Humor. That’s the ideology behind Skinnydip Ltd., which is a study in the balance of opposites — or so it would seem — of the cool and glam customers its brand tends to attract.
The London-based accessories company unveiled a collaboration with Coca-Cola, a first for the companies after a couple of years in talks.
“For us, we’re always trying to do something unique and something different and something that’s a bit special,” said cofounder Lewis Blitz. “We’re also about doing things that are iconic and there’s no more an iconic brand than Coca-Cola.”
The collection includes iPhone cases, bags, backpacks, headphones and iron-on patches ranging from $13 to $75.
This follows “The Simpsons” collaboration last year, in what Blitz called its first “mainstream collaborative effort.” The two deals thus far have appealed to two types of customers. The Coca-Cola collection, as Blitz described it, appeals to a more “cool girl,” while “The Simpsons” was really aimed at a more glamorous customer.
“We look at two main customers: the glam and the cool girl. It’s in some ways contrasting, but in other ways they blend together really well,” Blitz said. “We always describe Skinnydip as fun, young, eccentric and a little bit wild. We’ve got a little bit of a carefree attitude.”
It’s banking on that sense of humor as it seeks growth.
The company entered the U.S. market earlier this year with some surprising finds about shoppers here.
“I think that the U.S. customer base has actually been surprisingly better for us than we’d expected,” Blitz said. “We’ve really seen the U.S. customer embrace the more novelty, whacky, really eccentric product, which — being honest — we were a little bit cautious about. ‘Will people get it in America?’ Obviously, there’s always been that long-standing [belief] that British humor can sometimes be missed in America.”
The company, founded in 2011, is in 171 doors globally with three Skinnydip stores in Covet Garden, Westfield London and off of Carnaby Street.
Plans call for another three stores in the U.K. this year with the company looking at the potential airport locations might have for the business. It dabbled with the pop-up concept at Gatwick Airport in London last year with strong sales.
“We’d get people stopping, taking pictures with the products,” he said. “We didn’t really mind that because we were just getting the attention. That was exciting enough for us. And that’s what we try and do with our stores as well. Everything we do is about the experience.”
Skinnydip’s scouting for U.S. store locations and could come online as early as within the next 18 months, according to Blitz. It’s already begun building the infrastructure with an office in New York that opened at the beginning of the year, with possible store locations being eyed there as well as in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Skinnydip, which has more than 50 workers, got its start in tech accessories. The founders had no previous experienced and saw trendy tech accessories as a way to get into major retailers.
“The idea was always to build a lifestyle brand turning the fashion industry on its head,” Blitz said.
Stationery is likely to launch in October, with sunglasses and jewelry to potentially roll out in February.
“Nothing’s ever set in stone with us,” Blitz said. “We change [launch dates]. We’ve still got a small company mentality. We just literally pushed back sunglasses because they were supposed be [launched in] July, then October. We’re perfectionists. When we want to do something, we want to do it properly.”