This past week, Uri Minkoff, co-founder of fashion apparel retailer Rebecca Minkoff, sat down with Refinery 29 Co-Founder and CEO Phillppe von Borries for a fireside chat at Fashion Digital NY. During the candid conversation, Minkoff shared what "growth hacking" is, how the brand connects with its millennial audience and what it's like working with his sibling.
"We decided pretty early that our mission at Rebecca Minkoff was going to be solely about the customer. We said to ourselves, ‘who is our customer, what do they need and how can we relate to them,’" said Minkoff. "So, we asked them directly."
Minkoff described the brand's humble beginnings working out of Rebecca's apartment and using chat forums to connect with their customers, who would later call themselves "The Minkettes."
"This was '05, so there was no really social media following. It's weird to think about because it wasn't too long ago, but there was no strong social media platform for us to work with. So for about two hours to three hours a day, we scrolled through the popular fashion forums and talked with our customer. We listened to what they wanted and answered them by email."
Now, "growth hacking," or growing by accessible means as Minkoff describes it, is readily available at retailers’ fingertips with the exponential growth of social media over the last eight years.
"It wasn't the most technologically savvy of times, but we contacted our customers and that's what mattered."
Today, with the same dedication and drive to connect with its customers, Rebecca Minkoff not only has an engaged community following, it's pioneering social innovation across all platforms. Most recently, Rebecca Minkoff partnered with fashion site WhoWhatWear to take part in Google Plus’ new Shoppable Hangout series, where designers and brands engage with consumers via video chat and offer exclusive deals on recent product releases.
Rebecca Minkoff is the second brand to test out the new social commerce medium, following Diane von Furstenburg and newly appointed Lucky Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen. From recent reports, the social platform has been particularly popular with millennials.
"We like to consider ourselves an accessible luxury brand," Minkoff said.
When von Borries asked Minkoff why he thinks the brand resonates so strongly with its audience, he attributed it to "staying true to the brand DNA."
"You know, we try to be very honest with our customer, and because Rebecca was young when we started, as she's going through her career our customers have had the chance to grow with her. And any time we create new items we think, ‘OK, at 25, what was I looking for in a brand and what could I afford?’ We always go back to the consumer's needs."
von Borries then proceeded to ask Uri what it's like working with a sibling.
"We were raised in a very close family, so we have the same set of strong core values. Only a few times has our father had to mediate situations."