When we think about going shopping, especially in NYC, we first get really excited to buy new things to put in my ever-growing closet. Then, reality hits and the thought of waiting in a huge line for a tiny fitting room with bad lighting to try on an outfit just to find out that it doesn’t even fit makes me want to crawl in bed and shop online.
At Decoded Fashion’s New York Summit, we learned about how one company in particular is changing our love-hate relationship with fitting rooms into an interactive experience that will make us want to never leave the store. Rebecca Minkoff, the leading millennial lifestyle brand partnered with Ebay to bring New York City the most tech savvy fashion retail space we have every seen.
|Rebecca Minkoff with her interactive dressing room, Photo via Fast Company|
The Soho flagship store features an interactive wall with Kinect sensors that allow you to shop from the screen, order champagne, and even get styling tips from Rebecca on what to pair with the items in your fitting room. Once your fitting room is ready, Rebecca’s stylists will bring your choices to your fitting room and alert you when your room is all set... they will text or call you even if you have left the store. In each fitting room, there are digital mirrors that connect you with your stylist virtually – ask them for a different size, color, more champagne? Coming right up! And you don’t have to ever leave the fitting room – its all done on the screen, even check out is done right there.
|Rebecca Minkoff Soho flagship store, Photo via WWD|
The Minkoff duo of Rebecca and her brother, Uri, tell us that there were a few things that they didn’t anticipate when opening this store. Feedback from those that got a sneak peak (who we are super jealous of) said that it “ruined other shopping experiences” by creating a new way of shopping that was both therapeutic and fun. The other problem - why would customers want to leave the fitting room? Uri coolly answers this question by saying the staff will calmly "nuke" people from the rooms.
We were so entranced by Uri Minkoff that our CEO Manuela Fassbender grabbed him for a quick interview which turned into about 15 minutes of fashion heaven. We can’t fit everything into this post, but we will give you a little taste of some wise words from the brains behind one of the most successful fashion brands out there.
|Uri Minkoff, via Decoded Fashion|
MF: What is the most important thing you learned while starting Rebecca Minkoff?
UM: “I think it’s two fold - I think to every business there is an art and a science…so I think there’s got to be some scientific foundation, some spreadsheet, some business plan which says why should you exist and if you do this then how does that make it work out that you can stay in business - so that’s the science part. Then, you have the art part, which is the heart, it’s the design, it’s the creation. But there are other X factors, and if you have confidence in those things, it’s the persistence. We were told “No” so many times and we were in a crowded space… We literally started, as Rebecca said, in her apartment, but what she didn’t say is that her boyfriend had taken all the furniture, and she had nothing… But, it was the persistence, because we had belief...but we also knew that we had a sound plan and we just kept going.”
MF: “Where are you going to take things in the future? Do you know where your company is going?”
UM: “Absolutely, absolutely! For us, this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Ebay, so we already have the next things on our roadmap done…we already know the next 5 things we want to do.”
(We inquire on what those things are, but Uri politely keeps his business plan a secret from us)
MF: “Rebecca Minkoff has always been able to reach their customers in interesting ways through social media – what has been your most successful social media effort so far?”
UM: “I think the one that I’m most proud of is one we are just finishing right now where we actually crowd sourced some inspiration for a handbag through Instagram and partnered with Nordstrom. So, we able to get consumers to send us inspirational photos and from those photos, we were able to create some drawings of things we were inspired by. The consumers were then able to vote, and then it will be carried on Nordstrom and would go live the next week…through Instagram, we were getting 15,000 – 18,000 votes around what the consumer wants. Getting that instant feedback and letting them feel like they’ve helped build something, those are fun things. In that case, you have social plus retail plus consumer and it’s just a beautiful democratic relationship. It was great - So, we actually ended up producing a fringe bag and we were so in love it with that we brought back fringe in a big way for Spring and it also happened to be one of the biggest trending items for Spring!”
The Rebecca Minkoff flagship store will open on 96 Greene Street in Soho this Friday, November 21st. Join the MBF team at this location as Uri promised that we will not want to miss the events going on this weekend! See you there!