Social and Commerce: Knitting Grandmothers Go Digital

Over the last few years, everything has become social: the web, media – and commerce. The core element of social commerce is communication and recommendation among customers via social networks. Just as important is the individual and direct relationship between buyer and maker.

Katie Mowat started her own social commerce company, and achieved what many thought would be impossible: to connect with a traditionally ‘offline’ section of society – grandmothers!. Her firm, Grannies Inc., offers the opportunity to design your own knitwear. You then select a British granny, who will knit your customised garment.

For Mowat, social commerce “refers more to being human than to being digital”. The application ‘Design your own’ is merely a tool enabling anyone to design clothes themselves. Furthermore it automatically transforms the design into a knitting pattern. But the technology is not the point. What’s important is the relationship between the customer and the knitting granny – and, of course, buying a product that is hand-made rather than mass-produced.

In her talk at NEXT Berlin, Mowat also gave the audience an insight into the future of fashion. In the beginning, she designed and sold whole collections of knitwear in her shop. “But today 96% of the people, who purchase from us, design their own,” she explained. Therefore she plans to drop the collections she designed in order to boost sales on Grannies Inc.

Based on her own business success, she comes to the same conclusion as other NEXT speakers (e.g. by Mary Huang, Philip Rooke). Niches and customisation will play an important role in the future of fashion – as well as social commerce.