Today we are going to go through unusual strategies used by two now thriving fashion companies to break out in the fashion business.
The two examples selected are no classic profiles. They did not graduate from a facny fashion school. They did not launch with an insanely glamorous fashion show. They did not have a massive budget to spend on advertising. They are both very different. Each company has its own personality. One is from France, the other is from the US. But they both leveraged the power of social media in a smart AND organic way: we are talking about French brand Le Slip Français and US platform The Red Dress Boutique.
BRAND N°1 – LE SLIP FRANCAIS
For those of you who do not speak French, Le Slip Français litteraly means “The French underpants”. And in French, this word “slip” is not the nice sexy version. Nope! In French the word slip is the ugly old fashioned version of underpants. Today the founder who originally worked in an organic store chain is one of the favorite success stories in France.
The story tells that the founder Guillaume Gibault made a bet with his friend that he would make underpants fashionable.
He ordered 600 underpants and started the adventure.
The brand signature is: French made and audacity – audacity which is also a trait French people are famous for. The waistband has the colours of the French flag. And all the products are made in France, which is also a guarantee of quality;
The big breakout occurred in 2012 on French election. One of the candidate had a catchphrase that said “The change is for now”. The brand le slip français twisted the message with a video “The change of underpants is for now”. (I will let you watch it in the replay of our live video on top of this post – it starts at 05:33).
Needless to say that this campaign made a massive organic hit on social media. People shared it because it was bold and funny. And audacious.
It was worth sharing.
Besides he always stayed cohesive with the identity of the brand. For example, he also gave typically French or even Gaul nicknames to each product, like names that you would have read in this French comic book: Asterix the Gaul – “The Intrepid” “The valiant”…
#1 – Know who you are
The usual and favorite Fashion FXF advice: have a strong DNA. For that, you don’t have to have a necessarily complicated identity. On the constrary – Stay simple but true to who you are. In this case they Chose Underpants French Audacity. That’s it. And everything is aligned to that: design, production, tone of voice used in communication.
#2 – Use or twist something that is trending right now
Then you know what people are eager to share and talk about right now – You can go on websites such as Medium to see what’s trending – And use that for your communication. Of course, you have to be careful of the potential complaints. In this case, none of the candidates complained about the twist
Also be careful to not use any kind of news. Just use the ones that make sense for your brand and that can speak to your target audience. In this case, it made sense because it was the French elections and let’s admit it: the candidate’s message was just perfect for an audacious joke!
#3 – Share messages that are worth sharing
Lots of brands just dump posts on their audience…
Honestly have you wondered, how you change people’s life? Have you thought about the people at the other end? How will your product change their lives?
So from now on, what you need to do is to think of ways how your product can contribute to your audience’s life and lifestyle.
Inspire. Teach something. Make people feel something.
In this case it was funny but it doesn’t have to be funny. It can be comforting, motivating, whichever feels right for your brand identity and your audience.
BRAND N°2 – THE RED DRESS BOUTIQUE
The Red Dress boutique is an online e-commerce website and brick and mortar shop that sell cute and affordable clothing for women. They are from Georgia in the US. The company was founded by Diana Harbour.
At the beginning, she targeted students of the University of Georgia.
She got people’s attention by keeping her audience updated about upcoming items and re-stocks. It was the beginning of Facebook…and no other retail store was doing that.
And here is the trick (which still works today
She constantly asked for customer feedback. Her engagement is very high. So for example when she is on her buying trips to curate new items, she asks for feedback from her target audience to know if they’d like it or not. And depending on the answers obtained, she adjusts the quantity of items to buy. So she only gets the most wanted items in, which also decreases the need for markdown. Smart, right?
The same goes with the pictures she posts – She worked with students who posed for her pictures. But for example if the picture did not get much engagement, she changed it a little bit and posted the one that got most engagement.
To finish, the identity of the red dress boutique can be summarized in one word: caring. The founder genuinely cares about her customers. She cares about their opinion but she also cares about their life. She thinks of them – each package is wrapped like a gift and there is a handwritten note. Here is what you can read when you go on the website:
“I also wanted to create this place that would bring color and confidence and happiness to a woman’s day. Sometimes just having that one fantastic new outfit is all a woman needs to turn a bad day into a good one, to give a woman the confidence she needs going into an interview or to give that stay at home mom a reason to smile after that rare moment she treats herself. So I started handwriting all the thank you cards that went in our orders, packing it up like the present that it was and sending it off in hopes that it brought a smile to the woman it went to.”
That’s how much she cares about her audience and from all the engagement she gets from people and the way she keeps listening to what her audience has to say, it is so sincere that she made a business model out of it.
So what kind of lessons can you take from this?
#4 – Care about your customers
Start bonding with them. We have a fantastic opportunity with social media, stop ruining it by dumping your products on people.
Ask their opinion. Find out how they live, give a damn about what they are going through and how your product makes them feel.
Today you cannot just dump your posts on people: you have to engage. So start engaging.
And I am not only talking about putting green hearts and emojis on people’s posts. (ughhh…I have that account on Instagram that keeps posting that same green heart over and over again).
Share something useful that could enlighten that person’s day. Because guess what they are going to do once you care a little bit about them: they are going to check your profile and interact with you. Tadaaaa.
Plus social media totally loves and favors posts that engage.
#5 – Test until it works
It is applicable for the photos you use on social media but also for your posts. You need to find that tone and content that your audience best reacts to.
#6 – Ask for customer feedback
A lot of designers out there stay in their bubble and do not engage. with their audience. But how are you going to know what works if you stay in your bubble? You have to go out there and ask what they think about your product. How they like it, where they wear it, how it went, how it makes them feel.
Because all this is information that you will be able to fuel back into your marketing.
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