The innerwear and loungewear brand started by Kim Kardashian and L.A.-based entrepreneur Jens Grede is launching a pilot program today, offering shoppers in the Southern California zip code the chance to order Skims online and receive products in two hours.
“It’s the whole notion of blending the convenience of e-commerce with instant gratification of in-person shopping,” Grede told WWD in an exclusive interview. “But in-person shopping can be inconvenient. We don’t always have time to go shopping, especially not in a large city where getting around takes a long time. And we all know where we’re going to be in the next few hours; we don’t all know where we’re going to be tonight.”
While two-hour delivery might seem like an unnecessary extravagance — especially when talking about underwear — Grede said the service has value in an increasingly fast-paced world.
“I do think the customer will really appreciate it,” said Grede, whose other fashion ventures include Tom Brady’s Brady apparel brand and Khloé Kardashian’s Good American brand, along with wife Emma Grede. “As customers, we sometimes feel we want something when we want something, especially when it comes to things like underwear and intimates and shapewear. It could be that you’re going to a party that night and you’re lacking this specific piece of solution [wear] to make what you want to wear work. And you have two options: you can either drive into the mall or the shopping streets and go and try to find something to make it work. Or, considering the costs associated with doing that — driving, parking, so forth — or you can have it delivered to you, but in two hours.”
Skims’ new delivery service charges a flat fee of $10, regardless of order price, and is available to shoppers within a 10-mile radius of L.A.’s 90004 zip code. The brand partnered with Randem Retail (a firm that helps businesses enhance their digital capabilities) and Uber for the service.
The innerwear company is also calling upon the help of micro-fulfillment centers, or “ghost kitchens,” for faster local delivery.
“It’s the same concept when you order food,” Grede explained. “It’s not from [the main] restaurant, but from somewhere closer to you, so it tastes fresher. It’s really an innovation in the supply chain; an innovation in technology and distribution that was led by our own evolving shopping habits and how we live our lives.”
Kardashian added: “Innovation has been so important to me since the day we launched Skims. Every way we advance the brand is based on the needs of our community.”
Big-box retailers, such as Walmart and Target, as well as e-commerce giant Amazon, have been doing this for some time. Specialty retailers, such as American Eagle Outfitters, have recently started to leverage this model, as well. But Skims is one of the first direct-to-consumer digital brands to do this.
“I’m so proud that we’ll be able to make a deeper connection with our customers through localized, instant delivery and become more of a trusted resource for them,” Kardashian said.
Skims launched the pilot program in L.A., but that’s only because that’s where the business is located. “You should always try things in your own backyard first,” Grede said.
He added that shoppers in other parts of the country might be getting their Skims in two hours’ time fairly shortly.
“If customers respond positively to it, then we’re absolutely ready to roll out [the program] over the next three, four or five major American cities in the next six months,” Grede said. “That’s the plan. But the customers will vote and tell us what they think.”
Consumers can choose from some of Skims’ best-selling pieces (many of which sell out in minutes online), as well as from the core collection across innerwear, lingerie and shapewear. Grede didn’t specify exactly how many pieces would be available for two-hour delivery, but did say the assortment consists of 500 skus. (Meaning one piece could come in multiple colorways.)
Meanwhile, Skims, which Kardashian and Grede founded in 2019, continues to grow, attracting a loyal following (currently 3.8 million people on Instagram) and drawing attention to the larger shapewear industry, even as it expands into other product categories, such as bras and loungewear. Kardashian has also hinted that she would like to expand into men’s basics and shapewear, but no date has been set.
“Our company is focused on innovation,” Grede said. “And we are constantly in development of multiple new categories. Which categories see the light of day and when is really driven by when we think we’re bringing something new to the market and something new that the customer currently isn’t getting somewhere else.”
It helps that the company has an extra $240 million to do this. In January, Skims revealed a series B funding round, led by Lone Pine Capital, bringing Skims’ valuation to $3.2 billion. Kardashian and Grede said they would retain a controlling stake in the brand.
“We’re certainly not sellers of our business,” Grede said, adding that there are no current plans to take Skims public either. “Fundraising was really about expanding the capabilities and building up the balance sheet, because Skims has gone through a period of extraordinary growth. We had a very strong fourth quarter and we’re very excited to see those trends carrying over to the first quarter of this year. And [fundraising was] to be able to compete effectively on a global scale.”
Outside of the U.S., Skims is available in Selfridges in the U.K. and parts of Europe, as well as wholesale partners in select international markets. But Grede said the need for extra capital is also a result of what’s happening Stateside — what he described as an “insane demand” for the brand.
Case in point: Skims’ revenues topped $400 million last year, up from $275 million the year before. And suddenly, Skims seems to be everywhere.
Skims designed the official undergarments, sleepwear and loungewear worn by Team USA athletes during 2021’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The brand continued the partnership during the Beijing Winter Games, adding high-profile names such as Olympic gold medalist and snowboard champion Chloe Kim to the list of ambassadors. Other high-profile models and ambassadors for the brand include Kate Moss; Megan Fox; sister Kourtney Kardashian; Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter and actress Rumer Willis; and former inmate Alice Marie Johnson.
Last fall, Kardashian partnered with Kim Jones, artistic director of men’s at Dior and artistic director at luxury fashion house Fendi, for a capsule collection at Fendi. The collaboration generated more than $3 million in sales within the first 10 minutes of launch and included everything from shapewear and lingerie to rtw and outerwear. Around the same time, Fendi x Skims pop-up shops opened in several cities around the world, many of which were reported to have had hours-long wait times for consumers to experience the products IRL.
“There is no doubt that at some point we will have to go into physical retail, we just haven’t decided exactly how and when to do it,” Grede said. “But it is something we’re actively exploring, of course.”