How an online fashion marketplace curates the designers of tomorrow and markets them for free. Let's meet Carnet de Mode.
Arbia Smiti initially rose to prominence in 2009 through her popular fashion blog Carnet de Mode. She featured a number of talented young designers after discovering their wares in the boutiques and markets of France – but the exposure she gave them was limited because the designers themselves weren’t online.
In her determination to help them, she imagined a service that could open the door to the international fashion community, no matter how small the designer. She tested the market via her readers – and Carnet de Mode 2.0 (or carnetdemode.com) was born.
For creators, joining the community is a risk-free strategy. Carnet de Mode provides all its services for free, and only charges commission from the sales it generates for designers.
Arbia and her team scour the globe for hot new fashion and design talent, looking for unique and original creations, with an emphasis on design – and value for money. Selection is demanding: only around one in ten applicants are successful. This careful curation ensures quality and exclusivity, unlike other open marketplaces.
Once accepted onto carnetdemode.com, creators are provided with technology that enables them to create their own e-shop within minutes. The software is easy-to-use and intuitive, allowing them to manage invoices, orders, and client correspondence. They have the option to sell directly through their own site, or push their creations through Carnet de Mode.
This versatile website offers instant international exposure Carnet de Mode also helps generate traffic and sales through a newsletter, marketing campaigns, press relations, and partnerships with influential fashion publications and fashion bloggers. A specific part of the site helps creators develop brand and sales strategies and pinpoint where next to invest (traffic generation, sales, etc.).
Launched in 2011, carnetdemode.com is now home to over 500 talented designers from 36 different countries. In one click, customers can buy a hand-made candle from France, a dress from a Spanish designer, or an Italian toy. The exquisitely wrapped purchases arrive with a personalized note from the creator.
Arbia kept the French name of her blog when she went international to harness France’s reputation for high end fashion and design. While around half of the products sold via the site are sourced in France (and almost all of them from within Europe), most Carnet de Mode customers are American, English or Asian.
Arbia, a French and Tunisian national, is also an ambassador for the French Tech Ticket Global Startup competition. She says it’s important to never stop innovating – and has recently branched out into lifestyle as well as fashion.
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