Retailers Look to Their Best Customers Not Bloggers as the New Influencers

What comes after the personal style blogger? For some brands, it’s super customers, whose evangelizing ways make them an appealing asset on social media.

Free People, for one, has spent the last year reaching out to these power customers through its user-generated community board , FP Me. The UGC platform — which Free People built internally — has allowed the company to reach a whole new audience. Not just a select group of bloggers who one social media expert deems worthy.

That’s where the company found Madisyn Fecko, a 22-year-old undergrad from Pittsburgh, currently finishing up her communications degree in Raleigh, N.C. Fecko has always been interested in fashion, a love she inherited from her mother, whose bohemian style always stood out from the other parents. Her mom would wear velvet bell bottoms to a parent-teach conference while the rest of the moms would be wearing gray suits. “She inspired me,” Fecko says.

When Free People opened up a store in Pittsburgh, Fecko and her mom began shopping there on the regular. Between their two closets, the duo built quite a collection. And when FP Me launched in February 2013, Fecko was one of the first to submit a photo of herself wearing Free People. Her following grew rapidly. In May, Fecko was invited to the Free People headquarters in Philadelphia to participate in a fashion show that featured other top customers and FP Me users. And earlier this month, she hosted a shopping party back home at the Pittsburgh store. (Fecko was not paid for her styling services. “I volunteered,” she says. “It’s helpful for me to learn, but it’s also just fun for me.” has the full story.

Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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