Retail Rap: Talking with Shopbop’s DMM Stephanie Nelson

Shopbop, Stephanie Nelson

Shopbop, Stephanie Nelson, DMM Accessories

As part of a continuing series, Accessories talks with key accessories merchants. Here, Stephanie Nelson, DMM Accessories at Shopbop,  New York, talks Holiday 2013 and Resort 2014 business and projections.

Shopbop was launched in 2000 as a small boutique for hard-to-find denim lines but soon turned into a full-fledged fashion retailer. Amazon acquired it in 2006 and today Shopbop has used those resources to enhance its customer experience and grow its brands. Today, we have over 200 accessory brands across varying pricepoints—with pieces updated almost daily—and recently redesigned the site to provide the customer with a better shopping experience. The re-design overall provides the customer with a better shopping experience, including larger images to better highlight product details and front page editorial features that give style recommendations, information on designers and top trends, all in an easily shoppable format.

3.1 Phillip Lim shearling bag

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: The accessories categories are really fantastic right now! We are seeing growth in shoes, bags and jewelry across price points. We find that our customer is more driven by product than price and our team aims to provide an assortment to satisfy the broad needs of our customers.

‘IT’ STYLE, NOT ‘IT’ BAG: Overall we see our customer is more driven by product and finding her own individual style rather than the “it” piece of the moment.

TOP BRANDS: We have really seen great growth within advance contemporary designers such as Alexander Wang and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Tory Burch, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Ash, and Rebecca Minkoff continue to be strong performers for Shopbop as well.

COLLABORATIONS & EXCLUSIVES: We love exclusives and always have a few options on the site. Our vendors are great partners and work with us on creating something special just for our Shopbop customer as we feel it’s appropriate. In addition, we have some exciting collaborations coming out for fall including Man Repeller x Superga sneakers and Bryan Boy x Adrienne Landau scarves and hats.

Bryan Boy X Adrienne Landau scarves

Bryan Boy X Adrienne Landau scarves

FILTERS: Accessories sell well through a variety of channels—whether it’s through our dedicated front page features, our outfit recommendations or through our boutiques, such as the Wedding Boutique, when the customer comes to the site for a specific purpose.

SHOPBOP INSIDERS: We feature Shopbop team members under an Editor’s Picks tab. Many parts of our site experiences are a team effort with talented individuals across buying, creative and marketing [departments].

TRENDSPOTTING: Our inspiration comes from various places—whether trends we see coming out of market or street style from around the world. Regarding the runways, the New York shows tend to be a little more important based on our brand matrix but we love to see what all of the designers are showing. I’m always inspired by their creativity.

3.1 Phillip Lim resort handbag

3.1 Phillip Lim resort handbag

HANDBAG NEWNESS: We are very excited about bags with versatility and we think our customer will appreciate one item that can be worn various ways. We’re seeing a lot of backpacks that become a top handle, such as a style from 3.1 Phillip Lim resort. DVF also did a great satchel with a crossbody strap. We also love the mini bag. Designers are starting to scale down their bestselling styles into smaller versions. We have options from nearly every brand.

Vince sneakerFOOTWEAR TRENDS: For shoes, we are loving the slip-on sneaker (Ash and Vince) and the two-piece flat (Vince and Loeffler Randall resort). Both are perfect for casual dressing and we are expecting this trend to continue for a while. We are very excited about this casual trend that is continuing in footwear. It’s all about a flat boot or sandal, demi wedge or kitten heel and the sneaker. You can still look trendy and fashionable with a little extra comfort.

NEW BRANDS: We are excited to watch as designers such as Elizabeth & James and Alice + Olivia grow into lifestyle brands. They are both adding handbags and we think they have great potential.

Alice + Olivia Spring 2014

Alice + Olivia Spring 2014

HOLIDAY DIRECTIONS: There was a lot of graphic black and white, as well as cobalt blue, bold red and animal print. These are all easy to wear options that will also update your wardrobe.In addition, we saw a lot of hair calf in the market. For bags and shoes it’s perfect in printed leopard and even a solid. We will also have some adorable shearling options coming in from 3.1 Phillip Lim and Meredith Wendell. While “The Great Gatsby” movie finally came out, the Deco trend is a little more challenging because you don’t want to look like you’re going to a costume party. You should keep it to one piece so try a necklace or hair accessory.

JEWELRY TRENDS: It’s going to be all about the statement piece: a necklace, earring or ring. Look for lots of options with crystal and shine. It’s definitely all about the statement pieces in all different colors. Whether it is clear and classic, dark and edgy, or glam and colorful, there is something for everyone this season. There’s a lot of focus on necklaces and earrings, along with a continued trend of stacking rings: solid rings on multiple fingers, ring toppers, two on one finger, etc.

Chanel minibag

Chanel minibag

MAXI TREND IN MINIBAGS: We’re definitely focusing on minibags for Holiday. They are perfect for gift giving whether it’s for a friend or yourself, especially something that leans casual with a crossbody strap. The mini is popular because it can be more experimental. The price is a little lower and it’s an easy way to wear a trend, from color to prints to textures, such as hair calf. For the girl who wears hers as an everyday bag, it encourages her to pare down the amount of items she carries, yet stay organized with interior pockets, credit card slots and enough room for the essentials.

Times Arrow

Times Arrow

HATS: We’re seeing an update to the fall baseball hat trend in heavier fabrics such as boucle and wool as well as a more structured shape.

COLDWEATHER ITEMS: We are seeing a move towards oversized blanket scarves, plaids, everyday furs (not necessarily more casual but easier to incorporate into an everyday wardrobe). Luxe coldweather styles tend to be super important at this time and great for holiday gifting.

NEW VENDORS: We are very excited about launching Time’s Arrow for resort! The bags have great style as well as function. And finally, in tech accessories, it’s nice to see that the designers aren’t just making cases for the iPhone anymore. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you can now get in on the craze of a fashion case.

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Lauren Parker

Lauren Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Accessories Magazine

As Editor-in-Chief of Accessories Magazine for the past 12 years, Lauren Parker has covered accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.