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Deals Site Flies High at Fashion Week, Focuses on Social

  |  February 15, 2012   |  Comments

Ideeli has found its niche at the glamorous industry show.

ideeliIt wasn't long ago that Ideeli may have felt a little like the ugly duckling of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. It seems an odd match - daily deals and haute couture runway shows. But in two short years as an official show sponsor, Ideeli says, the relationship has blossomed because brands, designers, and retailers are cottoning to the value of moving product through the deals provider.

Like other deals sites, Ideeli offers consumers 40 to 80 percent discounts on specific items and has attracted a sizable email list. The New York-based company claims 5 million subscribers for its so-called flash sale offers that often last 40 hours. Its site caters to a demographic of fashion-minded women.

David Manela, SVP of strategic marketing at Ideeli, explained his company's ascent within the high fashion scene. Fashion Week, he suggested, has bolstered the company's subscriber growth.

"Since our first season of sponsorship, [our consumer] membership has nearly tripled, and our relationships within the brand and retail industry have continued to grow," he told ClickZ News on Wednesday.

Ideeli, which operates a photography studio in Manhattan for product shoots, has focused on exclusive content for Fashion Week 2012 (through Feb. 16). Its team has been authoring live updates from the runway shows on Facebook (192,000 fans/likes) and Twitter (29,000 followers).

The company has created an app tab on Facebook labeled "The Buzz", which serves as a feed for a reporting stream that's anchored at Ideeli.com. Its content team has also been posting runway videos from the event on the social site, while adding topical blog posts.

But perhaps more importantly, the company this week is delivering what it's best known for - deals. Ideeli has partnered with Carmen MarValvo, BCBG Max Azria, Nicole Miller, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, and other well-known fashion shops to pitch exclusive Fashion Week-focused offers from those designers.

Manela added, "The fact that now…we can offer customers not only a strong lineup of [Fashion Week] featured designer sale events, but also exclusive on-site interviews and insight from designers themselves can be directly attributed to the strong relationships [we have] built across the industry."

Can Ideeli Keep Soaring Amid Daily Deal Fall-out?

Ideeli's chief challengers are Gilt Groupe, HauteLook, and Rue La La. Ideeli, which has raised around $65 million in venture funding in the last four years, is competing in a market sector that some fear is ripe for departures in 2012.

Three weeks ago, Gilt dismissed 80 to 90 employees, according to a BetaBeat report, while closing six regional offices.

A recent Daily Deals Media study found that there are 800 fewer daily deals sites now when compared to six months ago. Daily deals aggregator and promotional codes provider Digital Doorstep filed for bankruptcy last month, citing in an email more than $3 million in past due receivables by 23 partner companies.

And No. 1 Groupon last week released Q4 earnings that left investors feeling skittish about the firm. It recorded a net loss of $43 million for the quarter, on global revenue of $506 million.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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