Celebrities who Associate With Brands and Products

Source: NYTimes, Nov 2012

Hiring a famous face to represent your brand is the oldest marketing trick in the book. But Mr. Lee is doing it with an Internet twist. He uses celebrities’ social media connections with fans, coupled with recent innovations in e-commerce, to sell things in ways that were not possible just a few years ago.

Mr. Lee’s companies tap the latest e-commerce trends, including selling monthly subscriptions, using software algorithms to determine personal style suggestions and eliminating middlemen by designing products in-house and selling them directly to consumers.

While subscriptions have worked well at companies like Amazon.com and Diapers.com for necessities like toilet paper and diapers, shoppers might find it harder to justify a recurring credit-card charge for colorful suede booties.

ShoeDazzle switched to a nonsubscription model this year, so shoppers log on whenever they are in the mood to shop instead of receiving monthly boxes. In September, the company replaced its chief executive, Bill Strauss, with Mr. Lee. He laid off 20 of its 220 employees and cut expenses like corporate apartments. Both Honest and ShoeDazzle are capital-intensive because they design, store and ship their own inventory.

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