2 posts tagged "Olivier van Themsche"
The Cools launched last summer as an online retail community that offered products by independent fashion and lifestyle designers from around the globe. Unfortunately, the site was “members only”—until now. “Our platform was originally intended to support individuals showcasing their cool, and selling personal products online,” said CEO Olivier van Themsche, who opened the site to the public last Thursday. “We realized that the platform was powerful for brands and designers, and a great opportunity for them to have a new business channel of exposure and sales.” In addition to giving its carefully selected range of about three hundred fresh labels (like Katie Gallagher, Public School, Dominic Louis, and Linda Farrow, just to name a few) a better cut of the sales than most retailers (designers only hand over a 12 percent commission), The Cools provides them with a virtual space where they can upload films, brand bios, and inspiration images that give customers a better idea of what they’re all about. Editorial content is also a focus (Style.com/Print star Grimes makes an appearance in The Cools’ latest online mag), and a slew of handpicked tastemakers in the know—Dree Hemingway, Chelsea Leyland, and Erin Fetherston among them—present shoppers with their favorite sartorial picks. “We hope to offer our customers the best possible brands from around the world, and to give them a unique way to interact directly with their favorite designers—one on one,” added van Themsche. With everything from candlesticks and chandeliers to leather lingerie and edgy staples, The Cools is a one-stop shop for all that is quirky, covetable, and, well, cool.
Picture a Web site that is eBay meets Pinterest with a dash of Instagram thrown in for good measure, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what The Cools (www.thecools.com) is. It’s a personalized online bazaar curated by likeminded tastemakers, no weeding through pages of junk necessary. “I get e-mailed so much stuff and one thing I happened to click on was this site. I saw like three things I hadn’t seen before that I wanted and one of the three that I could afford, so I thought ‘cool,’ ” The Hole gallery founder Kathy Grayson told Style.com last night at The Cools’ first Jamboree event, which brought the online experience to life. For the occasion, site founder Olivier van Themsche took over the sprawling 15,000-square-foot Old School in Nolita and gave local designers and restaurants, including Grayson, Erin Fetherston, Bing Bang’s Anna Sheffield, What Goes Around Comes Around, Selima, and Miss Lily’s each a classroom to take over and market their offerings. “The offline events are a key part of The Cools,” van Themsche said. “The nature of creatives is to engage with other creatives—I plan to make the Jamboree recurring and it will evolve into a sort of ‘curated’ cool kids’ flea market, which will pop up in New York and also in Paris, Milan, etc.”
The result was a laissez-faire bash that drew a line of people (including Hanne Gaby Odiele, Waris Ahluwalia, Fiona Byrne, and Scott Lipps) wrapped around the block on Mott Street waiting to get in. At one point, the police even arrived to break up the festivities. Things were indeed getting a bit rowdy in the space Miss Lily’s restaurant turned into a Jamaican dancehall complete with dance lessons, reggaeton beats, and an emcee. Across the hall, skateboarders were tearing up a half pipe set up by aNYthing, and a floor below, The Hole was selling $100 psychedelic drawings and Sheffield was teaching guests to knit friendship bracelets. Grayson’s favorite part was the room devised by indie film director Adam Green (who was dressed kind of like Captain Crunch), which featured large video game props from his feature film The Wrong Ferrari. “I have a soft spot for anything analog versus digital, and I thought the movie was funny,” said Grayson. “Plus, he was dressed cool and I can pretend in my head he is my new boyfriend.” Overall, it was a rollicking success, and van Themsche plans to hold court over similar events on a monthly basis. Erin Fetherston, who displayed sketches of her ethereal dresses, said, “Olivier has created the ultimate hipster social-commerce platform. There is nothing comparable in the social/e-commerce space that provides the taste level, art direction, or community that the The Cools offers.”