As the global e-commerce market continues to expand, direct-to-consumer brands are making their mark on the retail industry. These digitally native companies are exploring strategies to increase consumer connection, accelerate digital transformation, and most importantly, leverage their data.
As DTC brands continue to grow, the makeup of the e-commerce industry is shifting away from traditional retailers. In fact, eMarketer forecasts that DTC 2020 sales will grow 24.3% from 2019, accounting for $17.75 billion of all e-commerce sales.
Evidently, direct-to-consumer is becoming a competitive force in the retail industry. But amongst all the up and coming brands, we take a look at some of the top ones that are worth exploring.
Founded in 2017 by Abby Morgan with the goal to create bras that provide both style and support, the company focuses on modern and minimal designs that cater to a diverse range of sizes. The emphasize accuracy, comfort, and inclusivity. CUUP highlights that their bras are built with the customer in mind, offering 20-minute virtual fittings and free returns or exchanges. In early 2020, CUUP closed an $11 million series A investment round, bringing their total funding to $15 million.
Established in 2017 by former US national rowing team member Jack Carlson, Rowing Blazers aims to reinvent prep-wear in a youthful, inclusive, and sustainable form. The brand combines elements from traditional prep, student uniforms, streetwear, hip-hop culture, and more, to create unique modern designs. Rowing Blazers has also collaborated with well-known brands, artists, and organizations. It is also worn by many celebrities. Today, the brand creates blazers for leading sports and social clubs, including the US national rowing and rugby teams.
NAADAM was founded in 2013 by Matthew Scanlan and Diederik Rijsemus with the goal of ethically sourcing cashmere from traditional cashmere traders in Mongolia. The company was built with sustainability in mind, emphasizing transparency, ethical practices, and cultural preservation. The brand’s $75 Essential Cashmere Sweater has gained immense traction online, boasting the lowest price for luxury cashmere, while paying herders 50% more. Scanlan projected NAADAM’s revenue to grow to $82 million by 2019.
Co-founded by Tanya Lee and Karen Lee in 2018, LEZÉ the Label aims to create sustainable and cozy workwear inspired by the comfort of pajamas. The two noticed that women’s workwear was often uncomfortable and expensive, thus they created a line using 4-way stretch fabrics that are temperature-regulating and easy to wash. In an effort to reinvent sustainable fashion, the company uses coffee grinds, fishing nets, beech trees, and plastic bottles in its production. Within three months of launching their e-commerce store, sales grew by 300%.
Encircled was founded in 2012 by Kristi Soomer with the goal of helping women travel lighter. The brand was built with the vision of promoting ethically-made capsule wardrobe essentials that prioritize quality and versatility. Encircled promotes modern basics with timeless silhouettes and versatile pieces that work for day and night as well as work and weekend. The brand currently offers virtual shopping appointments and hosts frequent pop-ups and events such as webinars.
Bombas was founded in 2013 by Randy Goldberg and David Heath after they learned that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. The two launched Bombas with a pledge to donate a pair of socks for every pair purchased, and have donated over 30 million items to this day. Bombas’ socks emphasize comfort, no-slip technology, and durability. The brand has even expanded into creating shirts, and now has a yearly revenue of over $100 million.
Founded by designer Sara Gabriel in 2000, the self-titled company sells a variety of meticulously crafted bridal accessories. Sara Gabriel’s accessories are inspired by vintage fashion and embody spirit and tradition. All lines from headpieces to jewelry are completely handmade from beginning to end. The company has a Try-It-On program, where potential customers can order pieces for a low price and sample them for up to five days.
Shoko Shop was founded by Manos Vouteris in 2009 with the goal to create unique and sustainable women’s clothing and bags. Shoko’s clothing is built with unique fabrics, distinctive details, and flattering silhouettes to make everyday outfits more special. The company sources fabric from a local partner and makes their goods by hand, prioritizing ethical production in every step of the process. Shoko also donates 10% of all profits to Animal Rescue with the aim of protecting stray cats in Athens.
Founded in 2006 by Rebecca Powell, Tluxe is an eco-fashion company focused on creating versatile sustainable clothing and educating consumers about fast fashion. The brand promotes the concept of investment dressing to encourage consumers to build a wardrobe of durable staple pieces. Tluxe uses quality natural fabrics, compostable packaging, and tags. It also produces locally in an effort to prioritize sustainability. The company was one of the first 500 members of the Ethical Fashion Forum and sees revenues of nearly $200,000.
Launched in 2001 by Candice Levine with the goal of creating comfortable and stylish women’s underwear, The Candi Factory’s designs are fun and unique with colorful patterns and slogans. They are built around the company’s mission of making people happy. The Candi Factory has now expanded its offerings to include tops, leggings, and men’s underwear. Additionally, the brand produces everything locally in Toronto from start to finish.
With a focus on reinventing traditional styles in a durable, sustainable fashion, direct-to-consumer brands are more ethical, socially-responsible, and high quality than ever before. As DTC continues to grow within the e-commerce retail space, its important to keep an eye on these following brands as the landscape shifts more and more online.