The fashion label LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG, short LFDY, hits the pulse of time with their polarizing designs in Hip Hop and Streetwear clothing, as well as the taste of it’s young target group. The brand consciously focuses on scarcity in its products: As soon as a new Drop appears, some pieces are sold out within minutes.
Before launching their latest Drop, the company based in Düsseldorf, migrated their online store from Shopware to Shopify in order to offer customers the best possible user experience. In this interview, LFDY team members Riccardo Ballarino (Executive Creative Director) and Maksim Telkov (E-Commerce Manager) tell us how to turn the hype around a product into a successful business model, how the experience of working with Latori was, and why rappers, soccer players, and models are so excited about the brand.
What distinguishes the LFDY brand?
Riccardo Ballarino: One of our most important assets is authenticity and credibility. Both assets are an integral part of LFDY's DNA and incredibly important in the urban cultural world,in whose cosmos we take place somewhere. There is also a lot of message in our name - Rapidity, from the bottom to the top. This is a story that is often told in the Hip Hop world. This "anyone can do it" attitude has high identification potential. But we also love to produce good products. Our print designs often have messages with which we have somehow always hit the pulse of time.
In past few years, our focus became even greater on the quality of our products.
You appeal to a rather young, urban target group. How does that affect the design and usability of the store?
Riccardo Ballarino: We adapt a lot from social networks in terms of the look-and-feel of our store.
For example, our store icons are very similar to those of social media apps. We also try to adapt the scrolling behavior of the kids these days as much as possible. The look of the page is always very dependent on the shooting we did before. We deliberately work with models, so that you can see the fitting e.g.
Many other brands only work with Packshots or with Hollowmens. But only on the model you can see how an oversized piece fits or whether a piece is rather tight.
Maksim Telkov: We have very few conversions via desktop. 90 percent of our traffic comes from mobile devices, especially iOS. That is the reason why we focus strongly on social media.
When did you approach Latori and what was the initial problem?
Maksim Telkov: We wanted to move from our old store system Shopware to Shopify. Latori took over the migration for us. The idea of switching systems had been on our minds since winter 2020. Last year, we had enormous growth. With more and more clicks, we were increasingly dissatisfied with our old store system and after the last Drop we sat together with our agency to discuss the pros and cons of switching. We came to the conclusion that we had to work on a new store system before the Drop in March, as there should be no problems then. So, on December 30, we have signed the contract with Latori.
The fixed deadline was therefore the Drop in March, when everything had to work. We had planned to be ready one or two weeks before, so that we could still test the whole thing.
“Latori implemented it in 12 weeks. It was a tight schedule, but it worked out well.”
What arguments convinced you to switch to Shopify?
Riccardo Ballarino: We are managing another brand for Germany's largest Fashion-YouTuber. With this store we are already on Shopify. Therefore we are familiar with the system and the performance, so we wanted this for LFDY as well. It wasn't an easy decision because the store has already grown so much and so many other systems are already implemented so far, which made changing the system much more difficult. Currently, we also have to work with two systems.
Maksim Telkov: The Traffic-management was the key point. With our other Drops, we always had problems with too many orders or payments couldn't be transferred. With Shopify all these problems were all solved at once.
Using Shopware, we might have had to add a lot of server capacity, if we continued to grow. In the end, Shopify Plus is still the better solution.
Latori has realized the following services for LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG:
Data migration from the old store system (Shopware) to Shopify
- Customer data
- Bonus points
- Order histories
- Complete reconstruction of the store design
- Color change on product pages
- Coupons & gift ideas
- Additional Shopify apps
- Programming a feature for color change on detail pages
- Linking social media channels like Facebook and Instagram
“With Shopify, these problems were all solved at once.”
Which requirements did the Latori team solve for you?
Riccardo Ballarino: They added a feature, which allows users to switch between colors directly on the detail pages. Latori completely reprogrammed this for us. In addition, the entire old store was rebuilt with everything that goes with it, starting with returns, the apps, the complete translation of the store, coupons and gift ideas. Of course all the data had to be migrated, such as customer information, bonus points, order histories, etc.
Maksim Telkov: Our requirements catalog listed everything that our old store could do and what Shopify must be able to do, in other words, what Latori had to implement. Basically, it was a list based on 3 parts: The first block was design and functionality. How does a detail page look like and how should it look in Shopify? Then the features like swipe images, video buttons or tiles that show how a size turns out. The second block was about migration: what data must be available in Shopify, for example, customer information or bonus points. Finally, marketing. Here we wrote down everything that the old store could do and how it must look like in Shopify so that the customers won't notice any differences. Things like SEO, linking our Facebook channel or Instagram as a sales platform.
What did the collaboration with Latori look like?
Maksim Telkov: We had weekly calls, where we got together and the participants were determined by the topic. In addition, we had so-called resonating calls when our feedback was needed or to make sure that everything was implemented the way we wanted it to be. If something from our list of requirements could not be implemented, Latori suggested suitable alternatives. Apart from the calls, we had project management tool like Trello, which we used to communicate. Our project plan was in there.
How did you prepare your Drop in March - the technical and marketing side?
Riccardo Ballarino: It helped us a lot that we were already on Shopify a week before the Drop and could still test everything. We had a downtime of about two and a half to three days in which we got our bearings, because the system was new to us. Marketing-wise, we announced the Drop a week before on social media and teased some things.
We often don't have all the photo material until a week before the Drop, compared to big brands that know six months in advance when and which collection will be released.
In the last week, we start with posting, mainly on social media. In addition, we play the whole repertoire of online marketing: we have videos that we upload to YouTube, we run Google and social media ads, and we also do e-mail marketing.
Maksim Telkov: In addition, we use affiliates and also put up a password page just before the Drop, which adds to the hype temper. The biggest technical challenge is that we are still on two systems. Shopify is our pure sales channel, but everything that happens in the background, e.g. shipping, data evaluations, ERP processes is still handled by Shopware. This means that products always have to be created and maintained twice. We are still trying to solve this with one project.
„We had over 35,000 users..”
Was the Drop in March ultimately a success?
Maksim Telkov: You can say that technically and monetarily it was the smoothest Drop so far. We had over 35,000 users. It was our goal that this should be our biggest Drop.
Has the scarcity of collections been factored in, or is it simply impossible to estimate the actual number of units needed because of the enormous growth?
Riccardo Ballarino: I would say it was a mixture of both. Of course, we can't predict exactly which items will sell particularly well. With some products, perhaps only one color sells out very quickly, while the other color variants perform more slowly.
If we knew that precisely, we would probably adjust the quantities accordingly. But it's true that we also test our limits and see how certain things are received. Our Founder and Creative Director, Lorenz Amend, has a strong Instagram channel with more than 60,000 followers. When he posts something, we can see what the response is like and can draw conclusions from that.
If something goes particularly well, we consider whether to relaunch it in a different color or style.
Models, rappers or soccer players like to be photographed with LFDY clothes. Do you actively engage in influencer marketing or do the celebrities approach you?
It’s actually a mixture of both. But in the end, people buy the products, because they like the quality and they can identify with the brand. That's also the case with musicians or Youtubers who wear our stuff.
It has also helped us a lot that we also have stores - a point of sale, where you can experience the brand. That's where you're perceived differently. Even the celebrities ask us, "Can I stop by your store?" or "Can you send us something for the next music video?"
Then we look at it individually and then decide based on our guts. We don't actually do any influencer marketing in Germany. But it can happen that we proactively approach micro-influencers because we like their style and would like to see them in LFDY.
What does it take for a company to embrace the Drop strategy?
Maksim Telkov: I don't think it starts with the Drop. Before you do a Drop, you have to invest a tremendous amount in your brand before you have any success. You can see that with the big fashion houses, who also try capsule collections or drops every now and then, but they don't take off so much. That's certainly because they have very high quantities. But mostly because there's not such a strong connection to the brand. The kids identify themselves with LFDY, and that's what makes this kind of Drop work in the first place.
What does the future look like for LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG?
Maksim Telkov: The longlist is full. Now it's mainly about process-related issues. For example, we are currently building a new Instagram tool and preparing the store for its internationalization. We will definitely continue to work with Latori on this.
Riccardo Ballarino: We want to grow. We prefer to grow organically, but we also do a lot for it. The next step is internationalization. I think the brand works everywhere. We want to equip our online store with all the features that international trade requires. Starting with the right shipping service providers, currencies, multilingual help centers and, of course, content. We are also already working on Benelux and are testing a few marketing measures there. The next Drop will be this summer, and we're working on it every day.
We would like to thank Riccardo Ballarino and Maksim Telkov for the exciting interview! Would you also like to have your store project with Shopify implemented by an experienced and competent partner? Contact us today!.