Moxsie: On a Journey of Discovery

Palo Alto, Calif.–based e-tail Web site Moxsie ( is tapping into consumers’ sense of discovery by showcasing independent, up-and-coming designers.

Moxsie launched its e-commerce platform in December 2008. “We knew there was this potent category of indie fashion fueled by independent boutiques,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Fahrner. “The shift that happened with the economy forced many boutique shoppers to cut back on travel and do a lot of their product hunting online.”

Dealing with fresh, new designers is a welcome change for Fahrner, who spent a number of years working with larger brands as a senior buyer at “We feel that lots of people value discovery,” Fahrner said. “It’s about these designers who really deserve to be seen.”

The commonality of the brands on Moxsie is found in the stories they each have to tell. Moxsie’s layout allows for each designer’s bio and story behind their line to sit next to their products when shopping. One example of a story that Fahrner shared involved a Laguna Beach, Calif.–based designer, Anton Brandt, who traveled to Shanghai, China, and discovered the footwear worn by local workers. Brandt developed the shoe into The People’s Shoe, a vulcanized sneaker line, using the local footwear as a prototype.

“We want to be underground but be approachable,” Fahrner said. “It’s not about excluding people; it’s about finding unique things. Sometimes it’s all about the runway, but no one wears runway fashion, and the whole point about fashion is to wear it. We’re not consciously limiting our price points.”

Moxsie further pledges to give back by not only supporting fledgling designers but also donating a portion of sales to charity, according to Fahrner. Moxsie customers can choose to donate a portion of their purchase to one of eight causes. “We felt we would be true to the spirit of indie designers and customers if we also supported causes,” Fahrner said.

Standouts currently selling on Moxsie include a line of cutting-edge dresses, tops and leggings adorned with studs and hardware by Orange County, Calif.–based Dustie Doll; luxe T-shirt and knitwear line Tt Collection, based in Los Angeles; and hoodies featuring cute, whimsical prints by San Francisco–based Loyal Army.

According to Fahrner, 60 percent of Moxsie’s traffic comes, in part, from fashion blogs. Traffic has grown to more than 10 times what it was in January 2009, and Fahrner projects that by December 2009, traffic will reach several hundred thousand visitors per month.—Connie Cho