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Why Top Fashion Entrepreneurs Are Uniting to Launch a Week-Long Flash Sale

Join McKinsey & Company, NewTimes Group, Arvind Limited, Asmara, Google, Bluesign, the Retail Prophet and more at Sourcing Journal’s Virtual Sourcing Summit, R/Evolution: Overhauling Fashion’s Outmoded Supply Chain, Oct 14 & 15.

A group of entrepreneurs and fashion innovators is collaborating to deliver a five-day flash sale event from Aug. 11-15, connecting shoppers to up-and-coming U.S. brands at discount prices of up to 80 percent off.

The weeklong event, launching at BestKeptSecret.com, is coming to life through five partners: Andrew Rosen, co-founder and former CEO of contemporary fashion brand Theory, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, the co-founders of street-savvy label Public School, Ben Fischman, the co-founder of flash-sale platform Rue La La and elevated direct-to-consumer women’s brand M.Gemi, and Jens Grede, co-founder of denim-first fashion line Frame.

The shopping event will feature a selection of more than 40 American fashion brands including Rag & Bone, Theory, Frame, Rachel Zoe, Solid & Striped, Good American, Alice + Olivia, Jason Wu, Re/done and Rosie Assoulin among others, and is designed so that shoppers can explore and discover new brands through different categories and value propositions such as “Female Founded” and “Great Sales under $100.”

On top of the assortment provided, the event will host exclusive Instagram Live sessions with influencers and designers. Throughout the event, consumers can expect frequent merchandise drops and surprise announcements.

Beyond offering deals to customers, BestKeptSecret gives its younger brand partners an opportunity to generate much-needed liquidity in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on retail, according to Fischman.

“COVID-19 has caused an excess of inventory to accumulate, and with any challenges in business or life, it forces you to think outside of the box to find creative solutions,” Fischman told Sourcing Journal. “The format of a flash sale has been done before and is proven to work, but we wanted to flip it on its head. We aimed to create a singular platform where fashion brands could easily plug in to move excess inventory.”

Flash sales were a hot business model in the early 2010s, particularly in the wake of the Great Recession as shoppers were looking for bargains and flocked to the idea of exclusive products that could sell out at any moment. But as retailers adapted, particularly off-price stores, and more players entered the space, the concept lost much of its luster by the mid-2010s.

Gilt Groupe, once valued at more than $1 billion in 2011, has since been sold twice at steeply lower costs—in January 2016 to Hudson’s Bay Company for $250 million and again in June 2018 to former competitor Rue La La for reportedly under $100 million. Footwear seller JackThreads, meanwhile, pivoted away from the business model entirely in 2014.

Despite the struggles across flash sales years ago, the BestKeptSecret event’s brief timing across five days, with discounted access to coveted modern brands, may give the concept a bit of novelty again for consumers looking for a reason to spend.

BestKeptSecret partnered with Afterpay to launch the event, which is sponsored by e-commerce marketing company Klaviyo. Shopify Plus powers the event.

Shoppers were able to sign up via email to gain free admission to the flash sale from Aug. 3. They also can purchase $25 “VIP donor” tickets for early access at 6 p.m. EST on Aug. 10, 15 hours before the event is set to launch at 9 a.m.

BestKeptSecret will attach a $5 consumer donation to every unit sold, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated directly to philanthropic partners Baby2Baby and Know Your Rights Camp. The BestKeptSecret team and its sponsors will match all donations. The company aims to generate more than $1 million in charitable donations for both companies.

“The beauty of this event is, we’re creating a community of well-known brands and up-and-coming brands so we can make a greater impact by coming together in a time of need,” Fischman said. “We’re seeing all brands no matter their size or recognition struggle in some way shape or form through this pandemic. Most importantly, in this day and age, we want to raise the voice of up-and-coming designers to reach new customers they may not have reached in the past.”

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