The smart dressing room. The drones. The 3D fashion show.
It’s no secret that designer Rebecca Minkoff is quick to incorporate high-tech in her $100 million fashion brand. But it’s not just tech for tech’s sake, Minkoff explained in an interview Thursday at Northside Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Tech for tech’s sake is something that’s pretty and flashy and looks cool,” she said. “Our approach is identifying the consumer’s pain points and solving a problem.”
In the early days of launching the Minkoff brand with her brother Uri, she remembers how difficult it was to reach the consumer directly. Even though Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram didn’t exist in 2005, she found a way. She saw a lengthy thread on an Internet forum where people were asking questions about her handbags, so she jumped on and began answering directly. She credits this back-and-forth dialogue for creating cult-like brand loyalty.
Though Minkoff has always been a fan of talking straight to the consumer, some industry leaders warned her early on that this strategy could dilute her brand. “We were sat down by major retailers who were saying, ‘You are dirtying yourself by talking to your consumers. Bloggers are C-List,’” she says.
But her personalized approach has been core to the company’s mission since Day 1. The Minkoff siblings said they’ll be using technology to further customize the customer experience in the next six months.
“We’re looking at the idea of ‘mass customization,’” said Uri. “Customers want to belong to a tribe but they want to be individuals within the tribe. That’s a really big trend right now.”
The approach makes business sense considering Minkoff is aggressively going after the millennial market. “I am the only millennial designer of the same age and sex as her consumer,” Minkoff told Fortune in February.
While the 20 to 30-year-old women who make up her core demographic tend to be very active on social media, Minkoff does a lot to connect with them offline. She does one-on-one mentoring, and she recently partnered with Intel to encourage college-age women to pursue a STEM-related career.
“The shopper is smarter now and more discerning and savvy than she ever was before,” Minkoff said.