In­tro­duc­ing The Scope

WWD Digital Daily - - News -

From fash­ion and de­sign jour­nal­ist Ali­cia Brunker, The Scope is a shop­pable ed­i­to­rial plat­form that aims to change the way Mil­len­ni­als dec­o­rate their homes.


De­sign-minded Mil­len­ni­als — who might be in the mar­ket to drop $50,000 on a cof­fee ta­ble — have a new on­line desti­na­tion, The Scope.

Launch­ing to­day from free­lance fash­ion/de­sign jour­nal­ist Ali­cia Brunker, the site is self-de­scribed as a “shop­pable ed­i­to­rial plat­form show­cas­ing de­sign from es­tab­lished and emerg­ing tal­ent” that is both an e-com­merce site mix­ing the likes of 1stdibs and The Line, and a mem­ber­ship club for de­sign­ers with an off-line, IRL com­po­nent.

Brunker, who has writ­ten for T Mag­a­zine, Ar­chi­tec­tural Di­gest, Elle and, yes, WWD, found her­self tran­si­tion­ing some­what nat­u­rally into de­sign sto­ries over the course of her free­lance ca­reer.

“More than fash­ion, I feel like it has a bit more sub­stance and it's more ev­er­last­ing, where the fash­ion cy­cle, it just goes so fast,” Brunker says. “I've been hear­ing this a lot from my de­sign­ers: one of them used to work in fash­ion and it's like, you put out a prod­uct, and in a six-month pe­riod it's al­ready over. With de­sign, it lasts for decades; peo­ple are still us­ing Hans Weg­ner chairs that are from the mid-cen­tury. That part re­ally in­trigued me: the his­tory, and then the time­less qual­ity.”

She also sees home de­sign as a more per­sonal form of self­ex­pres­sion.

“With fash­ion, you can ob­vi­ously ex­press your­self with what you wear, but I feel that your home is so much more per­sonal, be­cause you're liv­ing with these ob­jects ev­ery day,” Brunker says. “You're not just chang­ing in and out.”

The Scope's site is de­signed as a hy­brid be­tween an e-com­merce site and a shop­pable mag­a­zine. “When I'm read­ing Ar­chi­tec­tural Di­gest or Elle Dé­cor, you can't im­me­di­ately go and buy what's in the story,” she says. “I feel like the Edi­to­ri­al­ist has done this with fash­ion, Into the Gloss has done it with beauty and makeup, but there's noth­ing that re­ally ex­ists for the home mar­ket.”

The site launches with eight de­sign­ers, a mostly New York- based crew though Brunker hopes to ex­pand into Europe in the com­ing months. De­sign­ers get a proper pro­file on the site as well as lengthy de­scrip­tions for their goods — all copy is writ­ten by Brunker, done in the style of a fea­ture she might do for AD — and in ad­di­tion, the de­sign­ers are then mem­bers of The Scope's in-per­son net­work, which means they have ac­cess to dif­fer­ent talks, events, din­ner par­ties and pop-up shops that The Scope will cu­rate.

The events will con­sist of peo­ple both within the de­sign com­mu­nity and those in ad­ja­cent in­dus­tries, like fash­ion and art. “Peo­ple who are in fash­ion have beau­ti­ful homes and strong knowl­edge about ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign,” Brunker says. “[The goal is] cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity and more of a talk about what con­sti­tutes lux­ury. Look­ing be­yond aes­thet­ics is what I want to do with the prod­ucts, which is why we have the ed­i­to­rial de­scrip­tions for the prod­ucts.”

Her tar­get con­sumer is some­one in their 30s who has cul­ti­vated a sense of per­sonal style and wants to in­vest in fur­ni­ture or light­ing but is put off by the fancy show­room ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It's a happy medium be­cause you're not just blindly putting some­thing in your bag, in your shop­ping cart on­line. You have some con­text, and it re­places the con­ver­sa­tion that you would have in a show­room with a sales­per­son,” she says. “For me es­pe­cially, when I first started go­ing into de­sign I wanted to know ev­ery lit­tle de­tail, and I think they do, too. When they have some­thing in their home, if some­one com­ments on it, you have some­thing in­tel­lec­tual to say, and it gives it more of a story, like a piece of art that's hang­ing on the wall.”

Her back­ground as an ed­i­tor comes into play as to how she se­lects the de­sign­ers and which prod­ucts end up on the site.

“I want some­thing that's just not run-of-the-mill, mass pro­duced,” she says. Mem­ber­ship is of­fered at three dif­fer­ent lev­els, be­gin­ning at $5,000 an­nu­ally and ris­ing to $22,000.

The top-tier mem­bers re­ceive

The Scope's help at plan­ning an event ded­i­cated to their brand, with press and high-pro­file buy­ers in at­ten­dance, but all mem­bers re­ceive a pro­file on the site, in­vites to the events, and place­ment in The Scope's news­let­ter. It in ef­fect fills the role of a pub­li­cist for these emerg­ing de­sign­ers, who might not be able to pay re­tainer fees for a big agency.

“It's not a list­ing fee

— 1stdibs has a list­ing fee, and a main­te­nance fee, and all these dif­fer­ent hid­den fees. Where this is just up­front, this is what you're pay­ing, ev­ery­thing's in­clu­sive,” Brunker says.

The main mo­ti­va­tion for Brunker, though, is al­low­ing more niche de­sign­ers she has fallen for to have their work widely seen.

“No one knows about these amaz­ing de­sign­ers, and I think telling their story and show­ing their prod­ucts and the beauty is re­ally im­por­tant,” she says.

Erick­son Aes­thet­ics’sHalo Ta­ble.

Eny Lee Parker light­ing.

Items by Anna Kar­lin.

Chaise by Pause.

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