A new online store selling the work of Australian designers to a global audience is always a good thing. But within an ocean of URLs, differentiating your store can prove a difficult task.
Newly launched (from today), online store Jasu has achieved the Holy Grail. Not only has the website garnered attention but it has polarised consumers with its controversial digital door policy. Yes, access to Jasu, much like an exclusive nightclub, is limited to a select few. Their prerequisites? Social media influence, as measured by US company Klout.
Based on online data, KLOUT measures the size of a person's social presence and influence, allocating them a KLOUT score accordingly. It's that number that will determine whether you can pass though Jasu's digital ropes to purchase the latest offerings by Australia designers.
The approach will apply during the launch phase of the site (for now), but it has been enough to get people talking, ironically across social media channels.
So is the hype worth it? In a sense, yes. The online store not only reads like a who's who of the local fashion industry – Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Romance was Born, Dinosaur Design, Ginger & Smart and more – but these designers are given direct access to the consumers, each with their own digital fit-out for their section within the store.
Adding to its already heavyweight status, the website has also employed the help of Australia's best known bloggers (no doubt with a high KLOUT score) in Nicole Warne (Gary Pepper), Mandy Shadforth (Oracle Fox), Sara Donaldson (Harper & Harley), Sarah Willcocks (StyleMelbourne) and Charmaine James (heart + bleecker). Labelled as 'Stylemakers’, these girls act as the digital retail posse for Jasu, inspiring consumers with their curated outfits and acting as the attractive faces of the digital platform.
All in all, the store is an exciting concept, but if your KLOUT score doesn't reach the bar, it's all a little in vain, especially considering it only takes a visit to another URL to make the purchase you want. A novelty marketing trick, or the future of online retailing? Only time and KLOUT will tell.