01 Dec 2014
Rethinking the Fashion Beat
Imran Amed (MBA 2002), Founder and editor, The Business of Fashionby Alyssa GiacobbeTopics:
It was more happy accident than business plan: Imran Amed (MBA 2002), a former McKinsey consultant, was between jobs in 2007 when he started a personal blog as a “fun” way to examine the intersection of business, his trade, and fashion, his infatuation. He named it The Business of Fashion. It was perhaps a little obvious—and yet it was entirely novel. Fashion is an industry traditionally built on aspiration, not access, and before Amed, no one was really writing about what went on beneath the glamorous facade captured in the glossy magazines—about what makes what we wear a multibillion-dollar business.
Readership grew organically, though steadily, as Amed focused on creating content that served, as he says, to “open, inform, and connect” those who worked in fashion as well as those who wanted to. Still, it wasn’t until investors came calling that Amed realized that London-based BoF could be a business. In 2013, he took on backers that included industry powerhouses LVMH and Index Ventures, threw in some of his own money, and began to think about ways to monetize the site.
Now a fully staffed online magazine, BoF has emerged as one of fashion’s most respected and read sources, delivering reviews of runway collections, profiles of industry insiders, and news and analyses of markets both established and emerging to hundreds of thousands of readers a day. Meanwhile, platforms like jobs listings and a networking portal provide much of the site’s revenue stream. Traffic has grown by 200 percent annually, Amed says. A mix of content, commerce, and, most important, access makes BoF, in Amed’s mind, virtually without competition. “What we do different is think about fashion as a community and a global one—how it interacts and how it can be brought together,” he says. “We don’t just report the news, we engage with it.”
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Class of MBA 2002, Section D