3.5 minutes

Halston is one of the first retailers to have joined a new social marketplace, Orme, which launched in April 2024 and works similarly to TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Apparel brand Halston has entered the TikTok arena. But ” the story becomes: where will TikTok be heading?” Ken Downing, creative director for the retailer, told Digital Commerce 360. “It’s certainly a big conversation.”

A potential TikTok ban would have an impact on how ecommerce retailers sell and their social media marketing strategies. In Halston’s case, Downing said, the retailer’s customer base is much more involved on Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. Halston is also one of the first retailers to have joined a new social marketplace, Orme, which launched in April 2024 and works similarly to TikTok and Instagram Reels.

A key difference separating Orme from TikTok and Instagram Reels is that Orme focuses on selling products, whereas the other two platforms’ content is not necessarily product-driven. Moreover, Orme users can buy those products directly from videos, without navigating to a different part of the app or using an in-app browser that opens upon clicking a link.

Ken Downing, left, creative director at apparel brand Halston, shows one of the retailer's dresses with a model in a video on the Orme app.

Ken Downing, left, creative director at apparel brand Halston, shows one of the retailer’s dresses with a model in a video on the Orme app.

“The young consumer really understands shopping with mobile,” Downing told Digital Commerce 360. “Their phone is always in their hand, they’re always shopping and looking for new brands. … They want something that’s going to be fun and something that makes the shopping experience super exciting, and Orme’s doing that.”

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Downing is also chief creative officer of Xcel Brands. Xcel owns Halston, as well as other brands including Longaberger, Judith Ripka and more. Xcel Brands CEO Robert D’Loren is one of the co-founders of Orme.

Orme marketplace differs from other social media

“What’s interesting about Orme is that it’s a very different way of shopping than if you’re being marketed from Instagram,” Downing said. “And because, unlike Instagram, you can certainly share a post with somebody, but you can’t shop directly from Instagram. It takes you to your website.”

He adds that Orme allows consumers to make income based on what they share on the app.

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“Someone can pick up [that] content and share it on Instagram or any social network or platform,” D’Loren told Digital Commerce 360 in a separate interview. That user gets paid 2%. The person who shared it gets 6%. “That’s how this whole thing works.”

Although it’s still early, Downing said he feels “very safe within the world of Orme that we are protected as a brand.”

Orme has launched with seven merchants and more than 1,000 users who downloaded the app in its first week without using any email campaigns, D’Loren said in a recent Xcel Brands earnings call with investors.

Xcel launched Orme as “a joint venture with a technology company in which Xcel owns a 30% interest in this new video and social commerce marketplace,” D’Loren told investors on the call.

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