How Instagram-famous brands and good old-fashioned retailers are teaming up for shoppers’ dollars

In the beginning, there were merely instagram-famous people. Now, there are Instagram-famous brands.

You know the ones – they’ve got the power to make a simple sundress go viral and have tan-limbed influencers clamoring to get their hands on their latest release.

These brands are changing the game for shoppers quickly and irrevocably and it’s a little scary for major retailers. Understandably so.

For the bricks-and-mortar stalwarts, it’s essentially a matter of jumping enthusiastically on the bandwagon or watching it drive right by them. And let’s be real, that second option is not exactly ideal.

Thankfully, plenty of big names are doing the former and it’s paying off in a major way. US department store Nordstrom has partnered with e-commerce brands like Everlane (best cashmere ever), Allbirds (comfy Kiwi dream shoes) and Reformation (supermodel wardrobe staples) to help these brands expand their reach.

And it’s paying off for both parties. According to Nordstrom, these brands now represent 40 per cent of their revenue at their full-price stores, and that figure is only predicted to increase.

The more these Insta brands can thrive, the better it is for the shopper, but also for fledgling brands wanting to emulate that success

Think about it – where you once had to do press, hire models, shoot imagery and rent shop space in order to launch a label, now all you need is a strong social media presence (okay, and maybe a few other things).

It’s also meant the often frustrating wholesale process is no longer integral and more of an optional side show, if you will.

Accessories designer Poppy Lissiman – you’ve almost certainly seen her technicolour sunglasses on your feed – said she now picks and chooses who she wholesales to after being taken advantage of one too many times.

“I was jaded by that side of the industry ... many accounts weren't paying or were demanding exclusive rights to the brand covering massive areas and then placing orders so small I simply couldn't survive on that business model anymore," she told Fashionista.

"When I started accessories in 2014, the business model was to be only online … promoted through Instagram.

“I also stopped adhering to seasons and simply released stock when I felt the need … Suddenly the cash flow issues which had plagued the business before went away very quickly."

Now Lissiman only wholesales to brands who inherently get it, like Net-a-Porter and Galeries Lafayette. Side note: How is it that French people are always so ahead of the curve? We’re in the midst of a shakeup to be sure, but it provides more opportunities than it does limitations. The retail revolution is here. Get #excited about it!