How StyleDemocracy Expanded to Become a Significant Retail Industry Marketing Business

By Mario Toneguzzi

Toronto-based StyleDemocracy is more than a company that organizes warehouse sales of excess inventory for globally-recognized brands.

It has become a sophisticated, innovative and industry-leading marketing company as well.

 Grayson Miller

Grayson Miller

Grayson Miller, vice-president of digital at StyleDemocracy, said the company tackles the industry in two ways - supporting brands to liquidate their excess inventory, giving them more capital to work with once the inventory has been cleared; and helping brands communicate with their audiences in Canada through digital marketing, promotions, advertising, content creation, storytelling and everything social media.

“Brands are choosing StyleDemocracy because we have a very loyal customer base, a very loyal client base that has been using our services for 10 years . . . and that’s what we’re really trying to push in this day and age, because there are so many opportunities for a consumer to get distracted to buy in a different area, you need a multi-channel situation,” said Miller.

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“So you need to hit them online, you need to hit them physically, you need to hit them with content and storytelling to encourage them to buy. And brands that are doing all three of these things effectively are successful in this new retail world and we just want to help brands reach that level that can’t do that by themselves.”

Back in 2006, StyleDemocracy began collecting email addresses at each sale so they could easily notify their customers of their next big event. After a few years, the email list developed into an extremely efficient marketing platform, as these sales would get anywhere from 10,000-25,000 people through the doors each time.

Nearly 8 years ago, Miller was introduced to StyleDemocracy’s founder and president, Michael Berg, and convinced him on the opportunity that the Styledemocracy warehouse sale email list could be utilized by other brands and retailers with their own promotions.

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“When you have a captive audience and you don’t communicate with them regularly the audience gets bored . . . My main thing when I came on board is how do we communicate to our customers and continually engage them on a regular basis?” said Miller. “So we decided to launch StyleDemocracy.com the blog which originally started out simply as a way to inform members about upcoming warehouse sales and sample sales. And because the content was so well-received, it kept progressing into different avenues. It kept growing into different forms of content because this is what people were looking for."

“When you build up a sizeable population with an email list and when you get sizeable traffic, you can then start to leverage that and look for partners to communicate with your audience as well and essentially build that into a marketing platform.”

Today, the company’s email list(s) equate to more than 140,000 people and continually growing.

StyleDemocracy’s marketing platform works in several ways:

●     Email Marketing - Its expertise lies in brand promotion and event marketing. One of the most successful strategies it uses for clients is email marketing with more than 10 years of experience delivering results with custom-targeted email campaigns;

●     Social Media Marketing - With networks that are always growing, its social accounts are one of its biggest assets. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, StyleDemocracy is able to amplify the client’s message to followers and audiences across the nation through the use of high-impact campaigns, keeping audiences engaged with powerful content;

●     Content creation - It creates content that can be shared through a brand’s channels or exclusively through StyleDemocracy. It has worked with the top global brands to create engaging and memorable content - content that encourages and fosters relationships between brands and consumers;

●     Contest Marketing - Whether the goal is to increase social growth, generate brand buzz, or to push sales in-store and / or online, StyleDemocracy helps in those areas. Contests are an effective way to gain brand momentum and engage with customers and audiences in a meaningful way;

●     Event Marketing - The StyleDemocracy team has almost 20 years of experience marketing events in Canada. Although platforms are constantly changing, its proven strategies work in helping bring more customers through the doors;

●     Experiential Marketing - StyleDemocracy-hosted events are a perfect opportunity to expose products to customers.

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The company has gone from collecting emails on sheets of paper to utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help grow and manage an overall community which has surpassed 250,000 and keeps growing.

“So at the end of the day, we had this captive audience that we needed to engage with on a regular basis combined with some advertisers who were eager to let our customers know about their own promotions and that’s how the Style Democracy publication was born.”

Once that publication was up and running, the company was able to leverage the views and the readership to advertisers who were interested in communicating with that audience.

Miller said the average lifespan of a StyleDemocracy customer is seven years on the email list. It’s a very loyal subscriber base.

The company is comprised of online content, events and ecommerce. Everything flows together. Potential customers are informed through the content and are enticed to either attend a physical event or to check out the ecommerce site.

“We have set up a strategy to acquire these people at our sales events. So we meet them face to face. These are locked in, fully engaged people that have said they want to receive shopping information,” said Miller.

“The future is all about being bigger. We want to create more content, a bigger marketing platform. And the more people we engage and bring to our platform through content and through storytelling, the bigger our audience gets and that enables us to reach out to larger advertisers and to create more interesting campaigns with bigger and better brands.”

For more information, contact Grayson Miller at: grayson@styledemocracy.com

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.

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