Born on the festival circuit in the hip and artistic Australian city of Melbourne, Quay is driven to create truly affordable sunnies for free thinking individuals with fearless style. As part of Wunderkind’s latest partner spotlight, we spoke to the epitome of Quay’s mission, Tennessee Dye, who also happens to be their Global Digital Marketing Manager.
Guided by Quay’s more than 14 years building a passionate customer base and unmatched approach to creating innovative influencer collaborations, we sat down with Tennessee to discuss everything from emerging influencer trends to her favorite burrito spot in San Francisco.
Wunderkind: Let’s start with the fun things. I know, before Quay, you had been living in NY for awhile. But, as you know, Quay’s offices are in San Francisco. What brought you to the west coast?
Tennessee Dye: I did, I lived in NY for almost 10 years and really loved it while I was there. But, basically, I needed a change. I always wanted to live in California so I took a leap. I literally packed up my things and moved to the city without a job lined up and only knowing a couple people.
Luckily enough, I was able to get a job at Quay. It was serendipitous in the way it was able to come together for me. I had originally moved to San Francisco for the way of life, but ended up with a great job too.
BX: I really love hearing stories like that. I was actually able to do a similar thing, moving to San Francisco on a short notice, but did have the safety net of doing it within my company at the time. In addition to us, I’m sure a lot of readers have lived in The Bay, so let’s try to settle a debate. What’s the best burrito style, California or regular?
TD: When I can get to the mission favorite burrito from the city is definitely from La Taqueria. When I’m there, I prefer to get the regular style instead of California*.
**Side note: The Mission is a neighborhood in southern San Francisco that, while also being known for having a hipster subculture, is also synonymous with not just the best burritos in the city but also the best in the entire United States. A California style burrito differs from regular styles by replacing rice and beans with french fries.
BX: When you’re not enjoying a burrito what are your favorite things to do in SF? Or even, what are some favorite day or weekend trips from the city?
TD: It’s funny, because I’ve been here for 3.5 years and I’ve never been to Tahoe, which I feel like so many people do here all the time. But one of my favorite things to do is to take a trip to Calistoga, stay up there for the weekend, and go up to the hot springs.
Beyond that, honestly in San Francisco you can drive 30 minutes in any direction and it will be really cool. There are day hikes everywhere, which I really love. I’ve started getting into floral design recently and because of this I’ve been taking trips to San Francisco’s flower market. It’s one of the best in the country, so I really love to go and talk to the vendors there and get any materials I might need. It’s an amazing thing to do in SF. It isn’t exclusive, literally anyone can go in and the vendors are always happy to talk to people.
BX: Ok, let’s switch things up a bit and get more into your day-to-day goals and overall strategies at Quay because they’re really interesting. One thing that you’ve mentioned previously as being a focal point for Quay’s marketing strategy is collaborations with influencers. Could you touch on the different strategies behind collaborations and influencer marketing and how they relate to Quay’s 2020 goals?
TD: Of course. One thing to keep in mind with the strategy for working with collaborators and influencers is to make sure they help you to diversify your customer base. At Quay, we’re focused on millenials and growing our Gen Z audience, and a lot of our marketing strategy definitely addresses that. But the great thing about collaborations is that they can really open the demographics for us beyond this so that we’re expanding our customer base to continually bring on with more customers. So when thinking about collaborations and working with influencers it’s a balancing act. It’s important to diversify our customer base, as we maintain constant communications with our current customers so that they turn into lifetime brand advocates.
BX: To dive into this topic in a little more detail, what are some of the emerging trends within the realm of influencer marketing that you see taking hold right now? And, in this regard, are there any trends you feel will emerge or grow in importance as we move further into the 20s?
TD: So, one thing that we’re noticing is that the influencer space is becoming quite crowded and, because of this, has tiered itself into multiple different levels.
What I mean by levels is that with influencers you have the lower-, medium-, and high-level influencer depending on their reach or their sway with your target audience. Each level comes with its own set of challenges, opportunities, and surprises.
One thing we see happening in the future is these influencers needing to continually evolve because the social platforms they make their livelihood on are constantly changing or being updated with new regulations—not to mention the emergence of new platforms. All of this essentially guarantees a strategy change as they shift to meet the culture.
BX: Let’s keep these forward-looking glasses on here and discuss what you feel will be the biggest opportunities for Quay Australia moving into the new decade?
TD: We launched blue light glasses, which block harmful (blue) HEV light from computer screens, in August of 2018 and we have continued to grow that category and broaden our offerings. Moving forward, I think that this will continue to be a huge opportunity for us going forward. Our focus is definitely looking at how we can expand our product offerings, build out long standing ones, and really ensure that we have a range of products that support our customers year-round to support our customers year-around.
BX: When thinking about these opportunities, how do you see them aligning, or even differing, with the eCommerce and online industry as a whole?
TD: With the rise of the direct-to-consumer business model across industries, we’re continually trying to expand our approach on how we deepen the relationship with our customers. We utilize an omnichannel strategy and this is where we differ from other DTC brands—we’ve opened 10 standalone Quay Stores and will be opening additional locations this year. From my perspective, meeting our customer where they’re at, whether it’s online or in-store, will be a big opportunity industry-wide.
BX: Continuing with this idea of deepening relationships, as you are doing with wholesales, how has identification helped you really deepen relationships with your customers or site visitors?
TD: For site visitors and new users the identification capabilities that we’ve seen by using Wunderkind have been critical to us. Once we get the email we’re immediately able to start a conversation and figure out what they might from us. This helps us not only avoid sending the wrong messaging but also helps us to run testing. We’re truly able to see what new and existing users want to see from us, which has greatly impacted our ROI.
BX: And, to wrap it up here, how has email played into the strategy you mentioned above how are you planning to use it into the new year?
TD: With Wunderkind, email has been a channel for us that we have seen continued growth. I know in the industry, I hear that a lot of people will see fewer and fewer returns with this channel, but we’re seeing continued growth. So it’s something that we try to continue to test with existing and new customers around not just what messaging they want to receive, but how they want to experience it and how we can drive them to make those purchasing actions.