If you want to build a better lifestyle brand you probably spend a lot of time watching what your favorite brands are doing. Here are 3 lifestyle brands that are crushing it in 2018.
Vice just does it right. Founded in Germany in 2012 by Ingo Duellmann and Rainer Stoeckl. The company started selling the highest-quality golf balls first in Germany, expanded into other parts of Europe, and entered the U.S. market in 2015. What really makes Vice special was their ability to disrupt the golf ball market. For those of you that don’t know, the market was owned by a couple of brands which drove the price of a good golf ball north of $5 each. The problem with this is, that the average golfer goes through 5 dozen golf balls a year. That’s $300 a year in golf balls. Vice brings you a high quality, performance golf ball for only $2. It’s pretty impressive. What really got my attention though, is their merchandising. They have opened up new revenue channels and built an unbelievably loyal audience on social media by developing high quality branded merchandise to sell to their audience. I won’t get into all of the details here, but they’re killing it with their hats, gloves, and umbrellas, but mainly their hats. They focus on the young golfer, guys and gals between 18-35, developing merchandise that fits their style and promotes the brand. Their brand voice is loud and vibrant, and their brand loyalty is fierce. Well done, Vice.
I. Love. Gustin. For many reasons, and I may be partial to them because I have known the founder my entire life. I even backed them on their initial launch on Kickstarter in 2013. Gustin has a cult-like following, and it is well deserved. Their model of true wholesale from the factory to the customer is brilliant, but my favorite part of their business model is their cash flow system. They fund every piece of clothing they make before they manufacture it. It’s pretty impressive. If you told me in 2012 that I could buy a $200 pair of jeans, a $200 pair of shoes, and other expensive boutique items directly online without having to walk into Nordstrom’s or Barneys I would have told you, yeah right – they won’t survive. I was wrong. They changed the way we shop, and 5 1/2 years later they’re still going strong and growing. I won’t get into any more of the details, you can learn more by watching the video from their Kickstarter launch here.
Here is a brand that just plain and simple gets transparency. Everlane is an online only, direct fashion retailer. The brand is built on nine words: Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why. As someone who spends a lot of his life managing factories and developing supply chains, Everlane couldn’t have been more right. Their model, what they have dubbed “radical transparency” is exactly what we look for when we source a product or develop supply chains for some of the top brands in the world. Most retailers keep production costs secret and typically don’t like to discuss where and how their products are made, Everlane reveals all. They work primarily off a 2-3x the production cost model, while most retailers mark things up 5-10 times before they sell you an item. One of my favorite parts of their marketing model is that each product they make and sell has its own story. You see in black & white the process and markup for each item. Customers learn why each item costs what it does. It’s smart, simple, and effective.