STYLE101.COM, TORONTO, CANADA, NEW YORK CITY, USA
We were told, in 1998, that online retail will never happen. I joined the Internet Resource Group as a Partner in 1996, at the vanguard of a medium that would profoundly change the world. Naysayers said it was a fad, and now that we Google from our pockets, that sentiment seems ancient.
Back then we had to convince banks, suppliers and vendors that our idea to build an online store was sound, but having already built some of Canada’s first websites, we had credibility. Style101 was born on a business trip to New York City - the shops in the Village and Soho were full of unique merchandise we knew was not available really anywhere else. In NYC we spoke to several of the designers and manufacturers and also found warehousing and distribution from New Jersey.
I developed the brand identity and Tom worked on the digital and logistics for online commerce and shipping - at a very early time on the internet. In many ways we were too far ahead of the curve, but Style101 was first love story. I would usually do the design at night, sometimes around the clock, and meet with Tom in the days. It got us international attention and was the catalyst for bigger digital opportunities for us, with a lot of learning that has informed me throughout my career.