Brands We Love: Everlane
Everlane has been on my radar since I stumbled across their perfectly minimal website while shopping online.
After an hour sifting through a sea of diamontes, frills and fast fashion, their simple basics were a breath of fresh air.
While their simple aesthetic is right down my alley, it's the way they’ve differentiated themselves from their competition and captured the hearts and minds of their global audience that makes Everlane one of my brand crushes.
Today, I’m breaking down some of the branding and marketing lessons that we can learn from this stand out brand.
They do one thing, really well
As you may have guessed, Everlane is not the place to shop if you’re after a dress for a special occasion or a one-of-a-kind outfit. The words glam, sexy, flowery, frilly or sparkly are not in their team’s vocab. Why? The Everlane brand is all about simple, everyday basics. They do casual, modern staples really well, and everything they sell centres around that one core mission.
To some, this focus looks like they're leaving money on the table, but it has helped Everlane to carve out its own place in the market— they have become the go-to for modern affordable basics.
This works well to set clear expectations with their customers about what they’re going to deliver and what they don’t, so you’re not disappointed when you can’t find the perfect LBD on their website. Instead, they're a go-to when you need affordable wardrobe staples, from shoes and bags to jackets and dresses.
“We’re not a fashion company,” founder Michael Preysman said to the New Yorker.
"If you’re playing in shine, frills, low-cut tops it quickly devolves into fast fashion.”
The takeaway: Become the go-to in your area of expertise by doing fewer things, and doing them really well.
They live out their values
Everlane have made a strong commitment to ethical, sustainable production and what they call ‘radical transparency’.
While every company nowadays seems to be touting transparency as a value, Everlane really have embedded transparency into their organisation by giving their customers a look inside their factories and being upfront about how much they markup their products.
Case in point—tucked under the fabric, sizing and care information on any of their product pages, you’ll find a link to view the factory where that product is produced.
In 2017 Everlane delayed the release of their jeans until they could find a factory that met their sustainability standards, despite growing demand. The Vietnamese factory they found recycles 98% of the water used in denim manufacturing and turns the leftover sludge into bricks to construct affordable homes.
Everlane knows that its customers want to be a part of this socially conscious narrative they’re weaving, so they aren’t afraid to share it at every opportunity. In the months leading up to the release of their new denim range, they started sharing photos and stories from their new, environmentally and socially conscious Vietnamese factory. This lead to an unprecedented waitlist of over 40 000 (Fast Company).
Everlane's customers don't just get a new pair of jeans or tee, they also get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with purchasing sustainable, ethical clothing and a story to tell their friends about their purchase.
The takeaway: Knowing and living out your values is not only helpful for internal decision making, these choices also make for great marketing stories that people remember and share.
They create exclusivity around their products
Their products may be inexpensive compared to traditional retailers, but Everlane has still managed to create a sense of exclusivity around their products. So how do they do it?
When Everlane aren’t sure how popular an item will be, they always stock less. This means their items often sell out, which creates scarcity and demand, but also encourages customers to opt in to their email list to gain early access to new lines and to be kept in the loop when their favourites are back in stock.
When their day heel sold out last year, 28 000 people joined the waiting list to get their hands on a pair. Everlane’s global factories allow them to restock quickly, but the scarcity factor encourages people to act quickly to avoid missing out.
When they do make too much stock, Everlane don't have a sale or discount items, because they know it devalues their offering, so they simply ask you to ‘choose what you pay’. The minimum amount covers their costs, while the maximum price allows them to invest back into new product development.
The takeaway: There are ways to signify value and create exclusivity even for low cost items.
Everlane aren't creating groundbreaking products, but the way they position and market their brand has allowed them to stand out and create waves in an exceptionally competitive market. So, even if your business isn't destined for the same scale as Everlane, their strategies are definitely food for thought.
Did you like this article? I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and tell me how you could make these strategies work in your business.