SomethingIndie is a unique online store stocking affordable, on-trend high fashion items (clothing, jewellery and accessories) by independent brands and handmade designers.
To customers, the store sells affordably priced fashion items including clothing, bags, jewellery and accessories which offer a mix of unique finds and on-trend pieces, all sourced from indie brands and handmade designers. The items are handpicked by the SomethingIndie team thus ensuring quality.
To designers, SomethingIndie provides the opportunity to stock their items on a niche website that we believe has wide-ranging appeal with the added bonus of hands-on marketing for their items, which could be boosted by paying for display ad spots on the website and on our newsletter.
The success of sites such as Notonthehighstree, Asos Marketplace and Etsy proves to us that consumers are moving towards purchasing items from indie labels and designers, where there is more interaction with the 'face behind the brand'.
SomethingIndie would enable consumers to purchase the same on-trend, high fashion items they expect to find at stores such as New Look and Topshop, at a similar price with the knowledge, however, that they are buying direct from the business owner themselves and supporting indie designers.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Launched in March 2012, SomethingIndie already has a growing Facebook and newsletter following, and has had items featured in several national fashion magazines including LOOK, New!, More and Heat.
Caggie Dunlop of Made in Chelsea fame also tweeted about the website soon after it's launch (an organic action!) and subsequently wore SomethingIndie items to two high profile red carpet events.
SomethingIndie has already established a network of many accomplished designers whose merchandise range would increase significantly once the new Designer Direct model is implemented.
Currently SomethingIndie works on a consignment model with its designers, but plans to move to a 'Designer Direct' model which would enable designers to manage their own products on the website, orders and shipment - much like Notonthehighstreet's business model - however this service is paid for via a commission percentage deducted from the sale at the time of purchase.
This would enable the store to stock a much wider range of designers and cover more trends and price-points. Customers would also enjoy being able to buy items direct from the designer, with SomethingIndie acting as a middle-man.
As mentioned, SomethingIndie would also offer paid-for ad spaces on it's website, blog and email newsletter to designers as a secondary revenue stream.
Use of proceeds
Funds raised through Seedrs would be used to help SomethingIndie launch its Designer Direct business model - approximately 30% would be used to finalise the website build and the remainder would be used for marketing, namely blog, Facebook and Google ads as well as print advertising in fashion magazines such as LOOK and Grazia to help promote the brand.
The SomethingIndie target customer is a working woman between 18 and 35 years old who has a disposable income which she enjoys spending on herself, particularly on fashion finds which are either unique or fit seasonal trends. She is web-savvy and uses social media such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She reads media such as Company, Look and Grazia magazines as well as their online versions, and spends time on the Internet discovering new trends and lesser known brands, as well as shopping for key items.
Within this base customer group, we would have two sub-groups - one who shops primarily via High Street stores and big online stores (High Street Shoppers), and one who often shops at vintage markets, via indie designers' online stores and, to a lesser extent, big High Street stores (Vintage Shoppers). Both see quality, trend appeal, uniqueness, origin and price-point as key factors in their decision to purchase.
SomethingIndie would apeal to designers by offering competitive commission fees, as well as hands-on marketing and PR opportunities for their products. Alongside this, our designer-facing editorial content would provide posts on marketing, running a small business and new tools and technologies, helping designer's to grow their business.
Characteristics of target market
SomethingIndie's basic customer base is a vast growing percentage of professional women in the UK, with the size and opinions easily established by following competitors (brands such as The Pretty Junk and PretaPortobello and Boticca) Facebook pages.
They like to be on-trend and are quick to snap-up items which are proven to be in fashion by fashion and lifestyle experts such as certain magazines, bloggers and celebrities. Their preferences, likes and dislikes, we feel are easily monitored by keeping tabs on their interactions with competitor websites' social media pages, as well as interaction and engagement with SomethingIndie's own pages.
Previous experience has also shown peak purchase times to be around the end of the month (pay day) however any coverage in LOOK magazine or promotion via a celebrity with high fashion appeal (such as Caggie Dunlop) has thus far proven to be the biggest decision-to-purchase influencer.
SomethingIndie would reach its market via two means - organic methods and online marketing.
As part of the Designer Direct business model, the new website would have a strong blog compenent which would be used to promote its designers, uncover new talent, research trends and fashion ideas, as well as lifestyle elements of interest to SomethingIndie's audience, from music to events and from small indie businesses to eating out.
At the heart of the lifestyle content, is the small indie business. By uncovering lesser known 'indie lifestyle' elements SomethingIndie would appeal to its audience's interests as well as cement the brands identity as an outlet for indie and small businesses.
The blog would be updated regularly, with a weekly email update sent to its mailing list, this driving traffic to the store via content which is of general interest to the audience. The blog would also help improve the website's overall SEO standing.
Designers and small business owners would be approached to contribute to the blog on an ad-hoc basis as 'experts' on a certain topic, thus generating traffic via their own blogs, websites and social media platforms.
SomethingIndie would undertake extensive blog marketing in the form of sponsored blog posts and blog advertisements. Alongside this, Google Adwords and Facebook ads would form part of the online Marketing Strategy, both targeted to reach the audience directly. Email newsletters and daily Facebook/Twitter posts would also keep the brand at the forefront of the followers' minds.
SomethingIndie's primary competitors are Pretaportobello and Boticca, both of whom sell items by small businesses and indie designers. Unlike Pretaportobello, SomethingIndie would offer the Designer Direct model which would enable the store to react quicker to trends, have a larger merchandise offering and allow customers to buy directly from the designers.
While Boticca's business model is similar to SomethingIndie, their pricepoint is considerably higher than what SomethingIndie intends to offer, making SomethingIndie a much more likely go-to store for high fashion and on-trend purchases which are most often impulse or disposable income purchases as opposed to investment purchases.
Also, unlike both of these stores, SomethingIndie has already and would increase its branding as a 'champion' of indie designers and small businesses with concerted effort to also promote peripheral elements which fit into its audiences lifestyle, such as dining out, music and events.
The store would also have a blog targeted to indie designers themselves, with posts and resources on running small businesses from marketing to web skills.