Google’s social shopping experiment Boutiques.com dominated the news last month, but it’s not the only site of its ilk worth reporting on. ThisNext.com, a Boutiques-like experience that also provides shopping and style tips from a panel of “tastemakers,” is gearing up for a huge relaunch next year.
We spoke with ThisNext’s new editor-in-chief, Mary Alice Haney, to find out what the future holds for online shopping and what sets her site apart.
The High Low: You have an extensive background in magazine editorial. What attracted you to the Web?
Mary Alice: I have worked in the traditional edit world for 15 years and had recently been approached by several companies [for] similar [positions]. I really liked the management at ThisNext — Matt [Edelman, CEO] has a clear view of the future of the company and we share similar beliefs. And I really believe in this space. I sat down with Matt and said, “This is it. This is a place where women can share their ideas. And shop.” The launch of Boutiques shows me that we are in the right area.
THL: What makes the site special?
MA: We have real experts in the fields of fashion, beauty and decor. These people are at the top of their professions. Most of us can’t afford to hire a professional stylist or decorator. At ThisNext, we bring their expertise to the masses.
Go to Boutiques.com and click on profiles. They all look the same. Our goal is to have different styles and different tastemakers.
THL: What are your plans for ThisNext’s future?
MA: One, for women to see a true range of options. We will show you the runway look, and also give you more affordable choices. Two, I want to bring a lot of celebrity, and celebrity fashion, to the site. And three, street style. It’s truly compelling. I’ll be at Fashion Week at the Balenciaga show and I find I’m most inspired by what real people are wearing.
I also want to create one area where women can store everything in terms of style. Say I’m looking for a holiday dress. I’ll go to Vogue for inspiration, then I’ll head to Net-A-Porter or Topshop to browse. And I’ll have about a thousand windows open on my computer. I want to create a space for women to pull things from all over — magazines, Twitter, etc–to add to their boutique. The goal is time management, really.
THL: So you’re adding a scrap-booking element to the site?
MA: Yes. And eventually, you will be able to ask me questions directly and send me photos. And I plan to do photo shoots with our users. All of that will be up and running soon.
Keep going on the site, because it will get better and better. It will be exciting to watch.