Some of us are very conscientious when we look at where our food comes from. We check to see if the fruits have pesticides, are the eggs free-range, and whether that orange juice is pasteurized.
But most of us have no idea about how our clothes, bags or shoes are made.
Everlane, an apparel company started in 2011, has a policy of Radical Transparency that aims to change all of that.
Founded by Michael Preysman on the premise that customers should know what goes on behind each price tag, Everlane promises to be transparent in every aspect of their business, and to deliver high-quality products at affordable prices by skipping unnecessary middlemen.
In less than three years, Everlane was reported to be generating $12 million in revenue, with some of their products carried by movie stars.
Let’s find out how they managed to achieve all that:
1. Everlane’s radical transparency connects them with discerning customers who will tell their friends about such an awesome brand.
Many of us are aware about the dark side of the apparel industry, and how little we know about what exactly goes on behind the making of our clothes.
The modern consumer is now more aware, ethically-conscious and skeptical. They demand to know more, but most companies probably wouldn’t oblige.
And that’s why Everlane’s core narrative of being radically transparent about their business is extremely important and inspirational.
They have visual fact sheets outlining how much everything costs, including how much the brand earns for every shirt and bag:
All the factories involved in making Everlane’s products are also documented on their website, with information like their origin, the number of workers, and Everlane’s staff insights when they visited the factories. They also have photos to show their working conditions:
Everlane believes in empowering their customers with information, so that they can make well-informed decisions.
This level of openness also shows a great deal of respect and trust they have in their customers.
Word-of-mouth pro-tip: Just as we respect people who are honest, being open about the way you run your business will allow your customers to trust you.
2. Everlane’s Transparent City tours invite the public to check out their garment factories in Los Angeles, so they know exactly how their clothes are made.
In July 2014, Everlane hosted their first Transparent City Tour, where they invited a few fashion icons on Instagram to visit their tee factory and dye house in LA.
While Everlane has always been open in the way they document the factories that produce their clothing, inviting members of the public to actually visit those factories firsthand takes transparency to a new level.
These Instagram influencers who visited the factories and were impressed would definitely talk about the brand on their profiles, helping to spread the name of the brand to their respective followers.
Word-of-mouth pro-tip: Influencers have the ability to reach out to thousands of people at once. Invest time and effort in getting them excited about your brand, so they will share the good things about you to their followers.
3. Everland’s packaging makes you feel warm inside and encourages you to share photos of their stuff on social media
When it comes to shopping, every aspect of the buying process is an opportunity to romance your customers.
Many companies spend a lot of time and effort in making sure their packaging leaves a good impression.
At Everlane, every product comes with a nice environmentally-friendly wrapping, and a short thank-you note that encourages customers to share photos of their stuff on social media:
This additional gesture feels personalized, and shows that the company pays attention to even the small details.
Word-of-mouth pro-tip: Your customers are the foundation of your company, so show them gratitude whenever you can.
4. Everlane’s #WhereITravel Instagram campaign received 11,000 travel photos from fans, with the best being featured in a gallery.
According to Preysman, most of their customer acquisition comes from word of mouth and their active social media presence.
In an Instagram campaign they held in 2013, fans were asked to tag their summer vacation photos with the hashtag #whereItravel.
Each week, 10 of the best photos would be chosen, and would be included in a gallery in NYC.
The campaign ended with more than 11,000 photos bearing the hashtag. Everlane even hosted an opening night reception for the public to check out the selected photos.
While the campaign generated buzz and customer engagement for the brand, it also served to turn the spotlight back to celebrate the fans who had supported the company.
Word-of-mouth pro tip: The more you make your customers happy, the more likely they’ll tell their friends about you.
5. Everlane invited customers to try out their new pants and give feedback, which ended up having a 12,000-person waiting list.
In making their first pants, the folks at Everlane spent more than a year designing and refining their designs and fit.
But perhaps what ignited the epic waiting list was when Everlane invited some of their customers to try on their prototypes.
These lucky individuals not only got a chance to try on the pants before anyone else, but their opinions and feedback were also taken into account for the final release!
Now that had to generate a lot of buzz for the brand and some serious bragging rights for those fans.
Word-of-mouth pro tip: People love exclusivity; to experience things that others don’t have a chance to. Get customers involved in something special and exclusive, like trying out your latest prototypes and product features.
As we can see, Everlane places high importance in empowering their customers and making them feel as much love as possible.
From showcasing their photos to gathering their feedback for their products, Everlane customers get to feel like they’re actually a part of the company.
Questions to ponder:
- How can you get your customers involved in your product-making process?
- What’s the best way to make them feel proud to be your customer?
- How do you show them that you really treasure them?
For more examples on how to empower and celebrate your fans, make sure you check out Australian leggings company Black Milk.