“There are currently no open forums that talk about how innovative the fashion and beauty worlds have become,” states Preety B from beside a panel of entrepreneurs and product leaders in said fields. Preety is the Co-Organizer of the monthly Meetup Group “Voices of Product” which showcases women and diversity in product management from different industries. This past Monday, September 18, 2017 at Conde Nast’s downtown headquarters, the group guided budding fashion designers, product managers, and general fashion enthusiasts like myself through the Rise of Beauty and Fashion Tech.
Meet the Rise of Beauty and Fashion Tech Panelists
Beauty and Fashion Tech: On Product Development
Jan-Niklas Kokott, Head of User Experience, Glossier
“We talk directly to the existing Into The Gloss community. Our product research starts as a blog post, for example, asking users what their dream cleanser would be like, who would play your cleanser in a movie, etc. We received over 1,000 comments, took that data and formulated a product brief based on that feedback.”
“As a direct-to-consumer-company, the next step in enhancing user experience is presenting the brand personality at the right moment. For example, our lip balm Balm Dotcom comes in a birthday cake flavor, so when someone adds it to their cart, an animation of falling confetti plays. In developing our products, we want to make sure that, yes, it is easy and seamless to use, but also create a few moments to make people smile.”
Kate Devine, Product Manager, Vogue, Condé Nast
“Conde Nast was originally a print company, but it’s shifting to become a technology company. Time is a huge challenge – things move so quickly. Digital is the way to grow the company because you need scale. From a product standpoint, switching to agile method plays an important role.”
“What Vogue is doing to enhance our product is creating products that delight. We have this iMessage stickers app to connect to a younger audience. The Anna Wintour OK (AWOK) sticker is something we have at vogue to mark an Editor’s best piece, so bringing Vogue’s culture into people’s hands is critical in having our audience develop a habit.”
Beauty and Fashion Tech: On Big Data
Chaya Cooper, Click2Fit,
“Clothing is the most complicated product out there, which means you have to take a very different approach to analyzing data around it. For example, one dress can look different on many different women. Data can’t tell what this person is like, what their price limit was at the time, overall lifestyle, and changing taste. Therefore, suggesting recommendations based on buying that dress are not as accurate, unless you know more detailed factors that went into the customer’s decision. Then you look at Stitchfix, which enables the customer to create their own products. They were able to collect the data around their customer’s behavior and create and sell products with the most desirable features. Those are the top sellers.”
Beauty and Fashion Tech: On the Evolutions of Retail
Christine Park, Co-Founder, Shop Sailo
“Technology is forcing efficiency in fashion. Currently, the supply chain is long; there are at least 50 suppliers involved in making the pants you’re wearing now which includes zippers, buttons etc. From the designer to fabric to factory, clothing get to implementation much faster than before. On the consumer end, ‘direct to consumer’ is buzzword of the day, just like what Rent The Runway is doing. Overall, I think that retail is not dead because people need something to do.”
Kelsey Conophy, Senior Product Manager, Rent the Runway
“Rent the Runway wants to be a brand that is your rotating closet. We started an unlimited program offering customers the ability to swap outfits in retail store which has fundamentally changed how customers engage with us. Someone once came in three times in one day to change their outfit. Now we see the store as a product they can use many times and form an even stronger bond with our customers.The yelp reviews of our stylists mean that retail stores are so much more.”
The Beauty: Could you ask for a better selection of panelists? Not only would this meetup be a great fit for product managers, but for eCommerce business owners as well.
The Bitch: As Christine stated, the passionate conversation was broad, and there was so much to be discussed that the panelists went off-topic. Perhaps this presents the opportunity for more niche meetups to arise such as technical fashion production where we examine fabrics, and UX Designers to divulge into the relationships between these two integral parties.