While many a brand has a long heritage of doing business pre-digital, a select few came of age because of it. One such brand is Los Angeles based lifestyle brand, Wildfox, whose CEO Jimmy Sommers recognized the medium for its narrative abilities early on and took full advantage from the onset. We check in with  Sommers on the current state of his ever growing brand.


BY KENNETH RICHARD

Jimmy, nice to catch up as it has been a while since we last spoke and you had some new programs on the horizon including a fragrance launch which we would love to hear about. What was it like launching your first fragrance?
It’s been interesting, yet positive. Fragrance is of course a different beast. Customers, editors even, want to first get the product in hand to test on themselves before purchasing or even writing a review. So needless to say outreach and awareness for this category is different than what we are accustomed to with apparel and accessories.

We actually just launched the fragrance on Sephora.com which is very exciting.

We’re learning that slow and steady wins the race in regard to fragrance and we’re definitely on the right path.

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Jimmy Sommers

Well that path looked well paved as the fragrance ad looks really strong. You’ve been pretty steady on fashion creative, what was it like to take on a new category creatively?
Thanks!

You have to get creative when shooting fragrance because the imagery has to somehow appeal to the senses. It’s a mind game almost. We’re selling a scent so we can’t fully rely on great-looking clothes. For our latest fragrance campaign shoot, we teamed up with my buddy Davis Factor who owns Smashbox. He has a great eye when it comes to shooting product in the beauty space.

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Noticed the last number of campaigns hint at a bit of repositioning. Can you share more about what you’ve been up to and why?
When we truly listen to and watch our customer, we notice that she’s growing up, and we thought to grow up with her with the launch of ready-to-wear and the introduction of cashmere. And yet we still stay true to the core of the brand with kitchy graphics on our vintage tees and signature baggy beach jumpers.

This business is always changing and you have to adjust your business with it. We began noticing that bloggers had more influence on our customer so we implemented a brand ambassador campaign that’s been putting up huge numbers impression wise. It’s also why we decided to collaborate with influencers for our upcoming Spring ’17 ready-to-wear collection.

So how did you go about that and do you like the value?
Influencers have become such a big part of brand marketing and no other brand has brought on so many at one time to co-create a collection. The girls we chose are on the fast-track to super stardom and who doesn’t want to be the first to discover the next big thing?

We reached out and they were all equally excited and huge fans of the brand. Tradeshow and Press feedback has been great so far so we’re excited for it to launch next year.

Hear a little menswear too is in the works but with another name, what can you tell us about it?
Very excited about this one because it’s clothes I can actually wear and represent (haha!). It’s called ‘Sommers’, after my surname of course, and will include tees, sweatshirts, hoodies and eyewear. Our eyewear is fantastic.

What’s also great about this brand is that it’s unisex. What girlfriend doesn’t love to wear her guy’s oversized sweatshirt? I already have my friends asking for samples but we’re working on perfecting the fit and the fabric. It’ll be worth the wait. We’re looking towards a SS17 launch.

We will keep our eye out for it.
You’ve always done a holiday/resort push while many brands shy away from developing creative at this time. Big fan of the holidays?

It’s true, most brands go quiet Q4 but we’ve found a unique way to capitalize of those winter months with our Holiday capsules especially. I owe it to our creativity and being connected to the wants of the customer.

Our capsule collections are another facet Wildfox is known for. Our customers and even Editors expect it from us for gifting and gift guides. Department stores and specialty boutiques too. They’re calling in orders earlier than ever now.

You’ve had a number of big projects of the last year. What are some of your takeaways?
Adjusting. We’ve had to adjust in unimaginable ways this year with manufacturing, staff changes, budget allotments and yet and still, we’re heading into 2017 strong.

So what is next for you and Wildfox?
We’re celebrating 10 years next year! Most brands don’t last a year but 10 years later and we’re still here, still impressionable!

To commemorate we’re releasing a coffee table book which will be epic. And of course an epic party will follow!

Congrats on those 10 years Jimmy. And as always, great to catch up and thanks for taking the time.
Thanks to you! Always appreciate our talks.