For this “Secrets of the Biz” article we sat down with Oliver Berg, Vice President of Events & Inventory Solutions for Style Democracy.
StyleDemocracy.com is Canada’s go-to resource for discovering local and national shopping and sale events. They have hosted over 250 sale events for some of the top fashion brands in the world!
Tell us about Style Democracy
Style Democracy connects brands to consumers and consumers to brands. We have a large and highly engaged audience looking for information on where, what, and how to shop their favourite brands at the best prices.
What does it mean to become an “Insider” for Style Democracy?
Being a Styledemocracy Insider means getting exclusive invites and promotions to events that we run ourselves, like our famous warehouse sales, as well as events and promo’s all over the country depending on where you live. Over the years we’ve worked with brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, Nordstrom, Club Monaco, The Gap, Dolce & Gabbana, Uggs, TOMS, Levis, Frank and Oak, Diesel, Guess, Sporting Life, Lacoste, Moose Knuckle, and dozens more. As an SD Insider you can receive an email one day inviting you to opening day of the Nordstrom Warehouse Sale or an exclusive coupon code to shop to up and coming brands online. Being an Insider gives you access to brands and shopping experiences of all types at pretty much unbeatable prices.
What’s your secret to attracting new consumers?
One of the cool things about us is that we run events for so many different types of brands. Whether it was the Dolce and Gabbana Warehouse Sale this past August in Markham, or the Frank and Oak Warehouse in an old warehouse at Dupont on Ossington, we utilize technology and social media to target customers in those specific regions who are interested in those brands. As a business, we can come up with a solution for an inventory need whether it’s golf equipment, or cosmetics. As a result, our customer base keeps growing along with the variety of events and brands we work with.
Which brand were you the most excited to work with?
Probably Frank and Oak. In the last 2.5 years we’ve done about 6 events with them all over the country. It’s been really cool to work with one of Canada’s most recent fashion and retail success stories and have a hand in creating brand awareness and a subset of customers for them.
We heard a secret about the family legacy behind Style Democracy, can you speak to this?
I guess you could say that fashion and retail is in my blood. My great grandfather, who moved to Toronto in the early 1900’s from Europe opened a small women’s boutique in 1929 called Ira Berg (that’s my great grandfather’s name). For those who know Toronto, the store was located at Yonge and St. Clair (where the current New Balance store is) and for nearly 70 years Ira Berg, which my grandfather and father both ran for about 50 years and 20 years respectively, was known as one of the premier retailers for designer labels in the country. The store was famous for being the first in Canada to exclusively carry some of today’s most recognized brands; such as, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada, Armani to name a few.
Tell us about your next upcoming event!
From November 1 – 5, we are running a really cool pop up in Liberty Village, called District. We’re working directly with a bunch of retailers from across Ontario who sell designer brands for men and women such Zegna, Canali, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Tiger of Sweden, Cole Haan, Vince, Michael Kors, Alice and Olivia, Pink Tartan and many more at some pretty awesome prices. If you live in the downtown area this is a sale you really have to check out. We will also be featuring some up and coming local brands too.
There has always been a “spark” when partners decide to move forward with an idea, how-what-where-when did this go down and why?
Styledemocracy is an interesting business. It was founded by my father back in 1999 after having closed down the family business. When hundreds of people lined up to shop the Ira Berg liquidation sale, my dad had one of those “ahh ha” moments where he realized he could do this for other brands. Over time, we’ve pretty much become to the go to resource in Canada for brands and retailers needing help with their excess inventory. Fast forward to today, our awesome team under the guidance our our VP of Digital – Grayson Miller – has figured out how to provide our readers with content that goes far beyond when our next warehouse sale is happening.
We heard through the grapevine you’ll be opening up an e-commerce component of the business.
This is true and it’s almost a no brainer for us. As I said, we have this huge community of readers and shoppers and offering them products to buy online is the next big thing for us. I won’t go into too much detail as it’s still in it’s development, but expect to see some cool things from us with regards to eCommerce in the very near future.
“If you build it, they will come” – How have you guys built a community around Style Democracy brand?
Between our email list, social media following, and website traffic, we communicate with hundreds of thousands of people a day from all across Canada. It’s really cool to see how a company that started off running warehouse sales, just by advertising in newspapers and radio, and then by collecting hand written email addresses, has turned into a really powerful media company with a highly engaged digital community. While at our core we are still a company that runs warehouse sales, we continue to utilize new technology to not only grow and interact with our Insider’s, but to enhance our events too. For example; a few years ago we went from using traditional cash registers to now using Shopify POS – cloud-based Ipad software, where we capture customer info and track their spending. Supposedly we’re one of largest Shopify users, in terms of volume of transactions and pretty soon we’ll be rolling out a loyalty program for our sales with the help of this incredible technology.
Tell us a secret. Don’t worry we won’t tell…
This year, Styledemocracy is presenting sponsor of the “Breakout Fashion Designer” award at the Notable Awards. We’re really excited to be involved in such a great event, highlighting some of Canada’s most talented young business people.