About a year ago, I was on PR Couture and read an article about a new website called Chictini. The reason it was featured on PR Couture was for its wonderful use in the PR world; it’s a new and innovative way to get buzz about the product you design or promote. I immediately started posting items from my clients and the responses were great. It’s a website that relies on voting by the members and people either click Chic or Weak next to the item you post. But no need to worry if you get some Weak hits, Meri Kate O'Connor explains why below. She also talks a bit about how Chictini came about and why its a useful resource for all!
Kate: Hey Meri Kate! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about Chictini.com. What exactly is your role there?
Meri Kate:(Pictured below): Well we all carry multiple hats but I am one of the senior content editors. That mainly entails scouring through the site to ensure the best user-generated content is being properly pushed to the community and seeking new trends, products, and even individuals that editorially we should be giving a spotlight to. In addition I also work on audience development and making sure our tight little community stays happy.
K: So, what was the idea behind launching Chictini.com? I see it as a fabulous tool to create a buzz (aka PR) but I’m sure a site like this is useful for many things.
MK: Well Chictini started off as a fun little project amongst friends to get recommendations from others on what to get. We literally just wanted to find out some cool outfit ideas and see what clothes to buy. We always thought of the notion that you sometimes you don’t know what you want, until its presented in front of you. That’s why we felt Chictini could be an incredible resource for helping designers and accessory makers of all scales – it really puts eyeballs on their collections that otherwise they may not have gotten, in a very cost effective manner. But then we discovered Chictini can be used for so much more as the community really picked up on its own via word of mouth. We started getting not only general members sharing products, but designers themselves, stylists, retailers, buyers, publicists, marketers, media members, various socialites, and even random celebs. It was at that point we saw that our site was a great platform for not only social shopping, but an interactive medium for individuals to promote and understand the market in a whole new way.
K: I love the voting aspect of it, that way its not some club that people have to get accepted into, but you are getting actual people telling you what they like and what they don’t. Kick PR has posted several things on there that more often than not people Chic it, rather than Weak it, which is fabulous! Are people responding well to that type of grading system?
MK: Yes people are really passionate about the voting system! Even when an item a user submits gets “weaked,” they want to know about it! We always want our members to be confident in their tastes, but we also want them to prove their eye for fashion and get a real broad perspective. We’ve had users submit items because they wanted to get feedback before they actually purchased it, and we absolutely love how they are embracing the community opinion. So hey, if you get something “weaked” out, try again and submit something you feel will definitely top your last submission. The whole point is to better your focus and your fashion sense.
K: And do you have any idea how strong the clickthroughs are? Any way to track who clicks through and then buys?
MK: Our site alone generates a ridiculous amount of referring traffic to other sites each day and that’s not including our other media apps that are out there on blogs and social networks being used by our members. There’s definitely a correlation as to the more chic votes an item gets, the more clickthroughs it will receive. As for tracking and seeing who buys – unfortunately no. We leave that to the submitter to see how well they fared and to ID their links. But we have received many thanks from various members who did ID their submissions, in helping them get sales, so we’d like to think people are benefiting from our site.
K: I also think having the Chicbook is a great idea, because in the end of the day everyone wants to promote themselves, even if just a bit. Are people getting into that?
MK: Absolutely. People love showing off their style – come on, what’s the point of being fashionable if no one will see it? Our ChicBook feature has become very popular and many members are using on their own personal blogs and sites. Just like we want our members to show they know what items are hot, we want them to showoff they can rock the whole ensemble too! (Kate here: On the right here is a look I found on the Chicbook page that I quite like. You go girl!)
K: Have any editors gotten wind of Chictini yet? Started using it as a resource for their stories and features?
MK: Yes, while our site is mainly user-generated content, editors in the know have been using our site to find pieces for features because they are seeing what people are liking upfront, as well as individuals for possible styling features.
K: As someone who also writes for the blog, are there any standout designers you might want to mention here?
MK: Well 2009 is going to be very exciting and interesting because of the economic climate and designers are really going to have to strut their absolute finest. We think from an urban outerwear market, we have always been big fans of GlamourKills and think they are really on their A-game in catering to the youth, hipster market. Then we have up and coming Nary Manivong ( Kick PR FAV!) who really caught my eyes with his cute, yet bold cocktail pieces from his Fall 09 women's collection and is someone we are really pulling for to break through in 09. For the men, I really like Spurr’s upcoming pieces. A bit conservative but I think they have some great jackets that would be great on the boys.
Wow, this was really informative and I am so behind Chictini, 100%! I'm excited to see it grow and will of course continue to post all of the things I find in my fashion journey, clients or not! So, if you are into this type of buzz and fashion exposure, head over to www.chictini.com and take a few minutes to browse and get an idea of what its all about.