Everlane founder and chief executive officer Michael Preysman has a problem that many brands and retailers would envy: He ordered 1,000 of the e-commerce site’s new Petra bags, but has amassed a waiting list of close to 10,000 people wanting to get them.Everlane didn’t set out to create an “It” bag for the digital age. Sticking with its straightforward design aesthetic, the company set out to make a simple bag that wouldn’t go out of style at a price that seemed reasonable, and order an amount that wouldn’t put its balance sheet totally out of whack.“It is a very expensive product for us to make. We are a small company, and we don’t want to take a massive risk. We launched with a small number of units to say, ‘Is it something that people really want?’” explained Preysman, adding, “This is the biggest reception we have gotten for a product, so we are really happy about it. Obviously, every person on the wait list doesn’t result in a purchase, but it is doing really well.”The Petra is not the first product that Everlane customers have had to wait for. The brand’s strategy of underordering to keep its costs manageable and avoiding merchandise markdowns has led to it constantly being sold out of items. Preysman said he has heard complaints from customers who can’t get their hands on product “all the f’ing time,” but that doesn’t mean Everlane’s wait lists are going away. To calm customers, Everlane clarified the reasons behind its product shortages in Facebook and Tumblr posts.“Traditional brands can over buy because they overstock product, and if they need to, they can go on sale. Everlane never goes on sale, so if we can’t go on sale, we can’t have overstock,” said Preysman. “If a product is going to be successful, it is always going to be sold out, and it is until that product becomes a basic. If it has been in the cycle one to two years, we can see repetition and a history, and we understand we can make that investment. So, we are rarely sold out of T-shirts anymore, even though for the first year all I kept hearing is, ‘Why are you sold out of T-shirts?’”The no-sales mantra at Everlane is a consequence of its promise that it won’t sell products at the higher markups seen at most retailers. While Preysman approximated accessories are regularly marked up six to eight times their wholesale cost, Everlane’s markup is around twice the cost for the Petra bags. Each Petra bag costs $190 to $210 to produce, and the bags are priced at $325, $365 and $425. “Typically, it would be at Barneys for over $1,000,” Preysman estimated.The Petra bags are Everlane’s most expensive items — its T-shirts are $15 and it makes some 15,000 of them a month — and Preysman wasn’t sure if its customers would make the jump. Determining the price was more art than science. “We don’t test anything. We look at what other brands are doing all the time. We think about what our customers are willing to pay. We think about what we are willing to pay,” he said. “Pricing is extremely difficult. We try to be consistent and honest.”The comparably thin margins at Everlane have made the prospects the e-commerce site would wholesale dim. “We can’t afford it. We sell to our customers at effectively wholesale, so selling to another retailer would break our model — we’d actually lose money,” said Preysman.They have made profits harder to come by, too. Preysman said the company is currently breaking even. This year, he elaborated, “We are so much more comfortable. We are taking similar risks to what we took last year, but last year we felt that we were treading in deep water with the roof coming down. This year, we may be treading in deep water, but we are in a ship. We are more grounded in what we are doing.”Everlane might not have the resources of a fashion conglomerate, but it hasn’t found signing on factories that make goods for those players that difficult. The Petra bags are produced in a factory in Venice that manufactures for global luxury brands as well. Preysman said Everlane used a consultant who works with Kering and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to identify four factories that could do bags at the quality it desired, and eventually narrowed the choices down to one. In total, Everlane employs around 11 factories to make merchandise across all its categories.“We try to find entrepreneurial people that believe in the story of Everlane, so we can build something together that’s much bigger. We need someone that can do something small, but can also do something big,” said Preysman. “We are very streamlined in the way we operate, so they really appreciate it, and we are playing the same cost [as larger brands]. We find one to two styles that we believe in and invest heavily in those styles.”Preysman expects to send another order out to its handbag factory for Petra bags soon, and those bags will be delivered to Everlane customers in February or March. He doesn’t think he will order many more than 1,000. “We would rather be safe than sorry,” he said. “We will still keep it to small runs until we really know that we have pent-up demand.”
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.