If the growth trajectory of MeUndies Inc. is a play, 2016 caps act one for the Culver City, Calif.-based company.
The business sells its underwear and loungewear for men and women online, giving customers the option of signing up for a monthly subscription or making purchases when they want through the site. The company’s now turning to what it can do to scale.
“Act one is coming to an end [for the business] and the curtain’s about to open for act two, so it’s a really exciting couple years [ahead] at the company,” said chief executive officer Bryan Lalezarian.
The business over the past year has largely focused on filling out its 70-person team with additions that include director of merchandising and planning Kellie Swanton, previously senior merchandising manager at Reformation; Director of product management Jimmy Chu, formerly of Google; creative director Andrew Teague, who came from Beats by Dr. Dre, and Steph Young, a former digital manager at Beats, who is now head of brand marketing.
The company could see category expansion — it’s heard from customers asking about bed sheets — and is now looking at what brand expansion means at the retail level and beyond, whether that be digital or in-real-life tactics.
Lalezarian declined to say what the company’s doing in sales on an annual basis, but reported MeUndies is expected to end this year with sales up 225 percent from the prior year. That follows a roughly tripling of revenue in 2015.
In October the business further refined personalization on its subscriptions by giving customers the chance to choose the style of underwear they would receive under new category options: classic, bold and adventurous. Subscribers now have the choice of subscribing to one or all of the style categories.
The CEO described physical retail as an interesting opportunity for the business, saying 2017 could be the year for greater experimentation of that. The company ran a four-month pop-up, it’s first, located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard last year, which Lalezarian called successful.
“More to come on that, but I think we are beyond convinced that having a physical presence is the way to go,” he said. “The key for us is how do we do that in the MeUndies way? I think on one end you’ll see a store like a Victoria’s Secret, a 16,000-square-foot store. That’s not really what we envision for MeUndies.”
It’s a line of thinking many digital brands are mulling as they figure out scale in what is a very rugged landscape for retail.
A success strategy will no doubt include lots of moving parts.
The company’s also continued to push the boundaries on social media marketing, most recently holding a Black Friday Facebook Live event in which it produced a two-hour long production to promote its product, starting at 3 p.m. PST on the day after Thanksgiving.
Lalezarian said the event reached roughly 700,000 people on Facebook during that two-hour block. Facebook Live presents opportunity for similar future events, although the company has nothing specific planned, he said.
“The Facebook Live event wasn’t about sales per se,” he added. “If you want sales, you can send 30 percent off e-mails to your customers, and I think that’s the easy route. When you’re doing a Facebook Live event, it’s more about cutting through that [Black Friday] noise and trying to engage with our customers in a really unique way. It’s more about brand engagement, storytelling and doing something memorable.”