Like many who have used the popular new Clubhouse social media app, Jeff Carvalho, co-founder of Highsnobiety, has been shocked by the engagement of his users. Last week’s edition of his weekly show, “Culture Club,” drew more than 300 listeners for a full four hours. They asked questions and shared their views on the topic of racism against Asian Americans. According to Clubhouse, the top 20% of Clubhouse users, based on average time spent listening, are on the app for more than two hours per day.
Clubhouse, which has seen more than 10 million downloads since its launch in March 2020, is quickly becoming a hub for in-depth discussions on the ins and outs of streetwear and fashion. Culture Club, which focuses on fashion but tackles a variety of other topics such as art and film, has over 23,000 subscribers. Carvalhos co-hosts, Vice Media Vice President of Partner Concepts Ben Dietz, Nordstrom Menswear Director Jian DeLeon and Tiffany & Co. Executive Creative Director Ruba Abu-Nimah, number between 5,000 and 20,000 subscribers, while Carvalho has over 3 million.
Carvalho attributes this to its membership of the platform last April, just a month after its launch. In addition to hosting Culture Club every week, Carvalho said he listens to a variety of other clubs covering topics ranging from NFTs to collectible cards almost every day. app users (and Culture Club guests), while streetwear-focused clubs like Sneakerheads Anonymous have tens of thousands of followers who stick around for hours-long chats with industry insiders. fashion.
What is much less important at Clubhouse these days are clubs owned by brands. There aren’t many venues owned by fashion brands on the app that stack up against the audiences of groups like Culture Club and Sneakerheads Anonymous. Brands from Nike to New Balance are usually content with seeing representatives of their brand make occasional appearances at other clubs. Instead, the app has become a space for founders and brand leaders, both from established brands and new businesses, to create new ideas and compare grades with other leaders.
Insider access has been a huge draw for Clubhouse users. Sneakerheads Anonymous, founded by sneaker enthusiast Vinay Parmar last October, was first and foremost a place for a few hundred sneakerheads to let off steam on the latest novelties. That was until Parmer asked Nike’s supply chain engineer Ryan Smith to do an AMA at his club in December. Since then, Parmars has pivoted the club to focus on chats with sneaker industry insiders every Monday night. They included Joe Grondin, Head of Partnerships at New Balances. Sneakerheads Anonymous now has over 40,000 regular listeners.
When I first started using the app, there wasn’t much of a sneaker talk, Parmar said. Carvalho characterized the early days of the Clubhouse as dominated by finance and tech workers. Now, there is an avalanche of new fashion clubs with more and more members, such as Fashion Talks (17,000 subscribers), Fashion Talk 101 (34,000 subscribers) and Fashion Creatives Linkup (64,000 subscribers). Parmar described clubs like Sneakerheads Anonymous as the “V2” of influential sneaker forums from the early 2000s like NikeTalk.com.
Parmar himself is not an insider. He works in finance and is a former professional basketball player. But his knowledge of sneakers and the lure that insiders like Gurnard led to the flourishing of Sneakerheads Anonymous, he said.
One of the great strengths of the platform is the ability for anyone, not just industry insiders, to have access to executives like Grondin in an informal setting, according to Syama Meagher. Meagher is the founder of retail consulting firm Scaling Retail and host of the weekly Scaling Retail club on Clubhouse, which welcomes brand founders like Shilpa Shah, co-founder of e-commerce brand Cuyana and Ron Thurston, vice president of stores at Intermix.
The majority of the club’s listeners are founders and executives of emerging fashion brands seeking advice. Meagher said she had no problem finding executives from existing brands who were willing to come in, offer advice and answer questions. The executives she has spoken to are all eager to test the app and learn how to use it, she said.
If you even watch someone really influential like Rebecca Minkoff, she doesn’t necessarily have a ton of followers, Meagher said. Minkoff has around 6,000 followers, while Meagher and Parmar, the Clubhouse’s non-branded hosts, have over 4,000, for example. Your credibility isn’t based on your popularity, but on your ability to facilitate good discussion and interest. people.
Parmar said he asked contacts for brands, including New Balance and Nike, why they hadn’t created their own chambers, and they said they had no interest.
Meagher said it’s a good thing brands don’t try to treat Clubhouse like other platforms. Instead, they should embrace the informal nature of discussions by letting executives participate in any discussions that pique their interest, without worrying about tightly controlling branding.
There is currently a land grab for club names, Meagher said, noting that clubs dedicated to specific brands are usually created by fans, like the 13,000-member SNKRS club which is not affiliated with Nike but which exclusively discusses the brand’s SNKRS app. For brands, if you want to create a club, you have to do it on something that is adjacent to your brand. Don’t put the brand at the center of your concerns. If you are a sustainability brand, start a sustainability club and invite smart people to talk about it.
Meagher said the majority of the fashion presence on the app is in the form of brand founders and executives. They use the app to build their personal image and to provide indirect marketing to the brand. People like Minkoff, Grondin, and Abloh represent their brands with regular appearances at a wide variety of non-branded clubs, like Fashion Talk and Culture Club.
It’s a great place to be a founder and share your message, Carvalho said. We’ve had all kinds of founders, like the CEO of Topshop. It’s just a great place to let users know who they are and get their point across without it turning into advertising.
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