Moda Operandi started it, in a very upscale way, but the pre-order model is slowly making its way into other areas of retail. Bonfaire, a virtual trunk show site launched last fall, executes the idea perfectly, with a range of “stock” from a variety of retailers, all coming from the next season.
But unlike Moda Operandi, which tends to work mostly with runway favorites and focuses on clothing, Bonfaire offers accessories from accessible luxury brands alongside pricier lines like Marchesa and Phlox. Think Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson, Foley + Corinna, and Z Spoke by Zac Posen, the designer’s diffusion line. Because of the range of labels, and the fact that Bonfaire works directly with the designers to get the orders out, deliveries on pre-orders range from a few weeks to a few months. The online trunk shows are available for a limited time, with each one representing a particular, curated selection from the designer’s upcoming collection. Bonfaire itself doesn’t carry any standing inventory.
What’s interesting about Bonfaire’s emergence is that it comes at a time when mainstream retailers are experimenting with virtual in-store presentations (without keeping the related stock on hand) in order to provide customers more options. Those items can be accessed via mobile, while in store, and ordered online. In one way or another, both online and physical retail are finding ways to offer consumers more product without actually needing to keep said product in a warehouse, stockroom, or showroom.