It may have started as a Kickstarter project, but customizable clothing and accessories brand Bow & Drape has grown into a blossoming ecommerce business with a millennial following, as well as an operator of shops within department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Aubrie Pagano—Bow & Drape’s CEO, co-founder and creative director—at the Millennial 20/20 summit in New York about how the company puts the data it has on shoppers’ preferences and behaviors to work for its customers.
eMarketer: What was the basis for Bow & Drape? Did you set out to create a brand that catered to millennials?
Aubrie Pagano: We started the brand to make customized clothing accessible for everyone. At the time, we saw customization as something that was either very high-end or just for tchotchkes. There was something missing that could be at department stores prices, but also customized.
Our core demographic is millennials, but we have a wide bell curve, especially in stores. Women in their 40s and 50s buy our clothes, and we have girls at age 12 who buy size extra-small. I think the brand has an ageless concept, but in particular, the zeitgeist of being expressive resonates with millennials.
eMarketer: How do you make the design-your-own-item experience easy and seamless across channels?
Pagano: It’s one of our priorities—and a challenge. We are actively rebuilding all of our technology so that, regardless of channel, everything is seamless. We are working on selling through Instagram and SMS to make it easy [for the customer to buy wherever they are]. The goal is to combine all of these databases into one architecture.
Our engineers are focused on making the design process as easy as possible. When someone goes online, whether that’s on desktop or mobile, we want them to have an easy navigation experience. When someone is in-store, we want to track that person’s life cycle as well. We want to merge those two channels, as well as our social channels.“We are working on selling through Instagram and SMS to make it easy [for the customer to buy wherever they are].”
eMarketer: A lot of retailers struggle with tracking customer behaviors when they’re shopping in-store. How do you solve that problem?
Pagano: When someone customizes an item in-store, we send them an email or a text to say when their item is ready to go. We integrated technology into that experience so it’s quick and seamless, and it creates an organic way for them to give us their contact information so we can track their purchases. If someone isn’t customizing in-store and they’re just browsing, it’s so much harder to understand. It won’t be fully integrated until everybody has chips implanted in their bodies.
eMarketer: When customers design their own items, they’re letting you inside their heads and telling you their preferences. What are you doing with those customer insights?