Stussy’s E-Commerce & Design Gurus Take Risks (& Win!) with Social

David Sinatra and Domenic Venneri are your typical Santa Monica techno-creative types who love what they do and can’t help making you feel a little jealous. Jealous of their effortlessly cool style. Jealous of their artistic vision. Jealous of their enthusiasm. Jealous of their youth. They throw out quotes like, “If you think people are dumb you’ll spend a lifetime doing dumb work,” from George Lois. You wonder why you hadn’t found that one.

But they quickly win you over. You can’t help being inspired by their spark and the jealously quickly melts away. 

It’s in part due to this energy and the dynamic relationship between David and Domenic, that Stussy has come back to life (to the tune of triple digit growth). The clothing brand that’s been around since 1980 wasn’t doing so well in the last decade or so. It needed a serious revamp and a new approach.

David, now the company’s Head of E-Commerce Web Marketing, wanted to remind customers what the brand was all about through the powerful tool that is social media.

“Social media is a permission based relationship,” said David. “Understand why your customers love you. Align the way they love you with commerce.”

Stussy’s success has always been about its culture, said David, and he wanted to make sure the company was utilizing its well-defined image to get people excited about the brand again.

That’s where Domenic came in. He’s the a Lead Designer at Stussy and the “Chief” at Vokent, a creative agency that knows how to leverage social media to get people excited about and engaged with brands. The two work together very closely to find the best social message and ecommerce methods for their customers. They agree on the following strategy: start with an idea or a need, implement, analyze and refine, again and again…and again.

A new product Domenic recently introduced to David for Stussy is the “Social Board.” It pulls in all images that are part of the Stussy conversation, from all over the web through sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more. It then compiles the images into a beautiful storyboard type collage that can be displayed anywhere from on a retailer’s website to a projection inside a retail store.

Domenic insists that the new client/agency relationship is evolving very quickly and the expectations now are that it is not merely a relationship, but a partnership. He also says that ecommerce websites are becoming more intuitive and easier: things like “hovering” versus clicking will come more into favor, he contends. He also stressed the importance of responsive design – when websites re-size themselves as users resize their browser windows. These innovations, which on the surface might seem only of aesthetic importance, actually pan out to make all the difference in an over-saturated ecommerce market.

One of the brand’s recent successful social campaigns happened in standalone Stussy store in Amsterdam. The store a social media campaign called “Strip for Likes,” where they featured a model on their Facebook page dressed in all the clothes for the upcoming season. Every time you “Liked” her (i.e. Liked the store), she would remove another layer of clothing, until you were left with a sexy, suggestive picture of a model in nothing but her skivvies. It was the perfect way to express the Stussy culture – one that’s not afraid to take risks and laugh at itself a bit. That one campaign took the store’s Facebook page from about 300 fans to just under 25,000 fans.

Both David and Domenic left the audience at eTail Boston 2012 with a few websites they like and often look to for inspiration and necessary information. We leave them for you, in hopes that you will glean some of their passion for marketing and technology as you evaluate and refine again, and again…and again.

David’s 5 Good sites:

Domenic’s 4 Good sites: