Montreal still does not form part of these cities are discovering a sudden penchant for fashion. And yet it is the largest city in Quebec that the very sharp site Ssense has seen the light of day in 2003. Fifteen years later, this distance with the trendiness and the recipes of marketing remains the cornerstone of the e-commerce platform. The image of the editorial content, rather than motivate the customer to out his credit card from the first screen, mixes decryption of trends, papers on music, art, design, or the phenomena of society, under the direction of Joerg Koch, founder of the magazine berlin 032c . Its monthly traffic has reached 53 million page views by 13 million people. And sales – all the same the nerve of the war, some 13,000 parcels shipped on a daily basis, individuals in 136 countries around the world.
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“today, everyone mixes luxury and streetwear. On Ssense, we have for the past fifteen years !”
“ This is rather a good thing to be away from the system” , observes Rami Atallah, CEO of Ssense, who has imagined the concept in the framework of its memory of the end of the graduate studies in computer science. Before developing with his two brothers, Firas and Bassel who lead today the flaps operational and financial of the company. ” We had barely 20 years old at the beginning of the years 2000 and our training courses we have conducted on channels other than the mode , he says. We were sensitive about like all the guys of our age, without being familiar with the sector’s… Sector, which to me appeared very conservative in its operation when I am interested in a closer look! There should be a way to do something differently to reach our generation. Be in Montreal gives us a certain perspective on the environment. Today, everyone mixes luxury and streetwear. On Ssense, we have for the past fifteen years! From the start, we refused to categorize everything: the ready-to-wear to one side, the sportswear or accessories of the other. The coherence of the whole we seemed to be more important. We strive to keep this distance compared to the standards of the industry to tackle any project with a fresh eye, not to go in the boxes, to defy the standards and go further. In summary, to be different.”
A community of affinities
In its early years, Ssense focuses on the male universe, while online commerce is in its infancy. Suffice to say that the big labels do is rush not on this new distribution channel. Also the brothers Atallah turning to labels which are more confidential, less traditional, justifying their choice with text, portraits and decryption. ” today , takes Rami Atallah, the idea is first to touch the customer emotionally. The immediate objective is not to sell but to communicate a point of view and building relationships. Then, there is no rule on the web. The user is free, but it is known that if a topic is relevant, it affects their choices and, sooner or later, it comes back on. ”
“The talents that we put forward are not necessarily those with the most followers”
In 2003, the first sales of Ssense, that exceed immediately the borders of Canada, give a nice overview of the scope of this new marketplace that is the Web. The parents of the three brothers lend hand-strong to ship packages. Between 2009 and 2014, the selection of brands is refined but retains a temperament of pathfinder. ” Ssense is a platform amplifying the voices and approaches that defy the conventions, insists its founder. The talent that we put forward are not necessarily those with the most followers. We have referenced Marine Emissions, Garments and the label, Off-White Virgil Abloh, from their inception. We prefer those who are move the world forward and enable them to reach a global audience, thanks to the community that we have built in the last fifteen years.”
Some 400 brands are now sold on Ssense, of the English A-Cold-Wall to the shanghaïenne Ziggy Chen, through a Friend, Balmain, Boss, comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Jacquemus, Issey Miyake, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford. All models are type-approved to Montreal, where they are inspected and photographed, in one of the thirteen studios of the headquarters, before being posted online and sold in four days.
‘see now, buy now”,
The family business now employs six hundred people, of which 80 % are millennials (born after 1980), and more than half are less than 30 years, as the clientele balanced between man and woman. To cope with its exponential growth, its services, Technology, and Product (a hundred people) have invested, last Monday, a second level of an old industrial building beyond the plateau mont-Royal. Five days before the move, the new space hosted the evening of the launch of the brand Random Identities, personal project of Stefano Pilati, who led the style of Yves Saint Laurent, and Ermenegildo Zegna before. The parade of this line mixed-inspired male – sold at the same time on the site – was held between the offices and the computers of the vast open space of Ssense on the 9th floor. The see now, buy now , par excellence, of the price very studied (90 € t-shirts, 260 € jackets and parkas), to give all the chances to reach the target. ” We may collect a variety of information on the customer. Rather than use it to launch our own brand, we prefer to share them with designers in the avant-garde so that their project meets his public” , adds Rami Atallah, who has worked for over a year, with Stefano Pilati on Random Identities. A launch a little tense after teasing posted on the Instagram of Ssense, a dummy transgender of color that has led to a wave of racist and homophobic comments. “ Don’t be an asshole” , replied, without delay, the platform on his account in capital letters, remembering to be especially attached to ” inclusion, tolerance and the amplification of voices that have hitherto been stifled or strangled.” . A commitment rare in the business world is also engaged in its difference.
20,000 coins at your fingertips
last April, Ssense opened a physical store of five floors, at 418, rue Saint-Sulpice in the Old quarter of Montreal, directed by architect David Chipperfield. The originality of this store, beyond its ultra modern decor? A service of personal shopping, which allows visitors to try on clothes and accessories selected on the Internet site among the 20,000 references available, twenty-four hours in advance. “ It is a unique experience which met a great success , observes Rami Atallah, CEO of SSense. Touching the parts that makes you want to try and buy even more. We even have customers who come back specially to Montreal and, only on-site, are concerned to organize the rest of their trip to Canada.” The formula could be duplicated elsewhere? “ of course, we would like to have other shops but our idea is
to push to each time limits, the next will not in any case a copy of it.”