Accessible Luxury & Selling Skateboard Wax: Apparel Brands and How they Appeal to Target Audiences
Marketing experts from Gorjana, Chubbies, Shinesty, and Public Rec discuss the various strategies each brand uses to find (and keep) customers.
Jared: Welcome to the Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Jared Walls, associate producer, and Stirista's creative copy manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders, to get their take on the current challenges of the market, but also have a little fun along the way. We're taking a break this month and thought we'd reshare some takeaways from season one. In this episode, we hear from Kyle Brucculeri and Kenah Cooper, vice president of marketing and director of marketing from Gorjana; Erich Hellstrom, manager of retention marketing at Chubbies; Jens Nicolaysen, co- founder and CMO at Shinesty and Howie Zisser and Zach Goldstein, head of marketing and CEO and founder at Public Rec. They discuss the various strategies each brand uses to find and keep customers. Give it a listen.
Kyle: ...perspective, and obviously, as a guy, right, and having a different viewpoint than most women who comprise the majority of our audience, right? Although, guys do wear our jewelry, I think, it's attainable. And accessible luxury, I think is one of the phrases that we like to use. Because like you mentioned, our price point isn't very high. It's very accessible to a wide variety of people, but you have that high- end luxury feel to it. So you can look like a million bucks without spending that much. And I think that appeals to a lot of people, and I think it represents our core values as a brand, right? We're very inclusive, but also high- end. We're from Laguna Beach. We're from California and as a Californian- based brand, it's a melting pot, and so is our customer base. And we want to make sure that we represent those values of being inclusive and being welcoming, but also being beachy and attainable. Everyone loves the beach, or at least, most people love the beach. And most people, when you picture a vacation, where do you picture it? You picture it on a beach somewhere. And I think we like to be able to evoke that vibe and that feeling. And like you said, I mean, it makes you feel good, you know? And I think that's something a lot of our customers can relate to when they wear our jewelry.
Kenah: Yeah, I was going to say inclusive as well. And I think that's really a breath of fresh air in our industry. I mean, we have a lot of competitors that produce extremely similar product. But the thing that Kyle and I really challenge the team to do is, always speak in an approachable tone. And our tone is that, that's between friends. So, we want our brand to not only have approachable price points and approachable product, but we really don't want to be speaking in this holier- than- thou voice or in this fashion voice, in our email or in any of our assets. We want to talk to you like we're your girlfriend. And that's where we're finding a lot of success and building a lot of community.
Erich: And there's a lot of different things we look at and leverage we pull. But specifically for me, it's looking at how we're performing on ads and email, kind of things that we can directly influence. So, every week, looking at how much spend is going to people, like customers we already have, what type of return we're getting on that, how much we're getting from email, what the lifetime value of a newly- acquired customer is over the first 30 days and then after that. And then how much extra revenue we're making from there. We have a rewards program where you can sign up and for every purchase, you're getting points. And you can do certain things, like leave a review, like us on social and get points, which is pretty much just free discounts. So a big part of my role too, is figuring out how to use that to re- engage people.
Speaker 5: Gotcha. And are there specific marketing tools that you like or that you use on a daily basis for things like email?
Erich: Yeah. I mean, we use Klaviyo. So, I'm deep in the game on Klaviyo. I've spoke at their conference last year. It's a cool platform. But yeah, it's a crazy amount of time in there. And we do a lot of our reporting out of Looker. So, I do a lot of the email data side, so weekly reports on Looker and stuff like that.
Speaker 5: Gotcha.
Erich: Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 6: And Erich, you... I want to back up on something you said, so you were actually a retail store manager at one point, and then you shouldered your way onto the marketing team. Talk to me about that. I mean, it's almost in a way it's like, from the ground up, if you will. But tell me about that transition? How did that happen? Was someone just like," Hey man, the store has been doing well, go in the marketing team?"
Erich: Yeah. So what worked well for me is, I kind of... I really wanted to work for Chubbies because I knew of the brand for a long time. I kind of knew what the voice was, like, it's a kind of a comedy- centric brand and I did improv comedy and comedy writing even before working for Chubbies. So, once I got in there, I just looked for opportunities to, not only use it in the store, like when customers would come in, we'd really joke around with them. And it was kind of a unique experience because the things that people were seeing on the website and email, on social, they're coming into the store and we were providing it in person, which was great. So it kind of gave me a leg up and kind of got noticed for that. But even then, we have a Slack channel, it's called... It's an email subject lines one, that I got myself into just because they knew I was kind of funny. And I just started writing free subject lines in there. So I probably wrote a couple of thousand subject lines even before they started paying me to be on the marketing team, which was cool. And then, I had a good relationship with the director of e- commerce marketing at that point. After a year of being in that channel and doing some other marketing stuff for him, helped shoot some stuff and actually write some emails while I was a manager. So, I used that to my advantage, which was nice.
Jens: Yeah, I got into marketing because originally, in college, I was kind of interested in psychology. I was just really interested in why people made the decisions that they did. And then you get this... You realize there's this whole branch of consumer behavior, which is, I think, the foundation of marketing and why people make the decisions that they do. And ultimately, how can you influence those to your advantage or your company's advantage? But I pretty quickly realized, I didn't really want to be a psychologist and didn't want to be in academia. My family was always really entrepreneurial. I started my first business when I was 12 or 13 or something like that, selling skateboard wax to different skate shops in Phoenix. So I always wanted to start my own business. I always wanted to be entrepreneurial. And so I landed in marketing because I thought," Hey, this is kind of where the rubber hits the road with consumer behavior. And I'm really interested in how you create products that really resonate with people, get your message out about them and ultimately, find ways to convert people to customers and then loyal customers." And so that took me originally into, essentially management consulting, but with a marketing focus. I worked for a large consulting group, doing projects, mostly for the Pernod Ricards and Starbucks and Diageos and Nestle's of the world. And so you really got a chance to see how the biggest brands build brands and create really smart businesses. Eventually, when I met my business partner and he had the genesis of the idea for Shinesty and I was like," Man, I get this. This was me in college. I'm ready for the next step. I'd love to see where the rubber hits the road." And so, I was kind of able to go from more philosophizing and research and the consulting side to actually, learning where the rubber hits the road and how you actually build a brand, how you actually build a business. And I definitely think that's my calling. And I love what I do.
Speaker 5: And Jens, what are some of the channels that you guys focus on, right now, to grow the brand?
Jens: That's a great question. Yeah. I mean, we, like a lot of brands, do have a pretty large paid program that we've... You know, across search and social, direct mail's a big one. We have huge focuses on our internal customer databases. So email is big for us. We're launching SMS. We have big focuses on SEO as well. It's one of those, not everyone understands it, but it's really, really powerful when you can harness it. Takes a while to build and build right, but I think between all of that... And we also... They're not necessarily channels, but we kind of consider the site a channel in a lot of ways. And figuring out how you constantly are making a better, higher converting site and surfacing the right products to the right person, kind of becomes its own exercise in targeting and product market fit, in the same way that you're creating targeted creative overlap when you do paid or something like that.
Speaker 6: And Jens, talk to me about the skateboard wax company? That did not come up in our research. crosstalk Tell me about that? Where did you get this wax?
Jens: I don't think that one's on my LinkedIn resume.
Speaker 6: Yeah.
Jens: I would buy these huge, like... I mean, they were almost like, maybe 18 inches by 12 inch bricks of wax. And I would melt them down and add color to them and try to increase the paraffin content to make it really slick, so that you could use it for skateboarding. And it was called Mama's Recipe. Sold it to tons and tons of skate shops around the Phoenix area for a while and had a lot of fun doing that. It fizzled out as I got into high school and found other passions and... But it was kind of like, my family was always really entrepreneurial and I was really interested in figuring that out, even from a young age.
Speaker 8: We've been getting inbound from women for a long time now, like," Can you make this for us? Can you make... have a women's offering?" And so, that's a demand that we felt for a little bit now and felt comfortable testing into and seeing how the brand would resonate with women. And then, as you mentioned, one of the big things that we've done to differentiate the brand and for the product, is offering waist and length sizing because for men, leisure pants, normally, small, medium, and large, often don't fit because of that. And it was, why is it? It feels like that was being ignored for men. And then as we started to learn more about the women's space and understand how women shop, it was like, that's the same problem, if not even greater for women. Of like, they don't have a waist and an inseam, it's one size. So it's like, it often doesn't fit well. It needs alterations or you just need to find a brand that fits you. And so, the same kind of problem and messaging that we were trying to solve for men, seemed to resonate and transfer to women. And so, spent a bunch of time developing products, spent a bunch of time sharing the product with women, getting feedback, understanding if it was resonating, if the fit was right. And got comfortable with, it makes sense now for the brand and went after it. Yeah. Like I said, we launched December 2020, worked on it for probably two years before that. And we're still learning, we're still figuring it out and getting customer feedback and figuring out what works for women. And yeah. But it's been a great launch for us. And we're excited to keep growing it.
Jared: Thanks for listening to the Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. We'll be back with full episodes in September, but until then, please tune in for a month of special topic, focused recaps from our season one guests. As always, please like, rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at info @ themarketingstir. com. See you next week.