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Delectant Customer Spotlight 2016-09-22T06:42:29+00:00

DelectantTM

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Delectant is a luxury lifestyle publishing, commerce and production ecosystem which uses Avada on each of its flagship online properties. We caught up with Delectant’s founder and CEO Len D. Henry to learn a little more about his business and how Avada fits into the overall mix.

Delectant

Introducing Len D. Henry

Q: Your bio lists an impressive range of contributions across several fields: Entrepreneur, Creative Director, Founder, on-air fashion guru and much more. What do you personally prefer to be best known for?

Much as I dislike the word “veteran” – it sounds old and I try not to be old thinking! – it also indicates years and years of experience so: veteran fashion, events and video producer / Founder of Delectant™.

Q: What’s been your biggest challenge as a founder?

The biggest challenge in building Delectant has been raising financing. It’s that way with any big idea, though it’s clearly easier with tangible gadgets and technology. Delectant is not a gadget. It’s a service, offered through employing new technology.

My colleagues and I strive to convince investors that Delectant is the next big thing and prove to them, without bankrupting ourselves, that it’s everything it promises to be.

But investors want guarantees, you have to be seen to be making money to acquire their investment. That’s a Catch-22 situation because you need their investment in order to make money to prove it to them. I haven’t met the investor who goes fully with his gut yet, or who’s willing to write a cheque just because they like me.

So, as the CEO, I have to keep our existing content contributors committed while we’re looking for funding and keep finding people who can source additional content, all while keeping the site looking beautiful. I also have to find ways of monetizing it while courting investors – it’s a lot of personalities and roles to juggle on any given day.

Exploring the Delectant Empire

Q: Delectant has a lot of irons in the fire. You’re successfully tackling a valuable segment of the market from several angles simultaneously: Delectant.com from the consumer side and Delectant.net on the services and production side. How would you describe the relationship between the two entities?

Delectant is the parent company, the legal entity that handles all negotiations and contracts. It is a service-driven enterprise providing both the public and industry with innovative technologies and methodologies to feed and fire consumer/brand engagement.

Delectant.net is the industry-facing production arm. Naturally, production has to be in the mix since this is my background and the basis of many existing client relationships.

Delectant.net gives our contributors the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with brands and marketers to create content from top to bottom within their area of expertise.

Delectant.com’s mission is to become an eCommerce-enabled, interactive media portal delivering comprehensive lifestyle coverage, bespoke products and expertise for discerning consumers.

The website’s ease of use, design aesthetic and functionality are all positioned and integrated to elevate market appeal for partners and users.

Bringing Fashion to Life with Living Editorials

Q: Delectant is famous for its “living editorial” take on fashion films. It’s an approach which has attracted praise both online and offline. How much of a new departure for the industry do you think it represents?

Having been a successful fashion show and event producer for several years, I was looking for a new challenge. I had also produced a number of award-winning music videos, where clothing was very much a part of the storytelling.

The idea came to me to flip the script and put fashion in front. It was an idea light years ahead of its time. I’m actually still told today by potential investors that it’s a smart idea. A NYC-based marketing colleague recently told me that it’s only now that the majority of designers are earnestly looking for alternative means to promote themselves via video.

When the initial idea came about, unbeknownst to me, the big designers around the world were also sensing a need to find new ways – away from catwalks – to present their clothes. “Living editorials”, or Fashion Films, became a hot trend.

Designers like Chanel and Prada have all made films with huge budgets and new versions are popping up every day. However, the industry still hasn’t found the ideal way to employ the video medium and fully maximize its potential. Many are still grappling with what fashion promotion will look like in the future – translating the live runway to online.

With the rapid advancement of technology, the world is opening up, borders are blurring, and we’re quickly becoming one. Everyone in fashion and lifestyle is seeking out ways to lessen their focus on audience-restrictive live events.

The Fashion Film was the birth of our effort to address this area. Video is now the most popular online means to tell brand stories. The journey continues. I trust Delectant will remain a pioneer in that movement going forward.

The Heart of the Delectant Message

Q: The Delectant strapline – Discover. Desire. Deserve – is an alluring one. What do you take it personally to mean?

Thank you! We like it as well. Delectant’s target market is luxury-seeking men and women. However, not the kind of luxury that is so exclusive that most feel they cannot be a part of it i.e. not just the top 1%.

Lifestyle marketers today promote ‘luxury’ at every step. But what is it really? For us, luxury is a way to pamper yourself for all your hard work. Everybody wants to feel good. They want products and experiences they know are the best they can afford.

So the Delectant offering defines our mandate through our strapline promises:

  • Discover: products and experiences that our experts know or have tried themselves and have chosen, via Delectant, to share with users for their personal enjoyment.
  • Desire: to feel good, to indulge yourself, to gift yourself special moments.
  • Deserve: to enjoy luxury without guilt or fear because you are worth it.

Q: As a concept, a brand and an online hub, how big can Delectant be?

If I gave you too much detail about our strategy, I’d have to kill you! Suffice it to say, Delectant will be global.

Developing, Designing and Delivering With Delectant.net

Q: There’s an impressive list of blue-chip Delectant.net clients on your site including BMW, Converse and Cosmopolitan. What do you think makes for a great Delectant.net clients

Our corporate mission is to establish Delectant™ as an accessible, tasteful and trustworthy resource for the discovery, promotion, and distribution of Luxury Life/Style products and experiences that inspire, reward and enrich lives.

So, all our clients – and even those suppliers we choose to promote within in our database – must represent products or services that make people’s lives better. If we are to be a resource that is trustworthy, what we say and the luxuries we promote must always be authentic and never misleading.

We know we’ll build greater consumer and industry confidence if we are able to boldly stand behind our word. We will turn away business that does not meet the standard we have set in order to maintain our concept of a luxury experience.

Q: There’s also a range of previous high-profile Delectant.net projects online across an impressive array of media. Which ones gave you the most personal satisfaction to be involved with? What projects should people be looking out for from Delectant.net in 2015/2016?

There have been so many: brand direction for Jamaica’s 50 Anniversary and our coverage of The Toronto International Film Festival (sponsored by Tiger of Sweden) spring to mind.

In fact, not all of our recent work is on Delectant.net yet. There just hasn’t been time to update.

We’re covering TOM*FW (Toronto Men’s Fashion Week) this year hosted by the incredible Canadian Supermodel beauty Yasmin Warsame in partnership with Sapporo Beer and Tiger of Sweden.

We’ll also be covering the Toronto International Film Festival in September, hosted by our genius Harvard PhD. Film and Art Critic Meraj Dhir. And then there’s World Mastercard Fashion Week in October, again hosted by Ms. Warsame.

We also have a number of online video series in development, details of which we cannot really disclose at the moment.

What Does Avada Bring to Delectant?

Q: The two main Delectant sites are currently powered by WordPress and the Avada theme. What made you plump for Avada as a theme solution and WordPress as a platform?

In my search for the ideal solution, I examined several themes closely and rejected ten times more just on initial impressions. When I found Avada it was a true eureka moment. It was immediately apparent the interface had been developed with great care and taste. Avada has it!

I went ahead and set up Delectant.com using it. I love technology but am a luddite when it comes to coding. I needed a theme that was beautiful out of the box, made setting up the site easy and integrated video well.

I also soon discovered how courteous and helpful Avada support was. There were plenty of additional options available with Avada which, while not initially needed on Delectant.com, I knew would be extremely useful on our other sites.

Eventually I got rid of the themes I already had and got Avada for all my sites. It just made sense. Avada to this day remains the best theme going, hands down.

Pre-Avada, I had done some poking around and learned that WordPress was our best option for its blogging capabilities and extendibility via plugins.

Delectant is really a magazine platform setup so all main pages update with each new post. Our contributors are able to go in and set up their posts themselves. We then finalize, post and distribute.

WordPress works well for us. I learned recently that Mashable – the extremely successful tech site – runs on WordPress too so we’re in good company!

Q: All of the Delectant sites naturally rely heavily on high-quality video and imagery. How did Avada help you showcase your content?

Avada wins hands down on design. Its minimalist look and highly customizable options make for a neutral canvas that enables the media content to pop.

The site’s visual look therefore evolves consistently, changing everyday, as new content is introduced. Each time a user visits the site, they can potentially have a completely different experience. This keeps them coming back. Avada is about subtle design and integration, not overpowering and cheapening your content.

I was initially drawn to Avada because, in addition to it being tastefully designed, it was the only theme I was able to find that was capable of embedding video as Featured Images – and doing it well.

I’ve since learned that third-party content cannot be cached and have opted now to use still images we self-host instead of videos. This facilitates a faster site load. We might revert when we enter development/customization of Avada for our larger future site. We may end up self-hosting our in-house media to avoid future caching issues.

Q: Is there a particular Avada feature that made it stand out for either the design or development teams?

Video of course, the minimalism, but the responsive capabilities and possibilities for mobile were also key. More people access the web via mobile today than ever before. It’s crucial to have just as great an experience on your phone or tablet as on desktop.

And Finally…

Q: Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to a young creative person and recommend one book to read, what would they be?

One thing I advocate to any young creative person is to always be original. I have found many times over the course of my production years, and even now while building Delectant, that originality is key.

Whenever I seek out inspiration, borrow, combine ideas, or allow myself to be talked into something not me, the outcomes are never as good. The only truly unique thing you can bring to a project or instance is you. Believe in you.

One other bugbear I have – and this may be a bone of contention with many millennials – is their lack of commitment to hard work and their sense of entitlement. I’ve seen a few headlines lately on why they’re getting fired. Many millennials must change their work ethic or they will fail. Doing the due diligence, working hard and applying some real stick-to-it-ness can only lead to success.

When it comes to books, I haven’t read it yet but one recent book recommended to me was Buyology: Truth and Lies About What We Buy by Martin Lindstrom. It’s a look at what truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world, a subject close to my heart.

Conclusion

We’d like to extend a hearty thanks to Len for taking the time to give us such detailed responses to our questions and for his continued support of Theme Fusion products.

The Delectant sites are each wonderful examples of how Avada can be used to deliver top-tier design and usability at an incredibly reasonable price point. After decades successfully working at the top end of the fashion, video and design industries, Len’s standards are extremely high and we’re delighted Avada has managed to meet his expectations.

Delectant

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