Founded by former ELLE accessories editors Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen in February 2013, Editorialist combines the best of e-commerce and, as the name implies, fashion editorial. The project also claims a unique crown — they’re the only pure e-commerce business devoted solely to luxury accessories. The particular approach makes for highly curated content, in terms of both the product and the content around it. Hudson and Allen also offer a concierge service, connecting their audience to stylists and collection consultants, and paving the way for made-to-order pieces. They chatted with us about their business model, exclusive pieces (some from Chloé, no less), and what’s on deck in the future:
The High Low: Based on the site’s name and your mutual editorial background, we’d venture a guess that when conceiving of your business model, the editorial content came prior to e-commerce. Was that the case? If not, did you always imagine a tandem editorial-shopping model?
Editorialist: Ironically, the editorial component was not the initial driving force. We both realized that we were shopping online, almost exclusively, and having trouble finding those gorgeous pieces that we earmarked the season before when we saw them come down the runway, or displayed in a showroom for press previews. In our ruminations on the changing face of retail and the hole in the market when it came to tracking down our favorite pieces, we also realized that we were now consuming our media, on a day-to-day basis, predominately online. This inspired us to create a more efficient model of content-meets-commerce, where fashion editorial is accessible.
In our click-to-buy model, we created a frictionless experience allowing the user to engage with the content and actually access the pieces we are standing behind in our editorials. Instead of ripping a page from a magazine and trying to track down the heel or bag that you want to find, we’ve created a construct where the reader can immediately access the pieces that our editorial eye informs. It’s how we like to shop and how we personally like to consume our media. There wasn’t anything in the market that delivered this same experience or presented as efficient a model, so that’s when we knew it made sense, and that we needed to launch Editorialist.
THL: Speaking of being alone in the market, because you exclusively offer luxury accessories, you’re the only game in town. Since you’ve launched, do you see more competition popping up?
E: It’s true, we are the only brick-and-mortar or online destination focused exclusively on the full scope of the luxury accessories market. One element of our construct, that was critically important to us, was the frame within which we present the pieces and product on the site. The accessories market is highly nuanced. There is a lot of young talent to edit through and there are a lot of storied houses with deeply-rooted design techniques and codes that need an added layer of curation if you are going to properly present their value in an online environment. For these reasons, if you are going to represent the accessories market in an authentic way, you need to invest the time and have a cultivated back knowledge of the accessories markets to unearth the best of the best and be able to distill what will be relevant moving into a new season. We haven’t seen other sites or retailers invest that kind of focused effort into building out their accessories buys. As far as we’ve seen, accessories still seem to, largely, be an afterthought to other e-commerce fashion offerings, whereas, at Editorialist, we like to think you can keep your clothes, just update your accessories.
THL: Speaking of the site’s wares, any plans to expand into apparel? Men’s?
E: We never say never. If there is a compelling reason and if we start to see the kind of widespread homogenization of the ready-to-wear market as we did in the accessories market then, perhaps, down the road. Our editorial-meets-commerce model would serve both markets incredibly well, and is easily scalable. For the foreseeable future, there is still so much left to do within the luxury accessories market that our efforts are fully invested there. We are hoping to change the perception a bit in terms of where it makes sense for a woman to invest their money when it comes to what fashion pieces she buys. We would argue that $1,000 spent on a gold band is a better investment than a $1000 on a pair of runway jeans you can wear for a season, or, that a handbag has a bit longer shelf-life than this season’s hottest printed dress you may wear a handful of times. It’s largely about perception. We feel that accessories are where so much of the personal articulation of one’s sense of style comes into play, and, for that reason, there will always be a demand to be met.
THL: We love the concierge service. What inspired you to offer it? What do women take advantage of most — the advisors, the made-to-order options…?
E: The concierge service has proven to be an incredible touch-pad for our customers and for our readers. We have a staff of editors and stylists who liaise with customers to help with everything from styling to fit questions to helping our readers track down product that may not currently be in stock on the site. Our Concierge deals with a number of bespoke orders per season, but the predominance of our Concierge requests are styling requests. It’s readers who love how a scarf is styled in one of the current issue’s editorials to what color heels to wear with a printed dress to how a particular pair of heels fits. At the luxury end of the spectrum, it’s important to us that the product and the service is flawless across the board, and the Concierge service is a direct outgrowth of these aims.
THL: Tell us about your ideal customer. What’s she like?
E: Our ideal customer has a strong sense of personal style and has a cultivated interest in fashion. He/she also has a discerning sense of appreciation for exclusive and luxury pieces.
THL: Anything you’ll be on the lookout for at Fashion Week next month?
E: From the shows in New York, London and Milan to Paris, we’re always excited to see what trend directives the large fashion houses are imparting, and what new design talent pops up on the radar. Our interest is also always piqued by any trends and styling cues we see bubbling under the surface outside of the show tents. As street style becomes increasingly important in terms of lending an instructive cue to ideas and micro-trends emerging for the new season, the street style set have the power to direct trends of their own.
E: We’re hugely excited about the forthcoming fall issue, slated to launch immediately before Fashion Week. We have an incredible roster of collaborators, new exclusives, and fashion influencers who have contributed to one of our most robust issues to date. This fall will also see Editorialist’s international launch, with Europe and the Middle East being incredibly exciting markets for us as we expand our reach and offerings to the cultivated tastes and interests of our international readers.