Shoptalk: Smashing Darling

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Smashing Darling indie marketplace website @ Dream Sequins
above: the Smashing Darling homepage
all images courtesy of Smashing Darling

Smashing Darling is a wonderful resource for independent fashion design and, as its homepage says, it is a "megamall of indie fashion... without the food courts... or the evil." The website sells menswear, womenswear, childrens, accessories and more. There's a little bit of indie for a range of tastes and price points. I had an opportunity to meet Trish Ginter and Mo Puia of Smashing Darling over coffee recently, and was impressed by their passion for emerging and independent designers. In fact, at one point during the conversation, while talking about her own path to founding the site, Trish, one of the founders, starting to get a bit teary-eyed and I was moved by her passion and conviction. Please read on to learn more about Smashing Darling from this interview with its amazing founder, Trish Ginter...

Tell us a bit about how you started Smashing Darling. Do you have a business partner? What are your backgrounds (fashion/retail/business experience)?

It all happened so fast, the idea for Smashing Darling came in August 2006, and by February 2007 my partner Julie Rorrer and I had launched the site. It was an amazing six months of non-stop research to try and learn as much as we could while the site was being built. We are both entrepreneurs who had owned businesses before starting work on Smashing Darling. Julie is a photographer and graphic designer, previously owning her own cosmetics company. I design a line of clothing that I sell in my boutique in Chester, CT and on Smashing Darling.


Papusza Couture dress at Smashing Darling @ Dream Sequins
above: a PapuszaCouture dress

Dahl dress from Smashing Darling @ Dream Sequins
above: Dahl dress

ZSEGA coat from Smashing Darling @ Dream Sequins
above: ZSEGA coat

So your website specializes in emerging and independent designers and there is a mechanism by which people can sign up to be sellers on the site. Do you have any screening criteria for the designers? How do you provide support for your designers?

Signing up to the site is really easy and any independent/emerging designer can become a member of the community and open a boutique. We try to encourage designers to have great photos and and good business practices by being on top of their shipping. We have a blog where we shout out great things that are happening to our designers as well as opportunities that are out there for the designers such as contests and PR opportunities. We get excited with every designer that opens a boutique with Smashing Darling; the possibilities are endless for each and everyone of them.

Do you have any typical customers who shop the site? Can you tell us a bit about who they are?

Our customers are secure in their style and not afraid to wear unknown designer products. Young at heart and professional. We also discovered in our research that our customer is elusive and the hardest kind of woman to target. She does not follow, she leads. Traditional marketing doesn't work because she truly buys items that she likes and that fit her style, not because she saw an ad in Vogue or saw something on the latest it celebrity.

Are there any bestsellers on the site? Any trends you see emerging from this spring/summer season?

It's hard to have a best seller because most of the designers produce very small numbers of any one item. Some items are actually one of a kind. Now that fashion can be designed today and put up for sale tomorrow the line between trends is starting to blur.

It says on the site that you currently only sell to US customers. Will you plan to expand this to include international customers?

I would love to go international and it is something that is on the board for discussion.

What do you think are some of your biggest challenges in serving your designers and your customers?

Biggest challenge is marketing, getting a particular designer's item in front of the exact person you know would love to buy it. It is a big internet and with our unique product and our elusive customer that sometimes proves to be quite challenging. As far as the consumers, the biggest challenge has been helping them understand what it means to be an independent or emerging designer. Not everyone understands that.

Yosifa sparkles scarf from Smashing Darling @ Dream Sequins
above: Yosifa sparkles scarf

Ashes and Empires spats from Smashing Darling @ Dream Sequins
above: Ashes and Empires spats

For more information, check out http://smashingdarling.com.

Other Shoptalk interviews on Dream Sequins:
NOT JUST A LABEL
Brittique
Shopflick

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19 comments:

Sarah said...

I absolutely love those shoes! The teal is great!

Carlotta said...

the Dhal dress & the shoes are gorgeous!!

Najeema said...

Really nice interview. I'm going to bookmark the site and check it out. Thanks!

Lily G. said...

Love the shoes and dress. Hot! And great interview.

liliesandgrapes.blogspot.com

Jacob Cristobal said...

Great...another site to tempt me with my monies...

Dream Sequins said...

Sarah: those are actually teal SPATS. which sounds crazier than it is-- accessories for shoes!

Carlotta: I could totally see you in that Dahl dress :D

Najeema: It's a fun site to browse. Glad you liked the interview!

Lily G: Glad you enjoyed the spats.

Jacob: Spread the love/monies around! ;)

la petite fashionista said...

I love that they support indie designers that often struggle to gain exposure! I try to support independent desginers as much as possible so this will be a great resource-- lovely interview :)

Chessa! said...

thanks for sharing this with us!

Denise @ Swelle said...

You find the greatest things! This is wonderful, I think a lot of us fit the description of the more 'elusive' - and discriminating - customer! I hope they will be able to go international soon, this is too good to miss out on!

dapper kid said...

Oh my, I really do hope they start shipping internationally soon, I would love to buy some pieces! It's nice to see them supporting new designers :)

nookie said...

those shoes are gorgeous!

Elizabeth Marie said...

Wow, those shoes are incredible. Such a great interview too!

I posted the giveaway, I told people to hurry!!

The Haute-Shopper said...

Thanks for yet another great interview! I can understand their difficulty in targeting their elusive customer base but it's great they're working so hard at getting independent designs out there. I personally get more pleasure out of buying something indie than something a million others can be seen wearing (this also includes your luxury brand... almost everyone in Paris has Chanel). I really do hope they start delivering internationally soon!

stylewithbenefits said...

I love sites like these which make independent designers' collections available to the masses. Fab interview! I've been considering getting some spats for the longest time, and adore those blue ones!

xo, Becs

Hanako66 said...

that was such an aweswome interview!!!

E said...

Yikes this is dangerous. Seriously dangerous. Esp. those spats...

Kristin said...

Fabulous interview and I'm dying over those spats!

Dream Sequins said...

LPF: Glad you show your support for indie design. :D

Chessa: You're welcome. Thanks for reading!

Denise: Thanks, love. I hope they get int'l with it soon!

dapper kid: They are really such fabulous ladies running the show here. Crossing my fingers for international shipping :D

nookie: Indeed they are amazing!!

Liz: Thanks for posting the giveaway. You're so sweet.

Haute-Shopper: You rock: "I personally get more pleasure out of buying something indie than something a million others can be seen wearing (this also includes your luxury brand... almost everyone in Paris has Chanel)." YEs

Becs: Blue spats would be fab on you!

Hanako66: Glad you enjoyed it!

E: Those spats are calling my name!!!

Kristin: Glad you enjoyed it.

Ted Hurlbut said...

I'm immediately drawn to your description of the passion they bring to their business. Sounds like an excellent resource for both established and emerging boutiques.

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