by Sarah Morrison
For the style-conscious millennial woman in-the-know, otherwise known as today’s “fashion girl”, the mere mention of the name Revolve instantly conjures images of dreamlike women (very often in a posh, far-off setting), bedecked from top to toe in daringly trendy outfits that are nothing short of swoon-worthy.
What began 16 years ago as a small e-commerce shop for women ahead of the emerging fashion curve has evolved into a global lifestyle brand boasting an Instagram following of over 3 million and growing, an online designer collection in the hundreds, and even, a firm place in the world of Wall Street (Revolve officially announced itself as a public company in June of this year).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Revolve.
In an industry inundated by market over-saturation and changing consumer habits, Revolve is a formidable force. One look at Revolve’s website and the appeal makes itself apparent: anything from a vacation edit, a date-night lookbook, 9-to-5-ready roundups and a beauty shop can be found at just the homepage alone. Curated to be that one-stop shop, what with daily site refreshes and not to mention, an entirely data-driven back-end that predicts consumer preferences like clockwork, the homepage is punchy, relevant, and digestible—perfect for on-the-go shopping.
With its colloquial copy and vivid image blocks of women with seemingly no hair out of place, we are drawn into the luxury of it all: the jet-set lifestyle, the ease, and the allure of the brand’s, as the name suggests, ever-revolving door of elevated, new-age collections that are just ready for the next adventure. That 20-something fashion aficionado never stood a chance.
The collections, seesawing between a Los Angeles boho chic aesthetic and an edgier, downtown cool New York sensibility, have a distinctly niche flair that is masterfully brought to life by the brand’s unique marketing strategy. Said strategy is entirely influencer-driven—a business model formerly unheard of, and yet now, with Revolve’s quick ascent to a $1.2 billion valuation, is cause for applause.
As you’ll also see on the homepage, wedged between the style guides and lookbooks are blocks of user-generated and sponsored content—content pulled straight from Revolve’s ever-mobile and ever-engaged community of Instagram tastemakers. Some faces are familiar, the bonafide It-girls of the fashion world, while others are your more under-the-radar micro influencers. This collective clout, drawing from upwards of 3,500 influencers in total, is the core of Revolve’s marketing strategy; the fuel behind such influential campaigns such as #RevolveAroundTheWorld that have helped build Revolve’s empire—an empire well worth emulating.
Helping to keep this booming empire alive, from a public relations point of view, is a face you might recognize—if only for her wonderfully curated Instagram—named Kendall Sargeant. Sargeant joined Revolve three years ago to assume the role of the company’s sole PR Director and hasn’t looked back since.
Sargeant is many things—Girl Boss, tastemaker, world traveller, you name it. Without question, she’s a force to be reckoned with, but did you know she’s also incredibly down to earth, too? As I sit here today, a founder of a website barely six months of age, my initial reach out to Sargeant, a figure of solid influence in the fashion industry, was not without mild trepidation. So, naturally, when I saw that unread email crop up on my screen—a warm welcome to a standard cold email—and quickly after, her gracious acceptance to participate in this interview, I couldn’t help but crack a wide celebratory smile. What was to follow was a refreshingly candid exchange that would more than scratch the surface of Kendall’s far from dull life; a casual pow-wow revealing the many layers that make it as exciting as ever:
Sarah: To start off, can you walk us through your morning routine?
Kendall: Oh man, it fluctuates. I go through phases where I like to be up early, 6:30am, to go for a beach walk or cycle class. Recently, I’ve been soaking up every bit of sleep, waking up at about 7:30am. My amazing boyfriend runs a health food business, Keto Farms, so he brings me one of his iced coffees in bed most days. I check my schedule for the day, respond to any urgent emails, both professional and personal, scroll Instagram, light some palo Santo, and get ready for work. I have an hour commute to our head office in Cerritos so I’m usually in the office by around 10am, depending on what the day looks like.
Sarah: What’s at the very top of your to-do list right now?
Kendall: Paris Fashion Week is approaching and we’ll be active throughout the week, we also have trips and events in the pipeline so we’re strategizing constantly. My role supports our Chief Brand Office with a ton of partnership opportunities, which is super exciting and keeps me on my toes. My to-do list also includes working out, seeing my friends, sleeping enough, drinking enough water, face timing my family in Australia, maintaining a decent manicure…the list goes on.
Sarah: Based off your Instagram, your outfits are #wardrobegoals. So tell us, what’s your go-to ensemble for conquering the workday in style?
Kendall: I’m a pants + shirt kind of girl however my outfits are certainly mood & schedule dependent. I try to keep things simple, I rarely wear patterns or prints unless we have an event or a REVOLVE trip. I probably have three office outfits I wear/edit/repeat:
Vintage Levis or some type of denim jean, white button up or tee, gold jewelry and a sandal/heel. Zara has great shirting.
High waist pant or trouser, cropped tee or sweater + a blazer. I have a couple vintage blazers, I’m on the search for more, throwing on a well fitting blazer can completely transform my mood.
I’m trying to experiment with the midi skirt & tee/sweater vibe more often, sometimes with a sneaker, sometimes just a tiny heel. L’Academie is one of my favorite REVOLVE brands, they have simple but feminine work options.
If I’m being honest, there’s usually 1 day a week where I wear work out tights, a vintage sweater and my Givenchy sneakers, but only if I have internal meetings that day. Oh and I’ve been wearing Mejuri gold rings & Kinn earrings/rings everyday.
Sarah: As a PR director for a major brand, many girls would dream to be in your position. Just how exactly did you land where you are today?
Kendall: I’m asked this question often and there’s no cheat sheet. I started working in the fashion industry (for the leading Australian e-retailer at the time, MyCatwalk) while I studied my Bachelor of Media at Macquarie University in Sydney. I networked a ton, I dabbled in all different departments – sales, social, customer service, buying, PR, email marketing.
I ended up being poached by an incredible businesswoman, Frankie Presser, the owner of a boutique Sales/PR agency, and I became her Showroom co-ordinator. I worked my way up the ranks there to a managerial position, supporting her and the brands we represented until an opportunity to lead PR, Sales & Social opened up with an Australian Designer, Maurie & Eve. I transitioned to head their Australian & International press & sales strategy and helped kickstart their social content- IG back then was just starting to be a ‘thing’. This role was a great learning experience, I reported directly to the founders/Designers and learnt to wear many hats, travel, be independent, stay organized. I always knew I wanted to travel abroad and potentially work abroad, so after a few years I left my position and packed a bag and landed in America, no job, no idea what I was going to do. This is when shit got real.
One of my first interviews was with Raissa Gerona at REVOLVE, at the time they were investigating how to expand their PR department but the shoe didn’t quite fit. We promised to stay in touch. From there, I interviewed a ton, cried a ton, nearly took a few jobs, missed out on a few jobs, until one day, my paths crossed with the Founders of Australian Fashion Labels, they owned 7 Aussie brands at the time and were looking for someone to open their PR Showroom within their newly established LA headquarters. A ton of the contacts I had worked with (via email, from Australia), Aimee Song, Dani Song, Danielle Bernstein, Jill Wallace, Monica Rose (who at the time dressed the Kardashians) + so many more, were so kind and welcoming, we were mutually excited to be meeting in person.
From there, I built my little black book, I networked a ton, cold call emailed every stylist, influencer, editor I could find and managed to establish incredible relationships. The brands I represented were sold on REVOLVE.com so our Marketing Director and I were continually looking for ways to partner with REVOLVE, I was introduced with the Brand Marketing team (members who are now my counterparts today!). Eventually, Raissa and I re-connected and got to talking. It took us a full year of conversation, meeting with Michael, our co-CEO, thinking through the role together, before I officially transitioned to Public Relations Director for REVOLVE & our sister site FWRD. I now oversee Public Relations & collaborative partnerships across REVOLVE, FWRD, super down & our 23 privately owned brands. This is everything from Talent deals to collaborative brands with Influencers or celebrities to media partnerships and more. It’s been such an incredible experience and I’m blessed to call this my job.
Sarah: Can you name a peak and a valley of your last workday?
Kendall: A lot of what I do is problem-solving, crisis management if you will. We had an event recently and there was a major change in plans, one of the key celeb talents couldn’t attend last minute so we had to re-work the event run of show, press strategy and work with our social team to fill in gaps within the content strategy to find a solution. Everything ran smoothly and was a huge success. I’m faced with challenges often, whether it be negotiating a difficult deal or smoothing over a press crisis, it’s often overwhelming and stressful, but I also take great pride in being able to turn a negative into a positive. It’s great character building, I kind of thrive on the challenge.
Sarah: With each day bringing its fair share of challenges, how do you stay motivated?
Kendall: You have to keep your mind on the big picture. Knowing that everything happens for a reason is important for me. A deal falling through, or a budget change, or a variation in objective are all opportunities to be creative and test yourself. With a great team by your side and supportive leadership, anything can be achieved.
Sarah: After a long day, what’s your favorite way to decompress?
Kendall: Vino. I love cooking dinner with my boyfriend or visiting new restaurants. We just moved house so I’ve been super into homewares and interior design. Most nights I end up on our couch in a spiral of homewares websites, Pinterest boards and shows about house flipping and fixer uppers…it’s dangerous.
Sarah: Lastly, to end on a contemplative note, what does the future of REVOLVE look like to you?
Kendall: It’s such an incredible company to be involved with, I have no doubt we’ll continue to adapt our business, grow upon our existing network of 3500 influencers, nurture and develop our experiential marketing strategy and continue to work with emerging and established designers that are disrupting the industry. We’re just scratching the surface, it’s going to be an exciting ride.
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