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How you can learn from Everlane and “Radical Transparency”

Growth Secrets|20.06.2016

Most of us have no idea where our clothes come from. Everlane, however, was one of the first fashion brands to change all that. In less than three years Everlane reported to be generating $12 million in revenue. So how have they done it?

Who are Everlane?

Everlane is an ecommerce company that sells high-end basic apparel. It was founded by 25-year-old (at the time) Michael Preysman, who quit his job in venture capital to pursue his dreams of starting his own business. Through a passion for great design and his frustration with the lack of innovative retail, his idea for Everlane was born. 

The team at Everlane create well designed, lasting styles for all. The offering is very simple, staple pieces in 2 or 3 different colours and they’re well made and durable. It’s maybe not the cheapest clothing out there, but not the most expensive either. Their range of clothing has achieved high approval and is widely popular in the USA, particularly New York. 

What makes Everlane different from the rest?

Everlane isn't like many modern fashion brands. There are a number of factors that help them stand out. 

  • They help customers save money by solely selling online - no bricks and mortar overheads to push up prices. Secondly, Everlane breaks down the “true cost” of each item.
  • They explain the price for materials, hardware, labour, duties and transport, the cost is then doubled (the norm is 8x) for the Everlane price.
  • They go the extra mile to explain detailed fitting information, style details and facts about the factory it was created in. 

Their ideology of “Radical Transparency” has indeed revolutionised the fashion industry. 

The inspiring idea of transparency is one that has catapulted Everlane to be a key player in targeting consumers with a millennial mindset. Targeting those who reflect their values through the products they buy has led them to huge success. Everyone is familiar with honesty and Everlane resonates with its customers by being the person that all of us should/want to be. They tell a story that for anyone who has ever bought clothing (i.e. most of us) can connect with.

Many of us admit that we know little about what goes on behind the making of our clothes. But we’ve all seen the headlines shaming huge corporations for their unethical choices and highlighting the dark side of the industry. 

The modern consumer, we’d all like to think, is more aware, more ethically-conscious and ultimately more sceptical. They want to know more about the apparel industry but many companies seem seldom to share too much information about the origins of their products. Everlane, however, has changed that. 

What about the marketing?

Everlane creatively adapts their marketing strategy to continue building intimate relationships with their customers. Some examples would include:

  • Sending out surveys to explore why people didn’t purchase an item. 
  • Streaming Snapchat stories that direct followers to secret pop-up locations; show tours of the factories; random acts of kindness and easy-to-digest retail production facts.
  • Boasting 1 hour delivery in certain cities. 
  • Hosting an event called transparent cities where ‘radical transparency’ is explored in multiple forms
  • Active Twitter and Instagram accounts that encourage user generated content.

Let’s touch on this a little more. As I’ve already explained, Everlane wants to establish a good relationship with their customers. Their use of User Generated Content and hashtags is another example of how they cement the relationship: 

#DearEverlane - Is a hashtag used on their Instagram account to showcase recent reviews from satisfied customers. The stories are informative, real, and Everlane usually responds with witty information about a special product relating to the customer’s story.

#getmeroomservice – Shoes, of course, are one of the hardest things to shop for online and which poses a problem for Everlane who are solely based online. As a result, they decided to visit hotel suites in four major cities and open up the rooms. Customers could then go in and try on shoes before purchasing. Customers could sign up via the hashtag #getmeroomservice or by simply following their social channels. For those who couldn’t attend, Everlane documented the entire experience on their Snapchat story.

If that wasn’t innovative enough, Everlane is one of the first companies to utilise conversational commerce and Facebook messenger for customer service support. With a more personal interaction, a company gets a better understanding of the identity of that customer and can feed them appropriate information and derive better insights from them. This might be creepy if Everlane didn't have such moralistic principles and esteemed values.

Conclusion

Everlane has created a brand that represents a particularly strong ideology. Their notion of "Radical Transparency" has a high importance when it comes to empowering their customer's. Not only does their openness draw us in but they make people feel as much love as possible. From showcasing their content, gathering feedback and hosting cool events the Everlane customer ultimately becomes part of the company. 

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