I've gotten quite a number of positive responses from people both in and outside of Japan by sharing the Japan Times article on Poupee Girl.
Let's look at what makes them so different:
- it is a SNS site for members to talk about and showcase fashion (no family photos of pets and kids!)
- 500,000 registered users (since 2007)
- 98% of them women
- 80% of them in their teens or 20s
- 35% of them living outside Japan (U.S., central America, and China)
- 5,000 virtual items to be purchased with "ribbons" by members for their avatars
- virtual boutiques by Louis Vuitton and Coach; campaings by Kose; supported by Sanei International
- 15 million+ photos of real fashion merchandise uploaded by its members that can be searched by brand (from what I last read, that is a 5 million images increase in one year!)
An article by Nikkei MJ in April 2008 said that some users access the site more than 200 times a day.
They are also collaborating with Twitter and FaceBook, and are slated to launch a Nintendo DS hand-held game that enables users to play dress up.
I've actually talked about them a lot in my trend seminars and thus, I actively use the site. It can get quite addictive when you start having fans giving you really positive comments about the items you upload.
A quick look at the voting results give one a very good idea of what items are popular and which brands, too.
I think Sanei is really clever to use this platform to "test market" designs and items that can be made into real clothes for their retail business.