For the store’s weekly column, this time we present SSENSE: global fashion platform known for its selection of independent and luxury designers and cutting-edge content.
Founded in 2003 and based in the vibrant city of Montreal, today SSENSE is a pioneering international fashion platform known for its exclusive original content and a curated selection of over 400 male and female collections.
In 2006, three years after the Canadian start-up was founded, the brothers Rami, Firas and Bassel Atallah well thought to filling the space between traditional retailers and what was then a relatively new and not well served market: online shoppers.
When one of the founders, to be precise Rami Atallah, at the time a computer engineering student, while was making a simple online transaction to sell a pair of jeans, he quickly becomes convinced of the potential of the e-commerce, a frontier relatively unexplored in those days.
So the other two brothers, Firas and Bassel decide to join Rami and in 2004 they open a store managing this type of business and simultaneously carrying out their studies.
Thanks to the passion, commitment and many sacrifices, 2006 sees the official launch of the ssense.com platform and right from the start the business has started to grow exponentially.
Offering its global audience a unique fusion of street culture and fashion, authentic content and high-level on-demand names like Balmain and Saint Laurent, the omni-channel retailer, it immediately stood out and became the largest retailer. online fashion.
This has been, and still is, the key to success. From the beginning, unlike many well-established retailers, SSENSE has accepted orders from any country, pushing itself out of any boundaries.
What then, is nothing but the true beauty of online sales.
The overseas expansion has entailed a multitude of challenges, including a broad knowledge of culture and local business practices, necessary before entering a new foreign market, especially to make sure that all payments were legitimate and that orders were delivered to customers on time.
Obviously all of this involved a risk and a greater commitment than usual. But the three Atallah brothers have studied hard to understand and meet the local needs of the region or target country, including the analysis of numerous aspects such as: languages, currencies, products, styles, expected service levels, etc.
All of it, just with the aim of providing a fully localized experience while maintaining a consistent brand image.
Today, the platform is also planning its maximum expansion at a time when the global demand for a meeting point between streetwear aesthetics and luxury is increasing.
But SSENSE knows how to handle this process because since the beginning it has believed and supported new designers like Virgil Abloh, who are now cooler than ever.
“So far, the presentation and skill of young people for listing the right items still make it an attractive platform for the next generation of designers”, said Matthew Williams, who sold his 1017 ALYX 9SM label on the platform from the beginning. of 2017.
And to date, SSENSE is still the go-to site for fashion devotees who want to discover luxury streetwear.
The importance of logistics
All this was possible above all, thanks to the logistics that offer an uninterrupted experience from the moment customers click on an item they like, until they receive it at their home.
In fact, it is not just a matter of sending an article, but also of guaranteeing 100% compliance worldwide and moving it literally through numerous jurisdictions and taking into account the laws of each country, calculating upfront duties and taxes at the level of purchase and thus avoiding additional costs on delivery.
Not just sales
But also a trend, so much that the platform has recently included in the team, a real editor-in-chief to make perfect and direct the creation and publication of exclusive contents.
In fact, in 2015, SSENSE hired Joerg Koch, editor of the German contemporary culture magazine 032c, as the site’s first chief editor, and last year redesigned the homepage to hide the site’s products behind a drop-down menu, putting in first floor commissioned articles, photo editorials and interviews with a wide range of cultural leaders from Peter Saville to Donatella Versace.
This combination of fashion experts and data analysis has long cemented the cultural credit of SSENSE with millennials, which today represent 76% of sales.
The flagship store
The SSENSE Montréal store is part of all this effort we have talked about so far, with the intention of making the flagship of the company, a cultural center capable of organizing events, launching products and cultural programs in progress. Already on the calendar there are events organized by designers and projects for events such as book clubs, record launches and meditation sessions.
The Chipperfield design is designed to make each event a unique experience. The floors, walls and ceilings of the building are pockmarked with hundreds of convertible sockets, making everything interchangeable, from display to lighting.
The top floor is dedicated to a café and a bookshop, while two floors are dedicated to personal shopping appointments. Customers can choose from 20,000 products offered online and transfer them to the main distribution center of SSENSE within an hour.
Today, the Montreal retailer is known as a formidable brand with a heavily trafficked website that provides high-end labels to trendsetters around the world.
Continuing to support a radically new point of view on luxury, SSENSE is creating a path to a new establishment in which the intersection between culture, content and commerce is challenged and celebrated.
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