When last we heard from Richard Tong, Tumblr’s beleaguered fashion director was exiting his role as an ambassador to fashion brands for something much more “entrepreneurial.” A source pointed us to Mr. Tong’s LinkedIn page, which he updated this month, listing himself as the founder of a startup called Fohr Card. The company’s website is password-protected, noting only that it’s “A Stairbear Production by Rich Tong, James Nord and Holly Star.”
Mr. Nord, whose Twitter bio touts his interest in fashion photography, lists his current role as a senior account director at Product of the Year, a consumer award for product innovation based in New York. Holly Stair (whose name is spelled differently on Mr. Tong’s Pinterest page) lists herself as social media manager at the fashion brand Foley + Corinna on LinkedIn.
We have reached out to Mr. Tong for comment and will update the post when we hear back. In the meantime, you can check out his ”Fohr Card Inspiration” board on Pinterest.
Just before Mr. Tong’s departure from Tumblr last winter, sources told Betabeat that the director’s presence in the office had diminished after blowback from fashion brands, digital advertising reps, and designers over Tumblr’s unofficial pay-for-play strategy for New York Fashion Week.
The leaked proposal asked fashion brands to pay for coverage from Tumblr bloggers, who had no idea Tumblr was charging for their (previously free) services. The proposal also promised ad placement on the Tumblr “fashion” page during NYFW without offering even basic analytics. Brands who adopted Tumblr early on bemoaned the lack of response and infrastructure in place to cater to labels who wanted to use the platform. “Realize that brands pay the bills when VCs stop,” wrote Ann Taylor’s digital and social media representative.
That may be something for Mr. Tong, a friend of David Karp’s, to keep in mind at his new startup. A little runway redemption when Fashion Week hits New York next month, perhaps?