Interview with c'est normal co-founder

C’est Normal was launched in 2018 and is an unbelievable success story already. It might have been the most hyped brand in social media in 2018 and had exceeded all expectations whatsoever. We met up with co-founder Christian Goossens, who founded the online brand with former pro freeskier Jon Olsson Delér, his lovely wife Janni Olsson Delér, and Janni´s father Rickard Delér, and got all the juicy stories that have not been revealed yet.


Hey Christian! Tell me more about c'est normal - what is the brand story all about?

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C’est Normal is a lifestyle brand founded by Jon & Janni Olsson Delér, Rickard Delér, and myself. If you would translate our brand name you would get something like „This is normal“. 

It is a statement for a lifestyle we live, an explanation of how we view the world, a new way of thinking. We want to challenge everyone that gets in contact with our brand to think about their status quo. What you believe to be normal may be totally different from what somebody else believes to be normal and that is the beauty of life. There is NOT only one normal way. 

We don’t excuse for who we are or what we do, and neither should you. 

We just do what we believe is normal.


Who is the mastermind behind the brand and its products?

Well, I guess that really depends on what aspect of the company you are looking at. Jon & Janni clearly have a vision for this brand and they are also the ones coming up with all design ideas regarding the products. When it comes to packaging and online presence I am the one in charge and Benni is handling our social media channels.

Everyone in our team lives this „not being normal“ mission and each of us has its own view on how to achieve this goal and that is the beauty behind having several „masterminds". I think having one mastermind would limit this company in many aspects. We work on a mission & vision that will hopefully encourage future employees to do more intrapreneurship.


How did you get in touch with Jon and Janni?

Oh man, that is quite a story, haha. I have been watching Jon’s Vlogs since the very beginning, and sometimes I even caught myself watching the ones from Janni. Only a few days before Christmas in 2017 Janni released a Q&A video, where she mentioned that her biggest dream would be to found her own clothing brand. At the end of the video, she also mentioned that Jon and she are going to fly back to Stockholm in 2 days (the video was uploaded the day before they flew) and that was the moment I decided to go all in.

There was only one flight going from Nice to Stockholm that day (departure was around noon) and I booked the earliest flight going from Frankfurt to Nice. I didn’t want to approach them directly at check-in because that is probably the most stressful part of flying next to the security control, which is why I decided to check myself back in and waited for them at the gate.

Long story short they finally showed up and I kindly asked them if they would have 5 minutes to hear me out and here I am. Most embarrassing and meanwhile life-changing moment of my life. I am glad I did it.


When did you guys launch c'est normal, and how did it go?

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We started working on the designs and company structure around April 2018 and launched our first collection end of October. We produced roughly 5.000 products and thought that this number is going to last for at least a month. We were so wrong! Those products sold within a matter of minutes. Some of our products sold out in under 10 minutes. The demand was so high that we even managed to oversell 350 Hoodies due to a technical mistake.


What has been the greatest challenge for you guys so far?

Keeping up with the insane demand I would say. We tried to squeeze in the last launch before Christmas because so many people still haven't gotten their chance to buy a product and guess what, we sold another 8.000 products in under one hour.

Don’t get me wrong, we are really thankful for the way it went, but since we sell physical products you also need to scale production, warehousing and negotiating new deals with logistic companies to lower shipping prices.


What can we expect from c'est normal in 2019?

A big bang in spring! We have taken the last couple weeks to regroup the entire team, worked on our company structure and improved the supply chain. In a few weeks, we’ll be back with new products & much faster shipping options. It is time to become a real brand!


You seem to travel a lot - how many days were you on the road last year?

Way more than I have been at home. I stopped counting, but I guess around 200 to 250 days. That is what I love about my „job". I am best in the field, meaning discovering awesome producers around the globe, finding new warehouses, or meeting interesting people.


Last but not least - what are you currently looking forward to?

Selling to a community we already have is comparatively easy, which is why our main goal for the next two years will be to figure out how to scale this brand even further. We have never been interested in doing merchandise and now it is time to prove that. So we are confronting ourselves with questions like: What makes us different? How are we going to reach our sustainability goals? What role will retail stores play in the future? How do we reach new customers?

Fashion itself has never got me excited, but the possibilities and changes in this industry do!

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Sidenote: Christian Goossens is not only CEO at c'est normal but also founding partner and COO at Fashion Tech Group.

Why influencers should start their own lifestyle brands

Influencers are great at creating world-class content, but most influencers are less business-minded than they think. Let us tell you how influencers should act to receive 50 to 100 times more financial value, and at the same time, become more authentic in their content creation.

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Let´s start by defining what an influencer is. We don´t believe influencers are the traditional Instagram stars only. To us, an influencer is generally every person or community with a digital following, independent of channel or area of expertise. It´s simply a person or community with high trustworthiness and a digital reach, which makes it possible for them to influence people. This could be the traditional fashion star on YouTube or Instagram, but also the bird-watcher with his or her niche podcast, or the fisherman talking about the latest fishing gear in his or her newsletter. The thing that unites every influencer is that they create world-class content - content that brings great value to their following.

Influencers have historically monetized their following in mainly three ways:

(1)

By receiving free product gifts that hopefully would be promoted by the influencer.

(2)

By charging for marketing services to promote products and services through the influencer’s channels.

(3)

By creating inauthentic collections for product companies, selling these through the influencers channels.

We believe influencers are here to stay, but that the way influencer marketing is performed is developing rapidly. All of the approaches above are only creating a short time value for the influencer.

How would an influencer not only increase both the received short- and long term value, but also monetize their following in a more authentic way? The answer is by creating their own product brand company. This way the influencer not only receives short term incomes from the company profits but also gets to build a long term company value. The thing is that this approach gives the influencer a 50 to 100 more value in terms of $ in the long term. It is also less artificial and much more authentic, and creates fluid content that is more genuine to the influencer than someone else’s brand ever will be.

There are many exciting examples of how massive value has been build by influencers who chose to start their own product companies. Kim Kardashian, as an example, has reaped the benefits of starting her own brands instead of doing collaborations. We will examine these success stories is separate blog posts ahead.

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If you are an influencer that gets excited about this - get in touch with us! Fashion Tech Group develops, manages, and scales authentic product brands for category-leading influencers who want to establish their lifestyle brand. We offer a seamless procedure regarding the concept, production, logistics, marketing, operations, and e-commerce solutions. We are the go-to partner for you to realize your dream.

Interview with Organista founder Linn Herbertsson

Linn Herbertsson is a Swedish entrepreneur and influencer, obsessed with her latest venture Organista. We met her in Stockholm over a cup of coffee only a few weeks after the company was launched.


Hey Linn! Tell me more about yourself!

Hello there! I originally come from a tiny village in the south of Sweden called Skanör but I’ve been living in Stockholm for almost ten years now and I’m still head over heels in love with this city. I have a Master of Science in Business and Economics, a dog called Charlie and I’ve been working with my social media channels as my main occupation for about 8 years now. 


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What is Organista, and how did you come up with the idea?

I love to organize and as long as I can remember I have organized my suitcase with old plastic bags and one day I got tired of it. That was when I decided to start my own company, creating products for other people out there who love organizing as much as I do, or at least have a dream about becoming more organized in their life.


How has the launch of Organista been so far?

Wow, mind-blowing! I couldn’t have asked for a better start. We got covered in press in most parts of Sweden and people shared the news and our products all over sociala media. I’m beyond thankful and so excited!


You are really awesome in creating great content, and therefore great value, to you audience. What is your secret?

Thank you so much! I just love creating content, I think that is my best advice, to do what you love! And to always have a clear vision of what you want to communicate in your channels. Bulk up with inspiration and then start creating content and add your own personal touch to it. 


Are you planning to add video content to you site, and if yes, why?

For sure! If you ask me video is the present and the future. When followers can see exactly what they gain by using your products, that’s when they become customers. Always add value!


What challenges are you currently facing?

Ah, mostly logistic challenges! We want our products to be available for everyone, everywhere. But it takes some time to be able to do that!


What has your greatest fuck-up been so far within your company?

Haha, I almost don’t think of fuck-ups as fuck-ups anymore. I learn so much from every mistake I make so I’ve actually started to look at it as something very positive to keep on developing the company and our offer. 


Finally, tell us something most people don´t know about you!

Oh, that was a tricky one! I tell my followers almost everything, but maybe the fact that I’m kind of a nerd. I love reading, statistics, maths and almost everything you learn in school. I don’t think people see me as such a person. 

This is why digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) are awesome

It’s not a secret that online-based companies are starting to displace physical retailers. In the U.S. alone, online sales are expected to reach 523 billion dollars in the next five years. The expression “retail apocalypse” is actually a thing according to Wikipedia, and is a consequence due to growth in global online sales which is projected to be 21,5% in 2019. Online shopping behavior is here to stay.

However, the online retail market is highly competitive in 2019. Amazon has a market share of 49% in the U.S., equaling 5% of all retail spend. How can you ever compete with that kind of economy of scale? Furthermore, it´s easier and cheaper than ever to start & run an e-commerce store, which means more competitors, which means a constantly growing customer acquisition cost. Tough? Yes. So what should you do?

We believe you should start a so-called digitally native vertical brand. There are actually many advantages, and we have listed some of them below:


Direct sourcing of materials

DNVBs cut out inefficient, legacy supply chains, doubling your gross margins. Their direct relationships with suppliers not only allow them to have knowledge about the suppliers operating standards but also to facilitate a rapid feedback loop so that they can quickly iterate on product design and demand.

Improved customer experience

The number of channels that brands are expected to maintain in order to offer a seamless, omnipresent customer experience has grown. Today, a combination of product, shopper experience, and customer service comprises the brand. The DNVBs products and packaging is created to be shared on social media. Since the brands rely on visual content, they are specifically designed to be displayed across all social media marketing channels.

Alternative distribution methods

A major trend we see is a shift in retail distribution. In the past, e-commerce consisted mostly of retailers distributing other companies’ goods. But the reality is that third-party e-commerce companies today are forced to go head-to-head with Amazon. DNVBs have found an alternative route - the DTC (direct-to-consumer) model  - that combines the growth of an e-commerce company with the controlled distribution of proprietary merchandisers. DTC sales will reach 16 billion dollars by 2020, which is a massive increase from what this channel generated in 2015 (6.6 billion dollars).

Increased engagement on social media

DNVBs place a tremendous amount of weight on community-building through one-to-one marketing. With a strong presence today on the leading social platforms, e-commerce brands bring their customer service and content to the platforms on which their customer base is most active.

The rise of social media has truly opened a dialogue between people and brands. Retail is in a unique position where brands can be scaled quickly thanks to technology, while still maintaining a one-to-one connection that delivers elevated customer experience. DNVBs have taken advantage of the improved technology, social sharing, and shifts in consumers’ buying behavior to transform the future of retail.

Wanna learn more? Get in touch! We are experts in digitally native vertical brands and would love to help out.

 
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Interview with Scope founder Sebastian Lindén

Sebastian Lindén is the founder of Scope - a Google for finding influencers. Scope makes it easy to search, filter and find relevant influencers through its search engine. It is currently used by high-achieving companies such as NA-KD, Ideal of Sweden, and other influencer marketing heavy companies.

Hey Sebastian! Why did you found Scope?

Hi there! Scope started as a side experiment that we did in the evenings. As we signed more customers that used us on a daily basis we realized that it required our full attention. Coming from mobile games, we found the influencer industry to be very interesting but also flooded with a lot of lazy actors.

We saw how recently founded brands grew fast relying on influencers as their core business (Nakd, Ideal of Sweden, Stronger among others). They did the work with influencers in-house. Most tools dated back to 2010. We wanted to build something for these brands to use on a daily basis and figured that working in-house starts with a great influencer search.

Rumors say you basically live at the office - is that true?

More or less! We found a spot that we like a lot, why live somewhere else?

What are you guys currently working on at Scope?

Lately, we've been working on Lookalike, a new feature that makes the process of finding new relevant influencers faster. In one click a Lookalike segment to your list is created. It's very exciting - we've seen that some brands find 50x more influencers with Lookalike.

Let's say that you want to find 70 female micro yoga influencers from France. With just 15 influencers, Lookalike will find you similar influencers to the ones from your initial segment. And this goes on for any category, male or female or if you want to find from a specific location.

Here's an update of what we're working on.

What has your greatest challenge been so far?

Give all customers the help and time they deserve. This is tricky when our ambition is to build for scale, as we're committed to keeping the team small - with the approach to automate things along the way. This means that the work we did with less than half of the customer base needs to be done with the same resources, and that's the case month over month.

How do you think influencer marketing will develop in 2019?

It will get even more saturated - which means more influencers, more brands, and more tools. Bigger brands that previously have relied on agencies will bring the work with influencers in-house as they validate the channel.

The most successful brands in 2019 will build robust long-term influencer strategies. They will hire in-house. They will know their audience and have the guts to stay specific and focused. The less successful ones will aim for wide audiences, write bad emails, and deliver poor products. They will not be as focused as the best players.

And how about over the next 3 - 5 years?

As brands will learn about their methods of working successfully with their audience and influencers, we will see more media channels evolve within the influencer marketing space, such as Podcasts, Youtube, and other formats. Influencer networks and agencies will only be used by bigger corporations. Influencer market places will struggle to work at scale and in different countries. So not only more competition among brands and tools, but also more competition among influencers.

Is there anything you can recommend?

Don't follow what everyone else is doing. Try to do the opposite.

Finally, tell us something most people don't know about you!

I can stand on my toes like a ballerina? Not too useful though.

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What is a digitally native vertical brand, or a DNVB?

Digitally native vertical brands are pushing e-commerce innovation. But why are digitally native vertical brands, so-called DNVBs, an innovative approach to digital commerce, and what makes this approach so exciting?

Global online sales is growing by 18 percent a year, and daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day in 2017, growing by 5 percent on a yearly basis. These underlying statistics have forced forward not only a growing digital commerce market but also a new consumer shopping behavior. As every online service also gets easier and cheaper to use, the entire supply chain of retail has been disrupted during the past years. It is easier than ever to source products from low labor cost countries such as China, Bangladesh, and India, and to set up exceptional looking e-commerce only costs 29 USD a month with Shopify. How does this affect the brand building in 2019?

Digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) are brands born on the Internet. They have a maniacal focus on customer experience, and unlike typical e-commerce brands, a digitally native vertical brand controls their own distribution. The products are sourced directly from a manufacturer and sold directly to the end consumer. This means double gross margins compared to regular retail, which means a much more profitable business than regular retail. Double gross margins also mean that marketing spend can be much higher than regular retail is used to. That is the reason why digitally native vertical brands usually experience massive growth. Thanks to the digital landscape demographic barriers do not exist. With the world as its playground, the digitally native vertical brand can grow super fast without external capital needs, be super profitable, and create a massive impact on its audience.

Let´s take the watch company Daniel Wellington as an example. Thanks to an innovative influencer marketing model the watch company grew from nothing to a revenue of 200 000 000 EUR from 2012 to 2016. In 2016 the companies net profit was 48%. This is the potential of digitally native vertical brands.

A digitally native retailer starts selling online, taking advantage of the easy access to consumers across the country to grow their business. Retailers can grow beyond selling online only by working with individual retailers or moving into their own physical stores. These spaces usually serve as showrooms for customers who often walk out without the product in hand.  

Vertically integrated brands control the product from the factory, all the way to when the product is in the customer's possession. Many retailers don’t own the factories, but they can influence the factories to the point where they can specify exact product details, essentially making what they sell directly to consumers unique and even customizable.

By focusing on a singular product category, and being obsessed with customer experience, DNVBs are able to capitalize on changes in the market quickly, delivering new products to the market with a very little turnaround.

We truly believe that the brands of the future are built online. And we believe their main marketing strategy will be influencer marketing. They will be digital, global, social and mobile. That is why we at Fashion Tech Group have chosen to focus on this specific kind of e-commerce. Wanna know more?

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Interview with the influencer marketing experts Lisa & Jana

Lisa Sonesson and Jana Lukaszewitz, co-founders of Casablnca (a CRM system for influencer marketing), have a past from successful companies such as Daniel Wellington and Ivyrevel. Nowadays they educate their customers on how to perform influencer marketing at scale. We got to chat with them over a coffee!


Hey Lisa & Jana! How did you guys meet?

We met when we both started working at Ivyrevel 2,5 years ago, but we didn’t really talk to each other during the first months since Jana is from Germany and didn’t speak Swedish back then :P


Tell me - how did you come up with the idea of Casablnca?

After working a year together, kick-starting an Influencer Marketing department from scratch, we found ourselves in total data overload. We had so much data, amazing data, but no great way to handle it. We were in need of a structure or system that would help us make the most out of our data and get smarter. During this time, a lot of other companies contacted us and wanted to sell us their services regarding Influencer Marketing. In these meetings, we realized we knew shit loads about Influencer Marketing. And the thought hit us - maybe WE could build the tool that we needed? That’s how we came up with the idea of Casablnca.


Why are you guys so excited about influencer marketing?

Haha! Well, when you think about it in relation to classic marketing it’s really interesting in how fast, available and relatable it is. In that aspect, it’s also highly interesting to see what kind of brands, campaigns, and influencers that are successful. Further influencer marketing really globalizes consumption - you’re exposed to so many new companies, hotels, locations and events, and all this in your phone (or laptop). Last but not least, we’re excited because it pushes new types of role models.


What are the three main success factors within influencer marketing?

Communication, communication and data driven decisions.


What platforms, tools, or best practices would you recommend for an influencer marketer?

Casablnca, of course ;) Let’s be honest - an affiliate system or Google docs is just not enough when you want to grow.


How do you think influencer marketing will develop in 2019?

With influencer marketing booming and having such an explosive development, we think that there will be a request of high authenticity. What influencers push must be relatable to that specific Influencer, and how they push it must be authentic. Further, we think that the relationship and communication between the company and Influencer will be more important – everything to establish authenticity. Last but not least, influencer marketing will keep on growing in 2019 – Influencers are just getting started!

And finally - what can we expect from Casablnca in 2019?

We will continue to develop the best influencer marketing CRM system available, make a new market entry, and get married (KIDDING). But yeah - great things are coming so stay tuned ;)

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5 Tips for Succeeding With Instagram

  1. Be the expert in your passion

Building following on Instagram may require a lot of work and can take time. If you want to be big on Instagram, you need to find your niche. Successful Instagram accounts usually stick to one or two themes and post only content related to it or them. Find an interest you are an expert in and have passion for, and focus on it. Then it becomes more fun to keep the account active. An example of an account that has become big with the help of a theme is Yoga girl. She only focuses on inspiring her followers with yoga and a healthy lifestyle.

2. That extra effort

Do you wonder how the greatest Instagram accounts can have such nice pictures? They are not photographed with mobile phones. They are photographed with professional cameras and use only high-quality images. At the beginning remember to hashtag your pictures to help them spread.

3. Get to know your followers

When you know who your followers are, you know what your followers want. Think about what they want to see and how they will respond to what you post. Also, keep in mind when your followers are active. Then you’ll reach the followers just at the right time and the chances that they will see your posts will be higher. Respond quickly to comments and comment on other people's accounts. You will be able to see more and more.

4. Make a plan

What is the purpose of your photos? Do you want to sell, market to, or inspire others? Make a plan for what content to post. Vary the posts, but keep a boundary for the text and pictures. The feeling of the account should be felt well throughout. Use the Preview app to see how your account looks before you publish. Publish at least once or twice every day. But there is no point in spamming posts. Each post must, of course, be relevant and of high quality.

5. Use the statistics

Do not underestimate the statistics. Use Instagram statistics tools that help you see which posts have worked best. Think about why those posts worked well. Was it the time you posted or was it the picture? Analyze your followers to give them the best experience on your Instagram account so that they want to come back and keep following you.

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What is e-commerce as a service?

You are probably already familiar with terms such as SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platforms as a Service), but what about E-Commerce as a Service?

Large scale projects such as a website relaunch, the introduction to a new line of products, or the internationalization of a business, often lead to ambitious e-commerce companies struggling to keep up with the demands of their growing market. E-Commerce as a service provides brands with a powerful way to unlock the incredible opportunity of a multichannel, DTC selling strategy through an outsourced end to end e-commerce operation. A brand manufacturer has access to leading e-commerce technology, including IT, customer service, fraud management, analytics, fulfillment, finance/tax, all of which are delivered as part of a service.

We find this concept very exciting. The rate of change over time is exponential, and many brands struggle to keep up. Many e-commerce businesses find it challenging to manage increased product data volumes, ensure accuracy of their commerce product data, deliver superior customer service, and to execute reverse logistics, including aftermarket customer service and order fulfillment during peak times. We believe therefore E-Commerce as a service will be a vastly growing market over the coming years and might be strategically right for manufacturers who want to reach a global market through digital channels, or brands that want and need to focus on its core. Outsourcing helps companies to focus on their business and compete with the best international companies. Actually, the fact that 60% of the total outsourcing market is composed of IT workers clearly points towards its massive demand and popularity. Running an e-commerce business can become smoother when outsourcing. It saves time, and it allows companies to focus on their core business.

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Welcome to the Fashion Tech Group blog

We believe influencers are about to reimagine the fashion industry. That´s why we chose to specialize in building global, mobile and social lifestyle brands for digital communities. We incubate and invest in them, we develop, manage and scale them, and we provide deep operational support to them.

Fashion Tech Group has all the knowledge and tools needed to create the brands of the future. We hope you want to be part of our journey. Stay posted for weekly updates on our blog!

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