Barneys New York is getting into the podcast business. On Monday, the luxury department store announced it will launch an eight-episode season, dubbed "In Conversation," beginning on May 2, according to a company press release.
The show, which will air weekly on Wednesdays, will spotlight an array of creatives, including: artist and poet Cleo Wade, designer Rick Owens, interior designer Jonathan Adler, celebrity hair stylist Sally Hershberger and Chief Content Officer of Teen Vogue Phillip Picardi. The podcast will not include advertising during season one, a company spokeswoman told Retail Dive.
In the first episode, Barneys New York CEO Daniella Vitale — the company's first female CEO — will speak with Wade about women's issues and leadership. Various other executives, including Creative Director Matthew Mazzucca and Creative Ambassador-at-large Simon Doonan, are also slated to host future episodes.
Barneys is straddling the line between luxury department store and media company with this step into the still-booming podcast world. And it will be one of the first retailers to do so.
According to the promo episode — which is already available on iTunes and Stitcher — the show will be all about fashion, style, culture and, most of all, personality. It appears the show won't so much be an inside look at Barneys business strategy as it will be a way for them to tap into their network of celebrity designers and stylists who will share stories about launching careers in the fashion industry. That makes for a podcast focused more on the atmosphere and lifestyle that the store promotes rather than the specific products or promotions it offers. So the big question is: What will Barneys get out of launching a podcast?
If you look at the demographics when it comes to podcasting, the retailer is likely hoping to relate to wealthy millennials and Gen Xers — the same demographic the company would like to walk through its doors. According to Edison Research's report "The Podcast Consumer 2017," monthly podcast listeners between the ages of 25 and 54 increased 29% last year, and 45% of podcast listeners earn more than $75,000 a year. Podcast listeners are also more likely to use social media, so Barneys' show may give an added boost to its social channels. Connecting with customers in a new way appears to be the bigger driver, as opposed to the show being a revenue driver.
While few retailers have launched podcasts, there are no shortage in the retail industry. Last year, Retail Dive started it own podcast, Conversational Commerce. Many other trade and consumer publications have their own podcasts, including: Total Retail Talks Podcast, Women in Retail Talks, Glossy and Fashion Is Your Business. A number of industry experts and consultants also host similar shows, such as The Jason and Scot Show, and the Loose Threads Podcast.