Irish entrepreneur on how Kim Kardashian changed his business...
In the world of digital marketing 'influencers' (bloggers and celebrities with large followings) rule the roost and there are few bigger than Kim Kardashian West (93.5 million Instagram followers - 50 million on Twitter - 29.8 million on Facebook).
Brands pay millions to be associated with the reality TV star - an Irish start-up recently experienced the power of her pull first hand.
Kim and Kanye photographed on Valentines Day
She was spotted out and about with her husband, Kanye West, on Valentines Day in New York in a velvet black maxi skirt sourced from Open For Vintage - an Irish specialist shopping app.
"We had triple digit growth in terms of our traffic numbers on the site - sale numbers have rocketed - enquiries have rocketed. The number of people who want to sell on the site has rocketed," co-founder James Loftus told Bobby Kerr on Down to Business, reflecting on the Kardashian-effect.
Open For Vintage is a curated vintage shopping app and website, which brings stock from Europe's top vintage sellers together in an online marketplace which can be searched by trend and era.
He recalls his two business partners Sarah Byrne and Colin Saunders chatting about the frustration of searching for pre-loved fashion after Sarah countered a problem while shopping: "She'd be traipsing around London to 50 different stores," and wondered, "Why were these shops not selling online?"
The Irish trio soon got to work trying to answer this question:
"We had conceived a problem set. By speaking to these people [top vintage retailers] we really honed the problem set and figured out what the problems were and why these guys were not selling online."
"Primarily we are a technology company," Mr Loftus told Newstalk. Open for Vintage developed a selling platform and also provided support for businesses who hadn't sold online before - making it the go-to digital "middleman" for Europe's top vintage stores.
Having a large database of rare and unique items has made the service a favourite for high-profile stylists.
When one contacted the company asking for 50 items from across Europe to be shipped to LA in 48 hours for a fitting for Kim, it was "all hands on deck."
They managed to meet the dealdline and she took two pairs of sunglasses and the velvet dress off of their hands.