When shoppers started canceling or shortening their buying trips to Milan and Paris last February on the brink of the global Coronavirus outbreak, Joor CEO Kristin Savilia knew that the clothing wholesale and purchasing industry needed to adapt. In this sense, that means finally embracing a completely digital way of working. What he didn’t know at the time was that the change would be permanent. As London Fashion Week starting tomorrow, it will mark the third time since June 2020 that the digital omnichannel purchasing service has become its exclusive partner. While this is perhaps the most prestigious of the online trading events, it is far from the only thing Joor has secured since launching an event-driven Passport service amid the pandemic last year.
“As soon as the fashion week trip started to be canceled, we saw huge activity at the site’s virtual showroom function,” said Savilia. He acknowledged windfall in functions rarely used on the site. “Full disclosure; the feature is there but isn’t actually being used by the brand, and suddenly our brand is calling us for a refresher course on implementing it.” It is clear that with brands that take advantage of this aspect, the events and purchase periods can also be extended and reach a wider audience.
As usage increased, Savilia and her team quickly scaled up the virtual showroom to include the ORB360-degree imaging technology that worked with partners. ORDER, adding videos by style to optimize search as well as editing functions. A standard aspect of the IRL purchasing process is to survey the shelf of goods for purchase and assess whether the assortment is sufficient. The edit feature can show customers on a shop-wide pro purchase platform based on style, location, item type, etc., for a real-time brand estimate. Currently, several retail partners are using Joors’ enhanced pro paid services including Harrod’s London, Selfridge’s, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Shopbop, Level Shoes, Liberty London, Dover Street Market, Forty-Five Ten, Intermix, and Samaritaine, coming soon to reopens LVMH’s retail and hotel projects in Paris.
“I said to my team, ‘trade shows and fashion shows aren’t going to happen in June, let’s be a platform that makes business continuity possible for that market,’ recalls Savilia when she thought it was just going to happen. season. London Fashion Week was signed later with 50 brands shown to coincide with the shows Premium and Seek. Now in its third season, the company has grown to 120 brands. The idea coincided with the Passport which was under development at the time. Originally intended to complement physical performances, the idea was shifted to a virtual format. But LFW is just one event. Passport centralizes trade shows into a one-stop shop for users – as in one login, one website, one application, and one fully integrated service. In its first year, it hosted 17 global events which attracted more than 140,000 visitors. Savilia said with more than 1,600 participating brands, more than 500,000 items were sold. “Think for a moment.” The CEO said that the platform was’ democratizing the industry in a good way. “
DIVERSE GLOBAL REACH
Together with LFW, they are taking up events in countries for the first time hosting trade shows and non-profit fashion week events in China, Turkey, Colombia, Japan, and Brazil, with a footwear market event due to launch the morning I spoke with Savilia. Currently, Passport is hosting Show Room Canada, Liberty Fairs X LA Men’s Market, Brazilian Footwear, Joor Showcase, Destination Italy with London Fashion Week in preview stages, and Premium and Seek events which appear together seasonally.
The next event to launch on February 22ndnd is the RAISE Fashion Event which supports Black-owned businesses, partnering with a newly formed organization to help Black and Harlem Fashion Row entrepreneurs. “With many retailers like Nordstrom
LOOKING AHEAD AND THE CHALLENGE MEETING
A year later, Savilia is confident that digital shows will continue to improve and, for some, replace physical trade shows. In much the same way, some predict runway shows will continue post-pandemic. “We travel too much, go to a lot of events,” he said. Industry needs to change its carbon footprint by traveling less and consolidating events. “He thinks physical shows are still important but will involve less travel to attend. He notes some stores have set buy levels for in-person visits; for example, at Selfridge’s, an account must buy the 250,000 BP level.” The industry is 20 years behind, ” he said, “We are not going to be a virtual event that only plays purely but works in a more harmonious way. But your events are getting bigger in reach, and your events can run longer online. “In some cases where a buyer only has three days it may not be possible to see all of them. With online events that can last a month or two, the remainder of the purchase is purchased online.
Like many businesses in the fashion industry, Savilia said the first two months of the pandemic were challenging and sometimes uncertain. But as more and more brands and retailers turn to 100 percent digital, the need for Passport functionality and virtual showrooms is a boon for Joor. The New York City-based service, which has twelve offices globally, including London, Paris and Shanghai, China, is currently in the process of opening, finding that the biggest challenge is staffing. Savilia went from wondering if layoffs were imminent to hiring thirty new staff members to accept the influx of brands and events to the platform. “We are recruiting and training new staff over the summer; we offer a point of contact service because we know some brands may go digital,” said the CEO. While many aspects of the fashion industry have shifted to digital platforms – for example, shows are online; each retailer typically has a website, lookbook collection and even a creative portfolio that exists digitally. Savilia says the wholesale buying industry is mired in manual order forms that are centered on paper and Excel-spreadsheets.
Joor surpassed the competition in this sector by not only being the first but also the biggest. Joor operates globally and owns about 75 percent of luxury brands, including those owned by LVMH, Kering and Richemont and has 30 exclusive retailers using the upgraded service versus three of similar but newer services. “Our biggest differentiator is that we are global and the fully digital ecosystem allows synchronization, interaction and collaboration; that’s the magic of Joor,” says Savilia. About outdated systems and competitors in the field, the CEO commented, “It’s great to have competition, but the real enemy is the lack of digitization. When brands and retailers are on the same platform, the same space and synchronization are best, nothing beats that scenario. “