Fashion Influencer Marketing

How Danielle Bernstein’s Swimwear Collection made nearly $2 million in 12 hours and what you can learn from it

A few years ago brands were collaborating with celebrities to create capsule collections for their followers. But ever since the rise of Influencer Marketing Service, brands have moved on to influencers to create these collections. There can be no doubt that bloggers and influencers have a profound impact on the general audience. People swear by their favorite influencers and are always looking for pieces that they are sporting. This makes for a great opportunity for brands to collaborate with famous influencers who have a massive following.

The latest collaboration that made big waves in the industry was Danielle Bernstein’s swimwear collection with Onia, essentially a swimwear brand. Danielle, a 26-year-old influencer, who has over 2 million followers on Instagram has mastered the art of converting her followers into loyal customers.

She posted a picture of herself wearing a piece from her collection with the caption “ITALY COLLECTION IS LIVE” at 9 am on Wednesday. By 9 pm, the sales had reached $1.8 Million. Mind you, the collection wasn’t cheap at all. A 2 piece swimsuit was priced around $200, but Danielle managed to convince her followers to buy them anyway.

Danielle also co-designed two ranges with Onia last year and sold products worth $400,000 and $1 million in their first 24 hours respectively. With such massive success, she was able to enter into a multi-year licensing agreement for Onia to manufacture a standalone WeWoreWhat swimsuit brand. The first of the three collections are planned to release this fall.

Even within the mega-influencer digital marketing in fashion industry, there are only a few influencers who have the ability to turn a brand collaboration into a blockbuster product launch. Back in the days, Beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill’s collaboration with Becca cosmetics was a huge hit. Over $3 million worth of makeup was sold-out within hours of the grand launch.

Collaborating with a brand is a great way for influencers to test grounds for their own standalone brands. Even though it might not sound like a lot of work for the influencer, it is actually tedious for both the brand and the influencer to retain their image and yet come up with something that resonates with the audience.

Brands invest a lot of money and energy to identify an influencer that is suitable for their brand image. The more money fashion brands invest in such collaborations, the more they need to ensure that the ROI on their collaboration is positive.

According to Holly Jackson, lead consultant of influencer strategy at Traackr, an influencer marketing firm, follower counts, likes and comments, don’t guarantee success. Brands have to take a risk as there is no fixed formula for the success for such collaborations.

Nevertheless, here are 4  key takeaways from WeWoreWhat x Onia collaboration that you might find helpful if you’re looking to enter into a similar collaboration with an Influencer.

1) Influencers should drive designs, not brands 

Brands want to collaborate with the influencers because they want access to their large audience that not only follows them but also trusts their product recommendations. But, such collaborations are more than just mere endorsements. Both the influencer’s and brand’s image is at stake and thus the collection has to be a reflection of the influencer’s style. Therefore, the influencer should have the necessary control over the designs as they have a better understanding of what their audience may or may not like.

According to Bernstein, she only participates in a design collaboration if she has complete design control over the project. Even the photo shoot campaigns are produced and conceptualized by her.

“Every single thing – from the buttons to the closures to the Pantone colors to the fits – have to get run through and approved by me,” she said.

2) Make followers feel like “Insiders”

Since the end product is for the followers, why not make them a part of the process? Giving the followers an insight into the product development will leave them intrigued and will make them feel personally invested in the process. This might lead to more sales.

Danielle gave her followers some major insight when she posted a picture of the line sheet with the assortment and colorways that would be available on the launch day. This was the same sheet that she showed the buyers at leading departmental stores, minus the wholesale rates, of course. She also encouraged her followers to ‘ask her anything’ about the collections and answered all their queries. Smart move, Danielle!

She said, “Now they can plan out how they want to buy – the same way my retailers do,” she said. “It was a cool experience for my followers to be able to see what the actual buyer at Barneys New York, Revolve and Shopbop received. I showed them [my followers] from the point of when we got production samples and fittings with the fit model to showing it on myself… They almost felt they were part of the creation. I held up every bottom, I talked about the coverage between all the styles and the way that each top fits. I went into detail so that there could be no questions left unanswered when it came to purchasing.”

3) Listen to audience feedback

The advantage of sharing the process of production with the audience is that you receive instant feedback. This can impact business decisions tremendously. Something that the audience doesn’t seem to happy with can be fixed before the actual launch. Influencers can know whether their vision for the collection is resonating with the audience minutes after posting about it. This can save a lot of resources and time for the brand and can eventually lead to something that the audience will appreciate and buy.

Danielle said that feedback from her previous collections was taken into consideration and was incorporated in her latest collection. Its a win-win for the brand, influencer, and the audience.

4) Don’t overshare 

Sharing information with the followers is important but, oversharing is not. Followers should be curious about the launch. Giving away too much information about the launch can result in a ‘follower fatigue’ – a tendency to pull back from social media when users get overwhelmed.  Followers can also just forget about the collection because too much time has gone by between the reveal and the actual launch. It is crucial to find the right balance when it comes to sharing information. Influencers should strategically reveal elements about the launch that will leave the followers wanting more. There has to be an element of excitement and curiosity among the followers when the products finally launch.

When Danielle received the final samples, she started showing sneak-peaks of the prints on her Instagram one at a time. “I’d reveal a new print and the next week I’d say, ‘Now I’m going to reveal a new style.’ That got people so excited to see what was next,” she said. “After we shot the lookbook I [also] revealed the lookbook images one at a time in the weeks leading up to the launch.”

Also, finding the balance between promoting one’s own line and regular content is very important. It is vital to give the followers a daily dose of fashion that does not involve promoting your own collection/brand. After all, that’s the reason the followers follow influencers.

Danielle Bernstein said, “When it’s around the launch date and on launch date they expect this to be my main ticket,” she said. “it’s important to not just promote my own brand. I’ll make sure today that I’m wearing other companies and promoting them because that’s the real reason my followers follow me.”

Mutual trust and understanding between the brand and influencer are of the utmost importance. Danielle Bernstein and Onia have set a great example of how a brand-influencer collaboration can be made hugely profitable.

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