Everlane (https://www.everlane.com/) is a hot fashion and apparel brand among young consumers in North America. It is referred as the "king of value for money" by countless fashion bloggers and social media influencers. Everlane offer a variety of simple, modern and minimalist design for women and men at affordable price.
Over the past 6 years, Everlane has grown exponentially globally from $0 to $100 million in sales. By 2015, Everlane had received $1.1 million in seed funding. The company, in fact, earned $50 million for its revenue in the same year. This revenue got just doubled in its succeeding year. In 2016, it was a great total of $100M. The annual budget for advertising is estimated to be between $10,000 and $20,000 or less than 5 percent of total company spending. (https://pixelphant.com/blog/ecomstories-everlane-ecommerce ) Now they have entered the China market and introduced their ethical clothing concept to the increasingly more aware young Chinese consumers.
We know that Everlane would not have made it this far in the fashion industry if it was only "cost effective", and this is also what puzzles us - what is Everlane's secret and charm to gain a good reputation and success in the competitive fashion apparel industry?
Here is what we think they did right.
1. Laser focus product positioning and target consumers
With no offline stores and no presence on other online platforms, Everlane only sells its products on its own brand website. This "DTC (Direct to Consumer)" sales model not only greatly reduces the brand's expenses, but also gives Everlane the brand character of "high-cost performance".
"Comfortable", "versatile" and "cost effective" are the most common words that consumers use when talking about Everlane. At least it shows that even if Everlane only sells basic styles, there is still a certain product differentiation in the eyes of consumers, and these evaluation tags are exactly the style Everlane wants to create.
2. Extreme transparency on cost to gain consumers’ trust
What makes Everlane stands out form the highly competitive fashion and apparel industry is their commitment to “Exception quality. Ethical factories. Radical Transparency”.
Everlane's product strategy is very clear: eliminate the middleman and provide direct consumers with low price, high-quality clothing.
For example, a T-shirt is priced at $40 on Everlane's website. The label of the t-shirt shows the breakdown of this particular product:
· $4.83 for materials
· $0.79 for hardware
· $3.52 for labor
· $5.51 for duties
· $0.52 for shipping
· The total true cost is $15.17
· Profit to Everlane is $24.83
The average price of designer t-shirt is about $62, which is much more expensive than Everlane. When customers are facing with this kind of information, it is obvious which brand will win.
Consumers appreciate this transparency because they understand exactly the cost breakdown of each item, how much goes to the factory, and how much goes to the brand. And they don’t mind Everlane making a profit. This kind of "ultimate transparency" eliminates to the greatest extent the insecurity of consumers, who know what they are spending every penny on. Giving consumers enough information to make their own choices is a more efficient way to market.
3. Relay on social media and influencers, deprioritize paid ads
Everlane was clear on its marketing strategy from day one. Unlike traditional fashion brands, they did not use celebrity endorsements or expensive fashion shows to raise brand awareness. Instead, Everlane relies mainly on two marketing strategies: social media and email.
Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook are the main communication channels to release new designs, launch campaigns and gain followers. Many consumers first learned about Everlane brand from Instagram (@Everlane @Everlaneonyou). All of Everlane's image posts on Instagram are full of the style conveyed by the brand’s positioning - simple, fresh, atmospheric, yet approachable.
In the merchandise display, Everlane is good at integrating the goods into lifestyle, such as shopping, parties, casual outings etc.
Social media is a relatively low cost and wide dissemination marketing strategy that is also suitable for small and medium-sized companies, so that these companies do not need to blindly advertise on major platforms but can find the right channels for brand communication and provide quality content according to their own customer attributes.
4. Featuring factory stories as part of the brand story
Everlane’s product quality assurance and price control are directly related to its manufacturer. Compared to the information of origin and materials used, the factory has always been the most easily ignored by consumers.
In this way, factories have become an important protagonist in the Everlane brand story. Under the promotion slogan of "Every factory has a story", Everlane pushed all their manufacturers to the forefront, making their manufacturers "transparent" as well.
Now, Everlane's global manufacturer information will be published on the official website as it is. Consumers can not only see the factory where the products they buy are located, but also view photos and videos documenting the working environment of the factory.
Reliable, humane and socially responsible, this is the brand image Everlane is building today. In 2017, Everlane launched its 100% HUMAN apparel line. It is a collection of T-shirts with the words 100% HUMAN on them to represent your attitude of defending the great life of humanity. Everlane says the collection is a reminder that even though we are all different and stand for different things, we are all human beings living on the same planet and living in harmony far outweighs the differences between us.
Looking back at Everlane's past developments, we can see that the real strength lies in its success in defining the brand through storytelling.
Nowadays, brands are scrambling to get the attention of users, but Everlane has always kept its own pace in brand communication. Whether it is the construction of brand image or the choice of communication channels, Everlane has shown more precision and restraint.
But regardless of the marketing approach, Everlane never lets the ads take over, instead focusing on the product. Timely and interactive social media has become the first platform for Everlane to release product information.
Even in the midst of constant changes, Everlane's unchanging principles are accurate product positioning and business model, consistent brand communication strategy and continuous improvement of consumer experience.