With the barrier to entry to create a direct-to-consumer brand today, competition in the fast-fashion space is heating up. One 7-year-old brand, Naked Wardrobe, is looking to move ahead of other fast-fashion e-commerce competitors like Fashion Nova and Boohoo with a move into physical retail and a focus on long-lasting, high-quality products.
Founded by three sisters in 2012 (Shideh, Shida and Shirin Kaviani), Naked Wardrobe found success just one year in, selling high-quality basics online. The company brought in over $1 million in revenue in the first year and has seen roughly 40% growth year over year, every year since. The brand credits its success to the quality of the product it makes and its able to stay up to date on the latest trends.
“The entire process for us starts with the garment, making sure it’s very quality-driven,” said co-founder and president Shideh Kaviani. Kaviani pointed to the fact that the brand has a less than 5% return rate and that 65% of shoppers are repeat customers.
While the company first started by operating under a fast-fashion model, developing and dropping new products every week with the idea that people might wear something a few times and then discard it, Kaviani said it has grown beyond that as the space has become more crowded. Naked Wardrobe focuses on making products — which are available in sizes XS to 4XL — from viscose and spandex so that they’re long-lasting and comfortable.
“So many brands have come into this particular fast-fashion field over the last few years and some of them started to exceed us, on social media and what not. We really wanted to set ourselves apart,” she said. “When you think of fast fashion, you think of a one-and-done garment or something that might rip. We want to focus on quality products.”
It helps that Naked Wardrobe has a smart approach to influencer marketing — mainly finding ways to get its products in front of big names like the Kardashians and Jennifer Lopez. While the brand doesn’t pay influencers like Khloe Kardashian (an avid Naked Wardrobe shopper, Kaviani said) it does send free product to these clients in the hopes that they will post about the brand on social media. When that does happen, it means brands like Naked Wardrobe can focus on sending things to a handful of celebrities versus hundreds of micro-influencers.
“From Fashion Nova to Naked Wardrobe, it would take hundreds and thousands of micro-influencers to wear and feature product for those brands to be able to reach as many people as a Kardashian would reach with one Instagram Story, not even a post,” said Beca Alexander, founder and president at creative influencer agency Socialyte.
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While the celebrity praise for the brand on social media has clearly helped boost the company to over 1 million followers on Instagram, the Kaviani sisters are now looking to move outside of digital and social media to build an even bigger following.
At the start of the summer, the brand launched its first pop-up in Los Angeles, on Melrose Avenue, with plans to only keep it up and running for six weeks. After seeing strong sales results and foot traffic, though, the Kaviani sisters decided to keep it open throughout the summer. They’ve now decided to go beyond Los Angeles, with plans to open more pop-ups in New York, Miami and Atlanta in the near future.
The brand doesn’t spend any money on digital marketing, instead relying on word-of-mouth. Only recently did the brand start putting up some billboards in the Los Angeles area to draw attention to its pop-up shop.
In September, Naked Wardrobe also has plans to expand beyond what it does best — basics — and launch into some new categories. Mainly, the brand plans to launch more special-occasion wear, with statement pieces that can mix well with the brand’s basics.
“It will cover the girl that’s looking for a dress for her 30th or 40th birthday, or a bachelorette party. It’s for the more outgoing girl that really wants to be a little over the top or wants something a little extra,” said Kaviani.
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