In case you're not familiar with REVOLVE, let us introduce you. REVOLVE is an e-commerce powerhouse, stocking over 700 brands across fashion and beauty, and host to one of the most drool-worthy hashtags on Instagram—#REVOLVEaroundtheworld (68,000 posts and counting).
The hashtag is part of REVOLVE's unique approach to influencer marketing, where essentially the brand takes a roster of influencers on a holiday to a beautiful location, with the goal to have your Instagram feed taken over by lust-worthy holiday snaps (and outfits, of course).
REVOLVE has been working closely with influencers for just over a decade, with a strategy firmly rooted in data and analytics. One of the first influencer collaborations REVOLVE worked on was with Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast. The influencer still works with the brand to this day.
While recently in Australia to launch REVOLVE into this market (free shipping on orders over $100 USD and free returns), we sat down with co-founder Michael Mente to learn more about the brand's success, how he thinks about the future of fashion, and what's next.
Pictured: Michael Mente, REVOLVE co-founder
Talk us through what you were doing before you launched Revolve? What were some of the roles you held?
I started at a software start-up as a business analyst in 2000 where I met my business partner. In 2003, we started REVOLVE with $50,000 of our savings, working out of our apartment and using it to house all the stock for the site. In 2008, we expanded the business to include a luxury fashion offering with our sister site FORWARD by Elyse Walker and later on acquired Alliance Apparel, our in-house design branch.
After the early-00’s dot-com bust, how did you shake any fear to launch an e-commerce platform? Talk us through that light-bulb moment.
There was really no fear. I was so young, it felt like there was nothing to lose.
Social media is always evolving—look how far we’ve come in the last decade! How does REVOLVE continue to pioneer in this space? Do you trust your gut instincts? Do you make decisions based on data? A mixture of both?
A mixture of both. Everything we do is data driven: from the brands we carry to the influencers we work with, to the content we post on our social channels. We've always tested strategies in small ways and scaled from there. At the same time, we're conscious to follow our intuition and focus on what feels right for our brand.
REVOLVE was one of the first fashion brands to work closely with influencers—how do you see your relationship with traditional media and influencers evolving from here?
We see ourselves always working with press, influencers, and other forms of digital media. We constantly thrive on change and aim to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to influencer strategy and communicating our brand message.
What can we do to encourage women to take the leap and launch their big ideas?
Continue to offer a platform to celebrate female empowerment through brands we carry, and the influencers we work with. One of our largest experiential marketing efforts is #REVOLVEawards, an annual celebration of the influencers, talent, and brands in our network that are paving the way in our industry. It's important to support one another, encourage taking risks but also ensure your potential losses are as minimal as possible. If you can surround yourself with good people, you'll always succeed.
What mistakes have you learnt from and benefited from in your career?
Don't buy into the hype and stay focused on what makes sense for you and your brand. Stay knowledgeable and informed in market changes but don’t put your energy into copying others.
What continues to excite you about working in the fashion/tech/e-comm industry?
The constant change and evolution of fashion and technology keeps us excited, there's on-going opportunity if you welcome change with an open mindset.
What will we see next from REVOLVE, and more specifically, from you?
Continuing to nurture and explore our influencer marketing strategy. We constantly focus on better understanding our customer, that's the ultimate goal. We'll always remain open to opportunities that grow and adapt the business.
And lastly—what do you think about Australian style? Were you surprised by our style during your visit?
The ease of lifestyle created a strong synergy with Los Angeles style. If anything, we’re surprised at how easily the trends have converted to an entirely different market. We're excited to be here and can't wait to visit again one day.