The trend for ultra-influencers and luxury names to launch ‘direct to consumer’ brands is fuelling growth at North East-based international ecommerce agency Fostr.
The business has doubled in size for the second year running, and is set to push through the £2m turnover barrier and further expand its 32-strong workforce.
This year has seen the team deliver ecommerce experiences for a raft of new brands launched by global luxury, fashion and beauty names including Victoria Beckham, Kendall Jenner and Millie Bobby Brown.
Headquartered at North Shields Fish Quay, Fostr was founded by design director Ryan Foster and specialises in providing consultancy, design and development services to a global client base.
The business is a leading specialist partner agency to one of the world’s biggest ecommerce platforms, Shopify Plus, and has recently launched its first headless commerce project utilising the very latest web technologies. Headless commerce is where the frontend, or presentation layer, of a website can be decoupled from the back, or functional, end which makes developments such as launching new stores faster and provides more a more flexible architecture.
This year has seen staff numbers at Fostr increase from 18 to 32, along with a recruitment push to fill designer, developer and project manager roles, which include benefits such as unlimited holidays and the opportunity to travel to work on site with Fostr’s global client base.
Recent projects include working with designer Victoria Beckham’s team in New York to launch Victoria Beckham Beauty, a new luxury beauty and cosmetics line, which was revealed in September. The work was won on the back of Fostr’s creation of a new ecommerce site for the Victoria Beckham fashion brand last summer, which takes a mobile first approach and offers features such as accelerated mobile checkout, shop the look, pre-ordering, video and multi-currency global shipping.
Los Angeles-based brand incubator Beach House Group has also commissioned Fostr to work on several new brand launches, including the new MOON oral care brand, launched with American model and media personality Kendall Jenner. MOON is looking to redefine oral care using beautiful design and ‘better for you’ ingredients. To echo this brand ambition the online store combines a stunning mobile-first black and white design with seamless user experience to deliver a new standard in oral beauty.
The second of the Beach House projects awarded to Fostr is the launch of actor and teen entrepreneur Millie Bobby Brown’s new ‘florence by mills’ skincare and beauty brand aimed at a Gen Z audience. The cruelty-free and vegan-friendly range, which is the young actor’s first move into the beauty industry, was launched with an ecommerce website designed and developed by Fostr. It includes features such as a virtual try on option powered by Snapchat, and a beauty quiz to help guide buyers on product selection.
Design director Ryan Foster said: “The last 18 months has seen us achieve some fantastic growth in the global luxury beauty and fashion sector, where online is transforming the retail landscape.
“It is no exaggeration to say that Fostr is fast becoming the agency of choice for high profile, ultra-influencer direct to consumer brands, and that is a testament to the expertise and hard work of our team.
“Brands have been quick to tap into the rise of influencers and their use of social media channels such as Instagram. What we are seeing now is ultra-influencers developing and launching their own brands.
“These influencers bring with them a massive fan base keen to buy the products created or endorsed by their idols. Strategy, design and development for such high profile individuals and brands requires consideration and for us to deliver exceptional ecommerce experiences for their customers.
“Our job is to continuously anticipate what the buyer wants and use the latest technology tools and techniques to deliver it.
“We are very pleased at having exceeded our targets and doubled the size of the business again this year but more importantly, helped our clients to launch new brands and achieve phenomenal growth from both new and existing business models.”