From marketing to pioneering the fashion world, Jimmy Chrabieh, CEO of Differio, reveals how he’s conquering the menswear industry with a vision that’s transforming men’s fashion. He discusses what it takes to rise above the cutthroat competition of online menswear.
- What inspired you to get involved in the menswear industry over any other business? Why not womenswear?
There was a big gap in menswear that no one was filling. We felt that men in general weren’t getting the clothing styles they deserved; clothing that’s a form of self-expression and makes a statement. Womenswear is already cluttered with this kind of trendy attire, but men’s fashion was being crowded with very plain and simple designs that you could find anywhere. We felt that men in general deserved clothing that’s fashionable, but also available at an affordable price range.
Men love fashion just like women, so why do we have to put them under this umbrella that menswear needs to boring? Especially with the rise of influencers on YouTube and Instagram, we noticed men are aware more than ever about the way they look and dress. They follow these influencers for style advice and even try to imitate what they’re wearing and where they’re buying their clothing.
- How do you differentiate Differio from all the other online stores?
Differio comes from the word “different”, which is our approach in everything we do. We sell fashion forward menswear that’s different, but we also strive to be different in all the other facets of our business. Whether it’s about trend projection, customer care or photography style, ultimately we’re creating a unique online experience for the customer that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Differio is famous for its unique independent designers. What criteria do you look for when you’re selecting brands?
We look for unique brands that are well crafted, sexy and affordable. Men are craving exclusivity, which is what they can’t get from clothing by mainstream brands. Most importantly, they must share our vision of thinking outside the box. We’ve actually been approached by some larger, well-known brands, but had to refuse them because they either didn’t fit our website or didn’t share them same vision.
- As a successful entrepreneur in Manhattan, how did your experience in marketing help make Differio the top online store?
Today marketing plays a major role in any successful business. After gaining over 20 years of experience in fashion marketing, it’s helped me understand consumer behavior across different cultures, demographics and psychographics. It’s all about creating a connection with the customer, which is so important for any online store, especially since you’re catering to consumers from literally all over the world.
- Your campaigns have gone viral and topped the news several times. What’s your secret for getting so much exposure?
Going out of the norm is always something that people are curious about and want to explore. We feed into their curiosity with different disruptive marketing strategies, like releasing shocking ads or products that people are excited to share. Most of these campaigns go viral because our consumers can identify with the message. There’s no need for big investments in paid marketing because these results come organically. It also helps that we’ve maintained a good relationship and open communication with the media and fashion industry by inviting them to photo shoots and updating them on news.
- You’re the first to introduce this fashion forward concept to the U.S. Were you ever afraid about the way consumers would react?
We knew from day one that we’re bringing something different to the country. Our market research has shown that U.S. customers are eager for fashion and art. While male Americans were boxed into traditional classic menswear, we discovered that they wanted more stylish choices that pushed boundaries. We wanted to be pioneers in the fashion industry, which is the main reason we’re based in New York City – the fashion capital.
We also try to connect with our customers in the U.S. by using famous faces and models that hail from different parts of American life. We’ve had military models, fitness models, and boxers – to name a few – that our customers can identify with and look up to them as role models.
- We know it’s not smooth sailing for every successful start-up. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced since launching Differio?
New York City is not just a concrete jungle. It’s a fashion jungle. You’ll find hundreds of global brands trying to make it out there. It was a challenge for us to get started and make our mark in this amazing city, especially when you’re up against hundreds of designers during New York Fashion Week. It’s difficult to gain notoriety in a city where everyone is hungry for the same goal. However, with a big dream and unwavering devotion for our team, we made it happen. We’ve marked our territory not only in NYC, but also all over the U.S. Today we cater to people all over the globe from Washington D.C. to Germany.
- Now that you’re leading the fashion forward menswear industry, do you ever worry about copycats?
When businesses are trying to copy you, it’s a sign of success. We’re already seeing a lot of websites trying to imitate our ideas from our fashion campaigns to the way we do business. Nevertheless, uniqueness and originality runs in our blood. They can copy you, but they can’t be you.