Inside The Dreslyn’s small-is-beautiful approach to e-commerce
The Dreslyn’s bet is less is more.
Since 2013, when Brooke Taylor Corcia opened The Dreslyn — along with her husband, Daniel Corcia (CFO and COO), and brother, Brandon Taylor (head of marketing) — Brooke has been working to establish and maintain the online specialty store’s distinct natural-minimalist aesthetic.
“With so many [retail] choices available, people want to go somewhere where they know what they’re going to get,” Brooke said. “Having a very focused point of view is very important to us, and to our consumer.”
It’s obvious upon one glance at the site: The featured apparel and accessories — by a range of designers, from cult favorite Jesse Kamm to legendary Dries Van Noten — share a simple, luxe look, as do the home goods and cosmetics.
The store’s Instagram page, which boasts more than 86,000 followers, reflects the same vibe: In one image, a stack of baskets hand-woven in Africa sits in a corner. In another, four silk slip dresses drop from clear hangers, casting a subtle shadow on a bare wall. Overall, the color scheme is black, white and beige, with a few pops of pastel, Tumblr Pink included.
Recent Instagram posts by The Dreslyn
“We have conversations for amounts of time you wouldn’t believe over what color something should be,” said Brooke. “It really is a practice in simplicity.”
That attention to every detail is what has made The Dreslyn a standout in today’s crowded market, where Amazon is the prevailing benchmark. Focused on catering to a specific shopper — its customers are 90 percent female and 35 years old on average, with a household income upward of $100,000 — versus attracting the masses, the retailer is essentially the antithesis of a juggernaut — its recent, rapid growth notwithstanding.
With its new advertising spend (through Google AdWords and affiliates), its sales this year are set to jump 40 percent from 2016. (“We earn five dollars for every dollar we put into advertising,” Brooke said.) Three months ago, The Dreslyn moved its headquarters to a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space in the area to accommodate operations and a 12-person team, up from six at launch.
Not naive to the fact that her small company is up against giants, Brooke was vocal about her strategy for competing. “In an attention-deficit economy, there is an inherent value to being a trusted, edited resource,” she said. “We’re earning customer confidence and winning loyalty through our fanatical dedication to best-in-class customer service, personalization and delivery of a luxury, branded experience both online and off.”
A selection of nail polishes available on thedreslyn.com
Since Day 1, all decisions surrounding the site have been based on its core shopper and inventory edit, rather than what’s trending or expected: The team has never used Snapchat (“We haven’t figured out where that would fit into the mix,” said Brooke), they haven’t tested a brick-and-mortar location (“We’re very committed to the online space,” said Daniel Corcia), and they have no plans to change course in the name of becoming more sustainable. “We get excited when a collection that fits point of view is also sustainable,” Brooke said, before noting she doesn’t choose labels accordingly.
What’s more, The Dreslyn has only partnered with influencers who are customers or working with its brands, and it has utilized brand collaborations solely to feed a customer need — think: exclusive colors or silhouettes, driven by feedback.
As Brooke sees it, every move The Dreslyn makes is “make or break.” “People have a very limited span of how long they’re willing to spend on a page,” she said. “You want to make sure you stay on message so those moments you’re connecting with them build trust.”
In addition to imagery, The Dreslyn communicates that message through a consistent voice tailor made for its shopper: “Magazines and big box retailers are always trying to tell clients how to dress, as if the client is needing that advice,” Brooke said. “In the age range we target, these women are a little more mature, they know themselves, they’re confident. We just want to share our finds with them, to say, ‘I enjoy this, and I think you may, as well.’”
At the same time, the team considers the way shoppers interact on social media. “It’s all about sharing,” she said. “Everyone wants to feel like they have a certain taste level and that they’re curating a lifestyle. We want to be a part of that, rather than direct that.”
There isn’t a ton of opportunity to communicate that message, however. The Dreslyn has made a practice of removing all non-essential elements from the site, including most content. “We appreciate that there’s a place in the market for conversation and bringing attention to certain issues or trends in fashion, but our platform is a source of inspiration for product you want to purchase,” Daniel said.
Daniel said his goal for the site — which has always offered international shipping, as well as same-day delivery to Angelenos — is to maintain The Dreslyn’s signature, less-is-more focus. “It’s all about making usability and accessibility as easy as possible. That’s really what differentiates us from the competition.”
As for the future, he said The Dreslyn is currently seeking outside investment to continue its growth. It plans to launch children’s in 2019 and is considering trying its hand at men’s apparel — but only if it proves a fit. “Men have their own point of view and perspective, and it is a different type of conversation,” he said. “But if we find we can also serve our clients’ families in the same focused way, we’ll run with it.”
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