Direct-to-consumer, subscription underwear brand MeUndies has been around since 2011 and has sold over 10 million pairs of underwear to date. But it took the first four years of business to sell just 1 million; the additional 9 million were sold in the last three years.
MeUndies founder Jonathan Shokrian attributes much of that rapid growth to committing to causes its customers care about — a major focus has been Pride Month. While it’s been a priority for the brand since its launch, MeUndies debuted its first limited-edition Pride underwear collection in 2017. Its third collection, in partnership with DJ Griz, landed on MeUndies.com and at its permanent store in the Westfield Century City mall on Thursday. MeUndies is promoting the collection with several billboards in the Los Angeles area and through a paid sponsorship of the It Gets Better Pride Party on June 8 in Los Angeles.
“We’ve decided to make the easy decision to try and be a brand that is meaningful to a smaller community. As a result, we’ve really seen them come to evangelize the brand,” Shokrian said.
Of all first-time purchasers on the MeUndies site, 40% sign up for the brand’s subscription service to receive a pair of underwear each month at a discounted price.
This year, for every item in the pride collection sold, MeUndies will donate $1 to Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation dedicated to fighting homelessness within the LGBTQ community.
These types of efforts are what sets a brand like MeUndies apart from other fashion brands that are hoping to jump on the Pride bandwagon or other seemingly topical cultural issues. Most recently, Nike saw backlash after releasing a campaign on Mother’s Day championing gender equality. A few weeks later, an opinion piece ran in The New York Times revealing that the brand often does not pay female athletes when they get pregnant or are on maternity leave.
“These purpose-driven campaigns have been getting a bad rap in the press recently,” said Joe Anthony, CEO of media agency Hero Group. “Part of it is because Gen Z and millennial consumers are starting to have adverse reactions to brands that jump in and out of purpose-driven activations because it’s the flavor of the month,” he said. “Any brand that develops a long-term commitment in its onset is going to be more successful.”
MeUndies declined to share how the last two collections performed in terms of sales numbers but said it has seen double-digit year-over-year growth over the last three years.
“The consumer, for the first time, is really starting to pay attention to where they spend their money. With the largest underwear company [Victoria’s Secret] in the world facing a really tough time, it’s great watching brands double down on moments like Pride, when a lot of these brands for forever, even up until recently, have gone as far as to bad mouth the community,” said Shokrian.