Fashion news site Refinery29 is on a roll. The hyperlocal fashion site is expanding to San Francisco today, its fourth city after New York, LA, and Chicago. The site covers high-end local fashion designers, and it launched a sister group deals service called Refinery29 Reserve last November.
CEO Philippe von Borries tells me the company’s is on track to do $8 million in revenues this year, based on the first quarter run-rate. It ended 2010 with $2 million in sales, up from %600,000 in 2009. “Our formula is to engage users with content and convert them into shoppers,” he says. Still, he expects advertising to make up 75 percent of his revenues this year, and the commerce business to make up another 25 percent. The Reserve business is only in New York right now, but will soon launch in San Francisco as well.
And the group buying experiment is doing well. “Last week alone we generated $100,000 in gross slaes from two offers,” he says. But ad sales are doing even better. Refineery29 is like a hyperlocal fashion blog that attracts exactly the types of fashion-obsessed shoppers high-end brands are looking to reach. The site gets 1.6 million monthly unique visitors, according to internal numbers, and 25 million monthly pageviews. It also has 350,000 email subscribers, with 25,000 of those already in San Francisco through a soft launch).
Combining commerce and media is a new model for online publishers like Refinery29 and Thrillist (which owns JackThreads). These are like the new fashion magazines. Instead of just having an index of products at the back, now you can actually buy some of the products featured in the articles. There is still a distinction between the editorial and the commerce, but it is now only a click away.