Aimee Song Launches Her Own Line With Revolve
A version of this story first appeared on Forbes.com
When mega-influencer switched her Instagram handle from @songofstyle (the name of her website) to @aimeesong, we knew something exciting was happening. Soon after, it was announced that Song would be launching her own clothing brand, Song of Style, in partnership with popular e-commerce site Revolve.
This is a huge step not only for Song, who joins the upper rungs of influencer success by launching her own line, but also for Revolve, for whom this is the first influencer-backed brand that their design house, Alliance Apparel, will produce.
To learn more about the inspirations behind the collection, as well as why this was the natural next step for Song and Revolve, we spoke with both Revolve co-founder and co-CEO Michael Mente and Aimee Song herself about the launch:
SIMPLY: Revolve has always been at the forefront of influencer marketing. When did the brand first realize the potential of influencer marketing, and how has that evolved over the years?
MICHAEL MENTE: We started working with influencers in 2009 when they were called bloggers, Instagram didn't even exist. From there, we started collaborating with influencers on capsules starting in 2013. We realized early on how effective the influencer marketing strategy was for our business and we've adapted and refined our methods as we've scaled the business and as the industry has developed. We now have over 3,500 influencers in our network and the partnership possibilities are endless, it's super exciting.
Revolve has partnered with influencers for beauty boxes and other collaborations in the past, but this will be the first in-house influencer brand for Revolve. How did this new venture come about?
MM: We've always known we have wanted to expand our partnership into a long-term brand with Aimee. We've been talking about it for many years and now is the right time for us to do it right. We've worked alongside each other, building our businesses from the ground up, taking this next step and launching a collection together is only natural.
Why was Aimee Song the perfect influencer to partner with for this new brand?
MM: We've known Aimee for over 7 years now and she's been on around 20 trips with Revolve.
Aimee has such a cool, sophisticated, elevated style that has inspired our customers for years and continues to. From running the Song of Style website, YouTube channel, writing two NY Times best selling books, and now being a ready-to-wear designer, I've loved watching Aimee grow into the powerhouse she is today.
Where do you see the role of influencers heading in the near future?
MM: Influencers are entrepreneurs at their core, and we'll see them continue to find ways to evolve their businesses. We are excited to continue building and evolving our partnerships with influencers over the many years to come.
SIMPLY: How did you know now was the time to launch your own collection, and what made you decide to partner with Revolve to bring this new collection to life?
AIMEE SONG: I’ve been blogging for the past 10 years, so this was a natural evolution for me. I’ve been doing a lot of different things and also listening to my audience for the past 10 years, so I felt like I was ready. I knew what they wanted, what they like, and they usually come to me for styling advice, so it’s nice that I can present something to them finally.
The reason I partnered with Revolve is because I’ve been working with them for the past six years, and our relationship has evolved as well. Before, it was a brand ambassadorship, and now I’m going from being a brand ambassador to a partner with Revolve, which has been incredible.
I know the team, not just on the business level but also at a personal level, and we work so well and there’s a natural synergy, so I wanted to partner with them for this collection.
What was the design process like?
AS: Everything takes a lot longer than I thought! From start to finish, it took a year [to design]. I worked with all these inspirations of the design ideas, and then the creative concepts are made, and I work with their in-house design team. There’s an actual sketch designer, a pattern maker, a fit model, and then we always go through two or three rounds of sampling, and a lot of pieces get cut as you move along in the design process.
One thing I learned was that not everything that I think is cool works in real life, so we had a lot of styles that got cut or were altered through the process.
What can your fans expect from the collection?
AS: They’ll be able to expect a lot of different silhouettes. There’s something for almost everybody, and they aren’t just pretty outfits, they’re all wearable pieces. Just like with my style, a lot of the outfits you can wear to work, or on vacation…I think a lot of the times we are doing so many different things and have so many different occasions, so there’s an outfit for all these occasions.
Do you have a favorite piece from the line?
AS: There’s a purple suit set called the Dakota jacket that I love. There’s also a tweed set that I recently posted—that's one of my favorites. And also the yellow set which was the first one that I posted when we first announced the line called the Gala set.
How do you see your role as an influencer and the industry at large changing and evolving right now?
AS: For the past 10 years as an influencer, not only have I influenced people in what they’re purchasing and the lifestyle they’re living. I try to raise awareness with different charity projects that I’m involved in, but also I've been promoting other people’s products. Now I have my own brand, and a lot of us are becoming business owners as well, and our business has changed.
I’ve learned from being an influencer and now having my own business, I’ve taken a lot of that knowledge into my business. But a lot of it will still be a learning process for me.