April 30, 2012, 3:18 PM

A pop culture site moves into e-commerce

Popdust is using social media stars to create a following and generate sales.

Lead Photo

A screenshot of Karmin on the Popdust Style site.

Popdust.com, a music and pop culture news site, is relying on the power of social media to spread word of Popdust Style, its e-commerce arm that opened for business last week.

Popdust recruited Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, better known as YouTube cover band Karmin, as its spokespeople for the launch. The products available on Popdust Style follow the duo’s hip fashion sense. The pair also recorded a four-minute YouTube video of them talking about and wearing the apparel, jewelry and accessories sold on the e-commerce site, Style.Popdust.com.

The Karmin-endorsed products will be available for a limited time, says David Hargis, vice president of business development at Popdust. He adds that videos and products associated with other pop stars will roll out later this year. 

Hagis says the one-year-old, venture-backed Popdust wants to channel the traffic that visits its news site to the e-commerce site, and that Karmin fit the profile of what Popdust’s audience is interested in. He says Popdust receives about 4 million page views per month.

“Karmin fits the Popdust profile very well,” he says. “They’re straight down the middle of what we focus on, and they have a specific style that their fans are interested in.” Hagis says Popdust also wanted to sell both men’s and women’s items, so the guy-girl duo fit that bill.

The video, called “Karmin Dressing Room,” is posted on YouTube, Popdust.com and on KarminMusic.com, the music group’s web site. Karmin also is posting messages about the video and the Popdust Style site on its Twitter feed—the duo has about 125,000 Twitter followers—and also its Facebook page, where the duo has generated more than 760,000 Likes.

Hargis says the first surges of traffic to the Popdust Style site last week came from Karmin fans and from Popdust.com visitors clicking over to the Style site. “Karmin is a big part of letting people know about the site. They are digital natives,” he says.

Popdust has a revenue-share agreement with Karmin for the products the musicians endorse in the video. Hargis says Popdust has drop-ship arrangements with most of its suppliers, which include DKNY Jeans and Steve Madden brands, but it also is carrying stock of some of the more unique, hand-crafted items sold on the site.

Consumers who want to access the site must register with an e-mail address. Hargis says visitors are registering at a high rate but did not provide details. He believes the arrangement with Karmin has a lot to do with that. “These are big fans of Karmin, and they trust the artist not to send them to a bad experience,” he says.

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