Sweatpants are a best-seller for Mack Weldon in normal times. But unsurprisingly, they’re especially popular now, as many Americans have seen their commute to the office replaced by yet another day of getting comfortable at home.
“A lot of people are wearing sweatpants, that’s for sure,” Brian Berger, Mack Weldon CEO and founder, said on the Glossy Podcast.
The activewear brand’s focus on e-commerce has also well-positioned it to weather the pandemic. The brand has only one brick-and-mortar store, at Hudson Yards, and no significant partnerships with department stores.
Berger talked about leveraging e-commerce, establishing redundancy in supply lines and being the “cheerleader-in-chief” to his staff.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
E-commerce gets a boost
“E-commerce is fortunately a good place to be right now, because it’s the only way consumers can shop. So we have that going for us. And in addition, after an initial, significant dip over the first couple weeks of March, we have seen consumer appetite for many of the products that we sell grow. People are looking for comfortable, casual activewear products that are more aligned with a work-from-home environment. We have a lot of hero products in those categories, so we’ve been able to benefit from that initial surge in demand. This is all very fluid, but for the moment, things are more good than bad.”
There’s no ignoring the pandemic
“At a time like this, what matters is that your customers feel like you understand what’s going on and that you’re not tone-deaf. You appreciate that everybody is feeling a lot of adversity right now. If you recognize that and you nod to that in certain ways when you communicate with them, I think that creates loyalty.”
An overlapping supply chain helps weather the storm
“Our supply chain is diversified anyway. It’s helpful, especially if you’re highly dependent on a product line or category, that you have multiple sources of producing that on a good day. So over time, we’ve worked to create some redundancy there. It’s not perfect, but I think, in a real crunch, we have optionality. And our business is e-comm-driven. Because we’re [also] a data-driven company, we have been able to react to what’s going on. If we see an opportunity in the advertising space, we can react to it. If we see something negative happening, we can pull back. Again, we have that on a good day. This situation has heightened scrutiny and also the importance of being able to understand and have access to your data to make decisions in real time, especially during a time when you want to make sure all your resources are being maximized.”