Burda Style (formerly: Burda Moden, Burda World of Fashion) is a fashion magazine published in 16 different languages and in over 89 countries by Hubert Burda Media. Today Hubert Burda Media publishes over 250 magazines worldwide with almost 70 titles in its German home market. The portfolio ranges from women, fashion and entertainment (Burda Moden, InStyle, ELLE), news, men and lifestyle (FOCUS, Max, Playboy), food and living, to consumer technology. Each issue of Burda Fashion contains patterns for each design in the issue.
As most brands have been trying to figure out how to fit into the spaces of social media, Burda began innovating since 2007 by building a social networking platform around its brand.
BurdaStyle caters to domestic sewers and fashion hobbyists by providing a platform to share and exchange ideas about sewing projects. Members can upload images of completed projects and give other network members advice, as well as share patterns and instructions.
Burda started out 60 years ago as a publication and pattern maker catering to domestic crafters and sewers. Based on providing sewing tips, projects and patterns, the publication aged and styles started losing steam as time went by.
As a means to rejuvenate the craft of sewing to a different generation, Burda began researching how to cater to a new audience. With the coming of age of the ‘domestic designer’, websites such as Etsy, Craftster and Ravelry were a reflection of the kind of interest and market potential that existed for the Burda brand.
“We began looking at the behaviors of crafters and makers and revealed that they spend a lot of time alone and have no outlet of reaching out to other sewing enthusiasts for advice” said Nora Abousteit the Founder of the BurdaStyle. With this in mind, the idea to develop a destination catering to sewers and makers blossomed, and Burda began working on a place where sewers could share projects, tips, advice and gain knowledge within the world of sewing.
To add value to the network, Burda removed the copyright to the company’s patterns, which allowed an open source-sewing platform. This means that members have access to download free patterns for projects highlighted on the site. By being open source, Burda encourages members to take and alter the patterns and share them back with other members. By encouraging this sort of user generated content, the network holds real value as its an abundant resource that keeps members engaged.
Now 340,000 members strong and attracting a global audience, the site connects independent designers and democratizes fashion for all.
“ The member and participation model for BurdaStyle has grown very organically, we never concerned ourselves over impressions but focused on targeting and attracting passionate users as a means to guarantee devotees to the site. We knew that it was the quality of users that would make BurdaStyle a success it is today,” said Nora Abousteit.
Burda recognized that if it was going to become culturally relevant it needed to connect with the type of users who were already innovating themselves within crafting and sewing spaces.
BurdaStyle began strategic outreach to crafting bloggers, as even the emerging, pre-2007 bloggers (who are now power users on BurdaStyle) still provided a sounding board for the network and gave input from site function ability to crafting trends.
As the network gains growth, BurdaStyle is starting the next phase of optimizing the network for revenues. Because of the initial strategic approach in attracting passionate sewing enthusiasts, each of these members is a strong candidate in being a potential customer for notions brands.
BurdaStyle is starting to work with other sewing and notions brands in providing a platform for ‘conversational advertising’ . What this means is that rather than just selling ad space on the network, BurdaStyle is creating initiatives for brands to directly speak to the network members. Whether it is creating contests, being an advisory board for more novice sewers or sponsoring projects, notions brands getting involved with BurdaStyle have the ability to create lasting word of mouth engagement.