As one of the first online-only menswear retailers to embrace editorial content as a way to drive online sales, East Dane has had proven success in marketing to consumers who are increasingly buying clothing online. A subsidiary of Amazon, East Dane was launched in 2013 as the brother site to popular Shopbop.com, both of which are noted for mixing editorial and commerce. Its approachable mix of brands from Billy Reid to Faherty blends well with fashion brands like Y-3 and AMI. Throw in some compelling editorial features and you’ve got a winning combo.
Here we catch up with East Dane’s head of buying Carlo Libaridian as he discusses how the menswear e-commerce site has evolved since its launch, how content sets the site apart from its competitors, and the retailer’s future.
MR: How has the business evolved since the site’s original launch?
Carlo: We launched East Dane in 2013, and a lot has changed for East Dane as well as for the larger men’s industry. Fundamentally, we have gotten closer to our customer. We have a much deeper understanding of the product he is looking for, how he shops, and what content engages him. We look to continue to evolve East Dane as our customers’ wants and needs evolve.
MR: What are some of the key moments when you’ve made changes along the way in developing the site to what it is today?
Carlo: When aren’t we making changes! For us, it’s about constantly iterating on the site experience, product offering, and marketing initiatives to provide the best possible customer shopping experience. From brand launches including Lululemon x Robert Geller, The North Face, and Barbour, to developing capsules, and bringing influencers into the mix—anything that deepens the customers’ understanding of East Dane is within the realm of possibility.
MR: Where does content fit into how you do business?
Carlo: As a digital brand, content is the key way for us to communicate with our customer. From site, to social, and email, we are constantly testing and iterating on our content strategy. At its core, we are looking to create relatable content that shows our guy how to wear the trend, while inspiring him to try out the latest brands.
MR: What do you look for when buying next season’s product? Is there a specific audience or “guy” you are after?
Carlo: The East Dane customer wants to look and feel great in what he is wearing, appreciates good style and keeps up on the latest trends. At the same time, he wants this all without the fuss and in an accessible way. He prioritizes convenience and values a streamlined shopping experience. We keep this top-of-mind when we are in the market.
MR: Have there been any challenges in the business that you’ve learned valuable lessons from?
Carlo: It takes a lot for guys to try new brands, new products, and new trends. Finding that new brand that checks with our customer immediately is the most rewarding.
MR: Has the recent downturn in brick & mortar stores (and retail in general) had any impact on East Dane?
Carlo: We’re not focused on our competitors—we’re focused on our customers. There are many players in the space, but we are obsessed with providing our current and potential customers with the best East Dane product experience possible.
MR: What are you guys focusing on when thinking about the future?
Carlo: Getting closer to our customer. Putting marketing and branding initiatives in place to get in front of our customer. Make sure that we grow our presence on the platforms that we know our customer is on – be where the customer is. From a buying perspective, we are really interested in continuing to iterate on the amazing roster of brands that we stock. We are constantly looking to develop exclusive capsules and partnerships with new and up-and-coming brands to make East Dane the best destination for men’s shopping. Additionally, our focus is to continue to improve our site experience for our global customer.
MR: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Carlo: Think outside of the box and don’t be afraid.