Perth-based swimwear brand Ambra Maddalena got a surprise nod of approval from the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, Kylie Jenner, who featured one of the online retailer’s designs in a series of three Instagram posts over the weekend.
The social media influencer and creator of Kylie Cosmetics, reported to be worth US$900 million, is said to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for tagging a brand in a single social media post.
But even posts that don’t explicitly call out brands by name can mean big business, since the makeup mogul’s over 164 million followers can be dogged in tracking down products online.
Ambra Maddalena founder Ambra Fossati said she received hundreds of direct messages on Instagram and multiple emails about potential collaborations after the photos of Jenner wearing her ‘Andy’ dress were posted on Sunday.
She has spent the past two days responding to comments asking about the origin of the dress on Jenner’s Instagram, and updating her own website and social media channels to feature the photos.
“It’s too early to tell what the impact [on sales] is,” Fossati told Internet Retailing on Monday. “We’re still assessing it.”
Nearly $1 million in sales in its second year
Fossati started the high-end swimwear brand in September 2018 after spotting a gap in the market for bikinis and one-pieces made out of recycled ocean plastic that still looked cool and stylish.
“We wanted the sustainability factor to be a bonus,” she said.
That has proved to be a wise move, as more swimwear brands have started using recycled nylon in their collections to brush up their environmental bonafides.
“I was at Swimshow in Miami last year and started to tell one of the buyers about using recycled plastic. Before I could even finish, he said, ‘Yeah, everyone’s doing that now’,” Fossati said.
That’s not to say the brand is struggling to stand out. Less than three years after launching, Ambra Maddalena is stocked in Browns, a London-based boutique fashion retailer, Farfetch, an online luxury fashion site, and will make its debut at Splash Paris, an invitation-only trade show, this June.
Last year, in its second year of business, the brand saw sales of nearly $1 million.
“A lot of people focus on online sales, but I [focus on] wholesaling in bricks-and-mortar is,” Fossati said.
“I believe people want to go into a shop and try stuff on. They can see your brand in-store, touch and feel your product, then search and follow you online.”
That, in all likelihood, is how Jenner ended up wearing Fossati’s dress on Instagram.
The mega-influencer’s stylist Mimi Cuttrell contacted the online retailer last year, after seeing the brand, Fossati assumes, in Browns or on Farfetch. Fossati has been sending Cuttrell free products ever since, but says she was as surprised as anyone else to see the posts on Sunday.
“It didn’t initially register that the dress was mine,” she said.