Living The Dream – Modcloth

Special guest speaker Susan Gregg Koger kicked off the first Online Retailer event of 2012, the Brisbane Roadshow, with a fantastic presentation covering not only the history of Modcloth, but the innovation, ingenuity and unwavering dedication to community that has inspired the business’ success.

Susan launched Modcloth as a 17-year-old with her then boyfriend, now husband, Eric Koger, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That was 2002 and in the deacde hence Modcloth has spilled out of the dorm room to span three headquarters across the US employing 270 people and, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500, generating more than $20 million in sales. The vintage apparel retailer was named the number 2 retailer in Inc Magazine’s Fast 500 list for 2010, and there is plenty more in store.

Nothing Modcloth does in its approach to retail is conventional – from the interesting indie range of apparel to the site design to the marketing, the customer is at the centre of everything. Social commerce is a cornerstone of Modcloth’s meteoric rise, with initiatives such as Be The Buyer ‘democratising’ fashion and driving incredible results. It is this focus on differentiation that has helped insulate Modcloth from the pricing pressures facing so many of the same-same retailers online and offline, and helped the business preserve healthy profits.

Susan wrapped up her presentation with the prediction that while group buying and flash sales have stormed the online retail world, she believes community-based models like Modcloth will become the preeminent etail brands of the future.

Susan continues her tour for the rest of this week as part of the Online Retailer Roadshow, a full day of e-commerce learning in Melbourne tomorrow and Sydney on Friday 9 March. The event features a packed agenda boasting local and international speakers, moderated roundtable discussions, live site reviews, panels and presentations covering marketing, investment, technology, organisational structure and more, all with the theme of Leapfrogging. There are also plenty of networking opportunities and a wide range of suppliers on hand to discuss solutions.

Ruby Anik joins the tour in Melbourne tomorrow to unveil the JC Penney strategy for reinventing the venerable department store brand, led by Ron Johnson of Apple’s retail stores fame.

Some tickets are still available for the Sydney event this Friday at

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