One of the perks of studying Business in Milan is the different types of people you get to know. And it gets more and more interesting if you actually cultivate your interests through associations, museum exhibitions and cultural events. Few months ago, for example, I got to know Beatrice de Grandi of VIBE through one of the meetings of the Bocconi Students for Fashion Association.
Beatrice de Grandi is the founder of VIBE, an e-commerce website specialising in selling Made-in-Italy luxury accessories internationally. Nothing special, you may say. But then, let me add one little detail: she launched her business while at university and, mostly importantly, when she was just 20. Have I sparked you interest now?
As a young woman who relentlessly worked towards the realisation of her business idea no matter how many hurdles she had to overcome, Beatrice taught us that even luxury can be rethought to be closer to younger generations, to be agile in this fast changing and technologically endowed world.
As I have been trying to show with these little compositions of mine, luxury is not just about expensive prices and affluent consumers. It is a way to enjoy beauty, design, craftsmanship, uniqueness, creativity, giving full credit to the makers of the experience or object we are benefiting on.
VIBE makes artisans and handmade accessory enthusiasts feel closer, even if they may be geographically very far away. And Beatrice adds her marketing skills to this recipe, finding the right compromise between the artisans creativity and customer needs. So next time you read another article about how the fashion and luxury businesses are doomed to failure because of their inability to innovate, maybe remember that fashion and luxury are not a dictatorship of few big brands. Supporting niche players and artisans, like VIBE does, is the way to keep making the most beautiful and innovative creations to the enjoyment of others.
One of the Year’s Biggest Fashion Media Stories: Revamping Style.com
Continuing with our look at year-end countdowns, it’s time to take a look at 2016’s biggest fashion media stories. First up is the relaunch of Style.com by Condé Nast, remaking the site into a luxury e-commercial space.
Does Style.com Have an Edge in the Luxury e-Commerce Space?
Back in October, BoF asked if the revamped Style.com can be considered a success, and if so, why. Style.com president Franck Zayan gave insight into the three pillars of Style.com’s brand positioning.
BoF: The luxury e-commerce space is highly competitive. What gives Style.com an edge?
FZ: First of all, it’s a space that is still growing and will grow significantly over the next six to seven years. So the size of the overall cake is getting bigger. Now, that being said, going out there with exactly the same platform as everyone else is not enough. We are building a position that stands on three pillars.
Number one is the incredible content we can leverage from brands like Vogue and GQ, which is very different from just saying we have content. Those brands carry incredible weight in the market. The product assortment is also part of it. We decided to position ourselves with big emblematic fashion brands as well as rising stars, new designers, new names. And, thirdly, there’s the technology piece. We’re not here to build a basic catalogue of products. We are here to build a sustainable proposition for customers that relies on recommendations and personalisation.
We have an entire artificial intelligence team here, because the product assortment we show people needs to be relevant to them and what they are reading. We are just starting. Some might see that as a disadvantage, but I see it as an incredible advantage, because we are not stuck with any kind of legacy system.