Ever shop at Bluefly.com? If you’re reading this, you probably have. My first foray into shopping at Bluefly was during the summer of 2001. I can’t quite remember how I stumbled on to the site, but I did, and designer shopping online for me (and much of the fashion buying population) has never been the same. For those lucky enough to live in New York, you are inundated with all types of sample sales. It’s not that hard to find your favorite designer’s wares on sale. For the 292 million people who don’t live in New York, finding authentic designer clothing at a reasonable price is like trying to find an honest politician in Washington.
Bluefly started the way most successful businesses start. Someone found the need for something that was missing in the marketplace. That someone in this particular case was E. Kenneth Seif. Seif, the founder and CEO of Pivot Rules, a golf apparel company, wanted to offer a better shopping experience for those interested in off-price designer goods. He launched the idea in the form of Bluefly several months later after putting together the planning and research. When it was all said and done, Seif’s brainchild became an online force in terms of fashion shopping and lifestyle.
Bluefly has become synonymous with unbelievable deals on designer items at a fraction of traditional brick and mortar store prices. Today Bluefly is led by Melissa Payner. Payner is in control and at the helm of one of the most fashion forward companies online. She doesn’t simply sit behind her desk and crunch numbers. She meets with her buyers, discusses trends and focuses on the future of growing Bluefly.
Papierdoll interviewed Payner to find out about the corporate culture at Bluefly, the direction of Bluefly and her love of black clothing. Read on.
As legend has it, there’s a certain look you need to have when working at Vogue, does the same ring true for Bluefly?
No, not at all… everyone at Bluefly has their own distinctive style. Me, I only wear black. For years my husband and two sons only wore black as well — everyone jokes me with because when my older son was a baby, even his baby clothes were black.
What are some “must have” items for spring?
That said, this spring it’s all about white. White is everywhere; white bags, white shoes, white denim ..white anything. Another important look this season is: ultra-girly and feminine : the must-have item here is the dress. A pretty, soft dress with ruffles, lace, and embroidery, pinafore-style…As long as it’s girly, it’s good. Other must-haves are all about BIG: a huge oversized hobo bag, big white sunglasses, large wide belts and of course…wedges.
In terms of pants, silhouettes are getting shorter and leaner so look for capris, leggings, cropped pants and shorts.
What is your favorite item of clothing to wear?
Anything black—but if I had to pick one thing it would have to be my black Jimmy Choo stilettos .
Do you think fashion sites have benefited from blogging – like Bluefly’s Flypaper?
Frankly, I’m not familiar with many retailers specifically that have blogs. Flypaper is a great way for our customers to be part of a like-minded community interested in the same things. Flypaper is actually much more than a blog – it offers trend predictions, celebrity style, fashion advice as well as being a great forum for readers and contributors to sound off.
You have a robust affiliate program, has it played a role in catering to your online audience?
Absolutely… it’s been a great way to attract new customers.
What has the response been to your television commercial?
We’ve gotten incredible feedback on our commercial — people are talking about it not just because it’s a bit controversial but mainly because the experience we depict is so universal. I can’t think of many women who don’t go through the anxiety of standing in front of a closet full of clothes but feel that they have nothing to wear. The commercial celebrates this angst-producing moment by suggesting what could happen if you actually took that moment a little too far.
We believe that shopping is largely emotional -driven and that any variety of emotions can trigger the shopping gene. This commercial was our way of tapping into the phenomenon of why women shop.
What’s the next step as you look forward over the next 18-24 months?
We’re definitely on a roll. Over the last year we radically changed our merchandising strategy. Bluefly today is all about current, in-season designer clothing and accessories. We’re looking forward to extending our message and value proposition to many more people across the country and across the world. Beyond that…you’ll just have to keep checking with me and shopping on Bluefly!!!