is coming off a string of rare fashion successes that boosted its sales and stock price last year.

Intermix doesn’t produce its own clothes and only has around 30 stores in the U.S. and Canada. But the chain has relationships with designers, including Herve Leger, Yves Saint Laurent and Rag & Bone, from which Gap could benefit. Intermix could also expand more quickly with the help of Gap’s bigger balance sheet.

Likeable || The Legalities of Social Media Marketing for Businesses by Amanda DiSilvestro

Social media marketing is known as the “fun” marketing, but that doesn’t mean the law doesn’t apply. Oftentimes legal issues with online marketing go unnoticed because it is such a booming industry. People are writing about how to decipher Google analytics and creating a website for the Google algorithm, and there simply isn’t quite as much talk about the negatives that could occur. The truth is that the law is everywhere, and although it may seem a bit blurred when it comes to this new field, it’s not invisible. This then leads to that inevitable question: How can I make sure I’m staying in the lines (and haven’t crossed them already)?

Likeable || The Key to Success on Facebook in 2013: Engagement by Barry Hott

Promoted posts will be the key to success on Facebook in 2013. They are more valuable than other forms of advertising on Facebook — or anywhere — because users essentially endorse your content, making it more likely for their friends to engage with your content. By sponsoring the right content, you can make a huge impact for your brand even with a small ad budget.

Inc. || Put LinkedIn to Work For You: 7 Ways by Kevin Daum

While the longevity of commercial value with Facebook and Twitter continues to be questionable, there is no question that LinkedIn is here to stay. It’s perfectly reasonable. LinkedIn is designed for professionals to connect, so they can do business. Still, many struggle with using this amazing tool effectively. People gather connections like colorful Easter eggs and never actually have any sort of meaningful interaction. They join groups and never engage or read the feeds. Others are just intimidated by the volume of feeds, groups, endorsements, and constant interactions.

You don’t have to be a social media maven to benefit from this (mostly) free gift of modern technology. Follow these simple tips and with little effort, make LinkedIn your new power broker for success.

Built in Chicago || You Can’t Save Your Way to Success by Howard Tullman

Good things in business don’t happen by themselves (except perhaps in the movies) and, if you aren’t making things happen and moving forward, you’ll always be losing ground. So, in my world, we don’t whine about politics, circumstances or greener grass. We believe that the people who succeed in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace are the ones who get up and look for the right “circumstances” and, if they can’t find them, they make them.

Fast Company || How to Conquer Email (Really) by Kevin Purdy

There are ways to heal yourself and fix your inbox after it becomes an intimidating, guilt-inducing, unknowable mess. You can declare Email Bankruptcy, or just triage the last week of email and start over. You can implement a system like Inbox Zero, or a pared down three-folder version. But then it’s up to you to check those other folders on a regular basis.

Maybe you don’t trust your future self to be that good. Or maybe your inbox is mostly under control, except for a few pesky emails that require another step: checking your calendar, waiting for someone else to respond, or so on. These are the emails that sit there, smirking at you, mocking your attempts to close out discussions and unburden your brain.

If you are nodding along with this, I would point your attention to two tools that have quietly helped at least one procrastinating, neurotic, over-committed worker to keep in touch and magically remember when things have gone too long without action.

Entrepreneur || 5 Ways Start-up Founders Can Eat Healthy on the Cheap by Logan Kugler

It’s often said that start-up entrepreneurs have poor eating habits. Exhibits A and B: the Ramen diet and an often unhealthy penchant for Lucky Charms. And though many entrepreneurs simply never learned to “cook,” mostly, their poor dietary habits are the result of too little time in the day and not enough money in the bank. In other words, spending top dollar on organic produce or burning hours cooking healthy meals just isn’t part of the business plan. But that doesn’t mean healthy eating should face the chopping block. YoungEntrepreneur.com talked to young ‘treps and experts about the best strategies and go-to foods that will have you eating well and feeling great, all while staying in the black.

Forbes || 10 Mobile Apps To Make Your Business More Productive in 2013 by David K. Williams

Now that the new year is in full swing, I’d like to provide everybody in our extended Forbes family with a few no-calorie treats that can make your business more productive in 2013. Here are 10 top picks (in no particular order) for some fun and simple productivity apps that are either brand new or offering new features in early 2013.

 

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Entrepreneur || CES 2013 News & Topics

Entrepreneur is covering the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013, hosted by the CEA. Check out watch gadgets may be helping you run your business in future.

Open Source Fashion || OSFashion Announces DC Chapter

Did you know we started a DC chapter? We started a DC Chapter. Our first DC event is a part of our Fashion Discussion Series, this time featuring Holly Thomas of Refinery29 and Butler & Claypool. Check out the post for more info!

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VCs Think My Boobs Need An Algorithm

VCs Think My Boobs Need An Algorithm

[Opinions held by the contributor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OS Fashion and its members.]

VCs think my boobs need an algorithm. My boobs don’t need an algorithm. If that’s not enough, VCs also think that women need a bra subscription. They gave $2M in seed funding to True & Co., an e-commerce bra company with an algorithm and subscription model. Never mind that the clear majority of women don’t buy bras every month. This start-up’s algorithm involves answering questions online for about 3 minutes that’s not only boring and painful but also futile. The algorithm, like the brand’s name, is ridiculous. An algorithm cannot provide you with a better fit just as answering questions online cannot help you find the best pillow for your preferences. Some products need to be touched and tried on. An algorithm cannot account for technological advancements like soft stretch in bra straps, seamless fits, softer lace with stretch, and good quality padding that isn’t cheap and itchy. Finally, as a lingerie brand, this start-up lacks fun and sexy branding. There’s a place for an algorithm–it isn’t my bra. VCs simply don’t understand consumer psychology, consumer purchasing patterns and what it takes to build a great brand or product. It seems as if they think consumer tech is easy and that anyone can do it. This misunderstanding is a big problem, and VCs are screwing up the ecosystem.

Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc), a VC at Brooklyn Ventures, recently tweeted in reply to Sanjay Raman (@sanjayraman), a VC at Greylock Ventures:

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OSFashion Announces DC Chapter!

OSFashion Announces DC Chapter!

Open Source Fashion is launching a DC Chapter and we’re doing it in style!

Open Source Fashion started in New York City in April 2011. We have cultivated a community of helpful innovators, and we are going to do the same in DC!

The idea of the OSF Meetup group is to bring like minded people together to openly share ideas, contacts, and expertise with each other for the benefit of the entire meetup community, and our individual projects.

For our first event, we are excited to bring you an opportunity to learn from Holly Thomas, Editor of Refinery29 in DC! Refinery29 is an online platform that connects a fast-growing audience of users with content, commerce, and community, giving them all the tips, tricks, and tools they need to live a more beautiful life – and share it with the world.

Join us as we pick Holly’s mind!

If you represent a brand or business - We will uncover what it takes to be noticed by one of the most prominent lifestyle media outlet on the planet!

For anyone publishing content regularly – Learn how to engage your reader, and best practices in regards to distributing your content!

This is an incredible opportunity to learn, and network with follow innovators in the DC Metro area.

RefineryDCHolly E. Thomas is the D.C. editor for Refinery29, a global platform for exploring and discovering personal style. As editor, she covers all things stylish, fun, and cool in Washington, D.C. Before joining Refinery29, she was a reporter at The Washington Post, where she reported on fashion, consumer interests, and the local creative scene. Holly co-founded Butler & Claypool, a vintage retail and design collective, in 2010, and spends her free time scouring for vintage treasures, hosting pop-up shops, and dreaming up DIY projects.

Join our DC Meetup Group to RSVP!

 Personal twitter: @hollyt81
Professional twitter: @refinery29 // @butlerclaypool
www.refinery29.com
www.butlerandclaypool.com

 


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Fast Fashion Finds – December 2012, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – December 2012, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl.

Lion’esque Style || Lion’esque Style Announces Open Call for Emerging Brands by Lion’esque Style Staff

It has always been the goal of Lion’esque Style to support and nurture emerging designers in accessories, beauty and lifestyle products. This year we are especially proud of the success of our designers like Heather Belle, featured in InStyle Magazine, and GIR Spatulas, that recently appeared on the Today Show. Now we are looking for more aspiring talent to join our coveted marketplace.

Third Wave Fashion || The Rise of Resale: 9 Marketplaces You Should Know by Cyndi Ramirez

You’ve likely heard of the term “recommerce” by now; this is a business model that shows no sign of slowing down. In many fashion tech incarnations, recommerce takes the form as a social marketplace where people sell their used (but still stylish) fashions. New companies seem to launch in this space every week. Unsurprisingly, we see some trends within the trend… and even an East Coast vs. West Coast differentiation.

StartUpFashion || One Thing Brands Should Be Using Social Media To Do by Nicole Giordano

Designers, how are you using social media? My guess is to interact and engage with current customers, create a larger customer base, and try to build sales. That’s great.  But you’re missing out on something important.

Market Research.  Have you noticed that social media is one of the single best ways to learn more about current and potential customers?  Through it, you’re given a much-coveted look into their worlds; their likes and dislikes, the inconveniences of everyday life, why they chose one thing over the other.

Business of Fashion || The Best of BoF | Top Articles of 2012 by Imran Amed

It’s that time again when we take a look back at the people, places and innovations that have defined the year in the business of fashion. And what a year it’s been. From the debuts of new heavyweight designers at megabrands Dior and Yves Saint Laurent to the flurry of digital innovations and the rising markets of India, China and Brazil, we’ve covered it all.

The High Low || Big Digital Names Opening Real Stores Loved SoHo in 2012 by Susannah Edelbaum

With brick-and-mortar retail innovating to keep up with the Web, it only makes sense that e-commerce would open physical doors to stay ahead of their newfound competition. This year, some online-only purveyors went all in on bona fide flagships, while others took a more tentative approach through temporary spaces. Either way, 2012 was a year for visiting Web sites in the real world.

 Tweak Your Biz || 5 Website Tools To Help Run Your Business Under A Budget by Joseph Oni

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan. Having the right website tools is especially important online, where we have access to a myriad of tools and what others think about them. You’ll only be as effective as the tools you use. Even tasks that take a lot of time and effort will be effectively simplified if you have the right tools.

Entrepreneur || 4 Ways to Triumph Over Your Fears and Get Things Done by Christopher Hann

Change how you think: Undertake an action you’ve been thinking about taking, without regard for the result. “For the entrepreneur, it could be that you want to contact someone who could be helpful. What if he blows you off? It doesn’t matter. The goal will be to take the action, not the outcome,” Sapadin says.

Inc. || 12 Business Tips to Steal From Santa by Harvey Mackay

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Whether you ever did–or still do–today I submit a different reason for thinking of the jolly old elf: business inspiration. Here’s a figure who exudes good will. He’s well-liked wherever he goes. And he has a number of attributes that every entrepreneur should aspire to have. Stay with me.

Original Image created by Jon S.

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Turning Digital Influencers Into Brand Ambassadors

Turning Digital Influencers Into Brand Ambassadors

Free stuff, invitations to exclusive parties, and opportunities to travel the world: bloggers may seem to have it all, without the stress of a day job. However, many people do not realize that these digital influencers have just as much work if not more than those in their usual 9 to 5. Blogging is a full time job. That means they have to be representing their “brand” all the time whether that’s through social networks, blog posts or simple day-to-day activities. In some ways, bloggers have become the modern day celebrities yielding thousands, sometimes millions of views or hits per month.

So, how can your brand leverage these fashionable online personalities for your benefit?

First of all, don’t be a creep! E-mail etiquette is extremely important when reaching out to these influencers, as it’s the first point of contact. Think of this email as an interview – would you show up to an interview without knowing your employers name? No. Therefore, be sure to address your influencer correctly. Mention something unique that you enjoy about their blog, how you discovered it and why you feel your brand is a good fit for them.

Next, it’s important to realize that bloggers are not going to respond positively to a list of demands. They understand that you both need to receive something from the partnership; however, unless you are paying them, they do not want to be treated as an employee. Rather, ask them questions and get feedback on what they feel would be beneficial for both parties. Digital influencers appreciate being apart of the initiative at hand.

Finally, even though you may have completed your brand initiative, the relationship with your blogger is not. This is the most rewarding aspect of partnering with a digital influencer is the relationship created. Continue interacting with them on your social platforms. This will not only build your brand audience, but could result in additional future initiatives.

Original image created by Jorge Franganill0.

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Fast Fashion Finds – December 2012, Pt. 1

Fast Fashion Finds – December 2012, Pt. 1

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl.

Tweak Your Biz || 5 Ways To Prep Your Pinterest For The Holidays by Adrienne Erin

While they lagged behind on providing some key features for businesses, Pinterest recently made it possible to create an account as a business, not just an individual. Among the new features for businesses is the capability to register with your business name instead of a first and last name – which is great news if your business is only one word – and access to case studies that provide ideas for getting the most out of Pinterest.

Start Up Fashion || 8 Reasons Your Boutique Needs Yelp by Dominique Leger

Yelp. It’s been around since 2004, has over 84 million registered users and over 33 million reviews posted to the site and is definitely one of the most powerful when it comes to social review sites.

Independent Fashion Bloggers || Why the Battle Between Instagram and Twitter Matters For Bloggers by Amanda Boyce

The integration between Instagram and Twitter was a fashion blogger’s dream, as users were able to spotlight Instagrams on their Twitter feed, connecting both platform’s communities and helping blogger’s share their outfit posts and other social happenings. While many are speculating about why this is happening (oh hi, Mark Zuckerberg), the main issue at hand is: what does this mean for fashion bloggers? What can you do while Instagram and Twitter battle it out?

Likeable || How To: Encourage Your Customers to Share MORE This Holiday Season by Gabby Piazza

Tis the season for holiday shopping – and, of course, for holiday marketing! The growth for sales driven by social media is increasing at a RAPID pace, and you need to make sure you’re your company has a piece of that pie. In the next few weeks, packages are coming and going, online orders are being added to shopping carts faster than the blink of an eye, and customers are a completely captive audience, with your product in their hand. For most companies the ultimate goal is to acquire new customers – this will obviously increase the consumer base, drive awareness, and of course amplify sales. However, one thing to keep in mind is that retention is JUST as important as acquisition – the ability to turn one-time customers into lifelong purchasers is where social media marketing can show the most success.

Mashable || 4 Best Practices for Digital Marketers in 2013 by Johnathan Gardner

Another year, another attempt to predict the future. If 2012 was the year of Korean dance videos, citizen curation and Superstorm Sandy, who can possibly tell what 2013 might bring? It’s exciting to think that a year from now we’ll be buzzing about all new startups, fresh apps to obsess over and maybe even a new device or two we can’t imagine ever having lived without. But in the realm of digital marketing, the writing’s already on the wall.

Entrepreneur || What You Don’t Know About Sweepstakes and Contests May Hurt You by Lindsay Levine

Many businesses use sweepstakes and contests to excite consumers about their products or services. These promotions can be exciting, but when problems arise, it can lead to a messy (and expensive) legal battle.

Take for example, when a consumer tried to buy a Harrier Jet with Pepsi points in 1996. The promotion encouraged consumers to collect Pepsi points in exchange for merchandise such as t-shirts and sunglasses. A Pepsi commercial featured various items and their point values: a leather jacket for 1450 points, and a Harrier Jet for 7 million Pepsi points. Pepsi contended the jet was a joke, but plaintiff purchased 7 million Pepsi points and tried to redeem them for a fighter plane. Pepsi ultimately won, but had several years’ worth of legal fees battling the case in court.

To make sure you don’t end up in a similar situation, here are a few tips to keep in mind for running a successful promotion.

The Next Web || Square to Announce Payment Trial with Burberry by Matt Brian

Following the roll-out of gift cards in its iOS apps over the weekend, well-placed sources have informed The Next Web that digital payments innovator Square is set to make another announcement – a partnership with British fashion house Burberry in what will be the company’s first tie-up with a luxury brand.

Fast Company || The Future Of Mentorship In An Age Of Entrepreneurs by Maynard Webb

We have to acknowledge that in the Age of Entrepreneurship, the onus of personal and professional development is on the individual, not on the company. I hope that instead of fearing this new responsibility, you’ll see the many benefits it brings.

PandoDaily || Fifteen NYC-based Enterprise Startups to Keep an Eye On by Johnathan Lehr

What’s not being discussed however, is how important NYC is going to play in the coming enterprise tech boom: Flybridge recently expanded here from Boston. The Partnership for New York City Fund’s FinTech Innovation Lab (a fintech accelerator) had its second successful graduating class this summer. We’ve had some big exits and many new entrants, which is the purpose of this blog post.

From my vantage point leading the NY Enterprise Technology Meetup (NYETM), it is tremendously exciting and fulfilling to see how much NYC is growing and continues to lead the charge of enterprise tech innovation. We have the customers here, with verticals including financial services, media, advertising, fashion, healthcare, and more.

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The Emerging Designer || 24 Days of Emerging Designers by Melissa Hall

24 designers emerging! Melissa Hall of the The Emerging Designer is showcasing 24 up-and-coming designers throughout the month of December. Check out these designers to look out for in 2013 and possibly check out something to splurge on in 2013 as well!

Original Image created by Jon S.

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