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At Revolve’s First Store, Anyone Can Be an Influencer

The fashion giant, known for its influencer trips and events, is opening a social club in LA that will be open to the general public.
Olivia Culpo at Revolve Festival in 2019.
Olivia Culpo at Revolve Festival in 2019. (Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)

After nearly a decade of banking on influencers to spread the word of its fashion and help sell a certain lifestyle, Revolve is opening its aspirational world up to anyone — regardless of their follower count.

In early March, the brand is opening Revolve Social Club, a space in Los Angeles that will include a lounge, cafe, bar, Instagram-bait photo walls and the company’s first retail store where Revolve-exclusive brands like Song of Style and Camila Coelho will be sold alongside labels like Levi’s and Free People.

The online retailer’s past real-world events and pop-ups were aimed at celebrities and fashion influencers, with the goal of flooding social media with flattering content. The strategy has worked, even as Revolve pivoted from its laser focus on party dresses and festival attire to more diverse offerings during the pandemic. The company reported fourth-quarter and full-year results Wednesday, bringing in $891 million in net sales in 2021, up from $600 million in 2019. Net income was $99.8 million in 2021, compared to $35.6 million in 2019.

But many online retailers and brands are seeing the limits of online marketing; even Revolve can only get so much out of sending another planeload of influencers to the Maldives.

“Of course, there will be a number of influencers constantly promoting,” Michael Mente, co-chief executive of Revolve told BoF. “But giving the consumer the experience of the VIP … is the evolution of where we’re going.”

The pop-up is an update to a member’s-only club Revolve ran from 2016 to 2019 in LA. Mente said the company has signed a three-month lease for the space, which will be on West Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue, but anticipates the club will have a longer run.

“Revolve’s influencer mission has propelled them, but it is also restricting,” said Jessica Ramirez, a retail research analyst at Jane Hali & Associates. “Its big festivals and events are only catered to influencers, so it’s aspirational but there isn’t much to participate with.”

Not that Revolve will leave its influencer community behind completely. The new space will include a second floor, with a gym and wellness centre that is members-only. The company will also host its Coachella-timed festival this year for influencers and celebrities in Palm Springs, after pausing the event for two years.

Revolve anticipates the new social club will generate hype for the brand, but the end goal is to get visitors shopping too. At the cafe, for example, coffee and pastries are complimentary with fashion purchases.

“Providing the stage for her to wear the clothes … the cafe for her to brunch in is ultimately a bigger priority for us than racks of clothes within the store,” said Mente. “Ultimately, these are the type of things that drives sales back to the website.”

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