4/17/12

Justin Timberlake, e-retail home decorator?

The singer and actor is the latest celebrity to promote BeachMint.

Allison Enright , Editor

Justin Timberlake, the actor, singer and former boy band star, is using his fame to help promote the latest e-commerce venture from BeachMint Inc.—the latest example of how online retailers are seeking out celebrity star power.

HomeMint.com, scheduled for a launch later this spring, will sell home decor products selected by Timberlake and his interior designer, Estee Stanley. Home goods and accessories will be sold under the HomeMint brand. The site will also sell art and photography.

HomeMint.com will operate a differently than other BeachMint sites, which offer subscribers products matched to their stated style preferences on a monthly basis and where all products carry the same price. BeachMint says consumers who subscribe to HomeMint.com will pay a monthly fee to access the site’s member-only pricing. BeachMint did not immediately say what the monthly fee is or what prices the products will typically have.

"HomeMint is a natural addition to our family of brands,” says BeachMint president Diego Berdakin. “BeachMint's social commerce experience is about personalization and curation and there is nothing more personal than a customer's home."

BeachMint’s celebrity-infused e-retail sites include JewelMint.com, with actress Kate Bosworth; BeautyMint.com, with singer Jessica Simpson; and ShoeMint.com, with actress Rachel Bilson. Internet Retailer editors selected JewelMint.com, which sells jewelry, to be included in its Hot 100 list, an annual compilation of the most innovative e-retailers. Order your copy of this special issue here.

The Timberlake announcement comes amid a similar one today from LuxeYard.com, a flash sale site for luxury home furnishings and décor, which said it has added Giuliana Rancic to its roster of celebrities that recommend products for the site. Rancic is an entertainment journalist and reality TV personality who is married to the first winner of “The Apprentice” TV show hosted by Donald Trump; the couple has its own reality TV show as well. LuxeYard.com launched in January.

Also this week, UsTrendy.com, an online fashion marketplace that lets designers sell their products directly to consumers, said it was working with singer and actress Jennifer Lopez to promote a style contest. Lopez is promoting the contest via her Facebook and Twitter accounts, and on her personal web site. Lopez last year began selling a Jennifer Lopez Collection apparel line at Kohl’s stores and online. Kohl’s Corp. is No. 31 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. And last month, The Honest Company, an e-commerce site that sells organic baby projects on a subscription basis, announced it had raised $27 million in funding. Actress Jessica Alba is the site’s co-founder and president.

Celebrities can be a double-edged sword for companies that work with them, says Nikki Baird, managing partner at research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC. “It's great visibility [for a retailer], especially when the synergy is there—when the celebrity behaves and has a brand that has a lot in common with what the company is trying to establish,” she says. But dependence on celebrities also carries risk, she says, noting how companies rushed to cut their association with golfer Tiger Woods in 2009 after his extramarital affairs became public.

Topics:

BeachMint, BeautyMint.com, branding, Diego Berdakin, e-commerce and celebrities, Giuliana Rancic, home decor, HomeMint.com, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, JewelMint.com, Justin Timberlake, LuxeYard.com, NewsMakers, Nikki Baird, Retail Systems Research, ShoeMint.com, The Honest Company, UsTrendy.com, web-only retailers

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