For a retailer without any permanent stores, offline accounted for a large portion of women’s loungewear brand Dayo’s sales.
The digitally native brand, which launched in 2018, typically hosts monthly events, partnering with brands such as makeup line Nars. Women attend its events for a day of decadent self-care and pampering that can include Dayo slippers in each fitting room, makeovers and self-affirmation exercises. The brand also usually hosts pop-up shops—open only three to four hours—throughout the year where women could try on and learn about Dayo’s high-end loungewear.
The roughly dozen events and pop-up shops brought in significant sales for the brand, says Yolanda White, co-founder and CEO. And they were sorely missed when the designer had to temporarily suspend them due to COVID-19. Between 30 and 50 women on average attended Dayo’s events and nearly everyone made a purchase, White says. Before the pandemic, Dayo’s revenue was split nearly 50/50 between pop-up shops and events and sales via its ecommerce site, White says.
When COVID-19 hit, White and her team struggled with ways to replicate those intimate experiences online. It also was around this time that White began working more with distributors and meeting with buyers for stores and online boutiques interested in carrying her line. “We thought, ‘how can we as a company keep things creative and personable?’” White says.
That’s when Dayo turned to virtual appointments via Zoom. But White quickly found the appointments awkward and could tell that shoppers and buyers weren’t tuning in to the story behind Dayo or her products’ versatility and attributes.
“On Zoom, the experience was so flat and clunky,” White says.
White wanted to incorporate many elements into an appointment, such as video, still imagery, live models and mannequins, to communicate how the garments fit, moved and worked together. But adding these elements within Zoom was either complex or not possible.
“We had to have producers on each call managing all the content we wanted,” White says. “I wanted to tell our story in a comprehensive and exciting way and not have it feel like a company Zoom call.”
While explaining her predicament to friends, one introduced her to a video app called mmhmm. Mmhmm helps users collaborate with features like virtual backdrops and immersive full-screens and works with programs including Zoom, Google Meet and YouTube. To use the feature, White connects with clients via a Zoom call that incorporates the mmhmm app. The app enables White to easily shift between still images and live video. And mmhmm adds an interactive component to Zoom by allowing White to manipulate the models and styles on the screen, move and make herself smaller on the screen in real-time, and upload slides to show a variety of different looks, among other features. Because it’s an application on top of the existing video platform, shoppers don’t need to download mmhumm to see others using it.
Today, in an appointment using mmhmm, White (or her fashion director) takes a shopper through a five-point questionnaire, helps her take her measurements, discusses the designs she likes and displays outfits on a mannequin.
Using mmhmm makes a static Zoom call more interactive, White says. Dayo’s average sales for each appointment while using mmhmm are between $200 and $300. On average, White uses mmhmm about once a week. And so far, every appointment has resulted in a sale, she adds. Additionally, sales are up 100% since COVID, despite Dayo suspending in-person events.
Another benefit of the virtual appointments is that they tend to cultivate repeat shoppers. When shoppers buy apparel online, a prominent concern is fit, but once they find fits and styles they like through the help of virtual appointments, they often come back and buy more, White says. Between 30% and 40% of Dayo shoppers are repeat shoppers, White says.
Dayo is also hosting virtual shopping parties for events like birthdays and wedding showers using the technology. Such group events can easily bring in $10,000 to $15,000 in sales, White says.
In October, mmhmm raised $31 million from backers including Sequoia Capital, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and Goldman Sachs. Mmhmm costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.Favorite