In the world of fashion, what’s that famous motto of fashion consultant Tim Gunn?
“One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.”
For these three businesses, however, that doesn’t exactly ring true. My Subscription Addiction, ModCloth, and TOMS have a combination of 30 years in the fashion industry and quite memorable brands. Each holds strong to their cause.
How did they manage this long term success?
By focusing on community, these inspirational brands weave stories and styles together. Also, each business has taken a personalized approach to fill a niche need. So what are we waiting for? Let’s see what makes these successful small business brands boom in an industry as fickle as fashion.
My Subscription Addiction
My Subscription Addiction (MSA) all started with a beauty subscription box called Birchbox. Liz Cadman of Pittsburgh started a blog to review this monthly subscription. Fast forward and today she has developed a blooming branded website with more than 10 million page views monthly. Calculate that according to affiliate links and ad revenue including sponsored ads. Cadman is doing far more than supporting her subscription addiction.
Understanding subscription boxes
What exactly does My Subscription Addiction offer to sub box addicts? Cadman explains that, “Subscription boxes are the future of product discovery,” according to an interview in Forbes. Boutiques, beauty product brands, and even big box retailers like Target and Amazon are moving toward the sub box model. Businesses are providing monthly or quarterly sub options for consumers to sample their products.
And business is booming:
- The average subscriber on the MSA website has seven subs.
- Many visitors posting on MSA report getting dozens of sub boxes each month.
How MSA works
My Subscription Addiction provides an unboxing and review of every single sub service out there including:
- Box of Style by Rachel Zoe
- Adidas Avenue A
- Rockets of Awesome
- Loot Crate
And dozens more, with new subs popping up on the market each week.
The MSA website is a thriving community that gives fellow sub addicts a place to congregate. Cadman keeps things light and loving. She almost always puts a positive spin on box reviews. MSA is lively thanks to hundreds of comments on the most coveted reviews.
There is even a place where subbers can swap their least favorite items for those they wish they’d received. Everything is free for subscribers on MSA. They can click on various reviews to see if a box is worth their money.
And all of this awesomeness started when Cadman wanted to share her love for subs. She created a community where she could connect with others based on their subscription addictions. Cadman did have a background in fashion. Before MSA became uber popular, she was a senior product manager for ModCloth.
Queue the curtains for our next small business brand success story. ModCloth is an online community for fashion lovers. The motto behind this brand is fashion is for every body.
Meet the ModCloth line
ModCloth was established in 2002 by high school sweethearts Eric Koger and Susan Gregg Koger. They wanted to create a shopping site where consumers could purchase items from independent brands. The Kogers used community feedback and reviews from the site. From this ModCloth offered styles that real people want to wear. The site also provided a place to buy them.
Today ModCloth employs 350 from offices in Pittsburgh, LA, and San Francisco. Based on the community feedback about fashion, the company has created its own branded line of clothing. This brand meets the real needs of the fashion wearing public:
- You can purchase everything from shoes and swim to wedding attire and accessories.
- Clothing includes A-line dresses, plaid leggings, wrap dresses, and sleeveless jump suits.
- Fashionable prints and cuts are available.
- Fits are for sizes zero to 30 and up to 4X.
You’d be hard pressed to find any other fashion brands online that carry that diversity in sizing. ModCloth holds true to its mission by ensuring that each fashionable style stands up to every size. You can rest assured that your clothing will be cut to perfect.
For that kind of service you’d expect to see outlandish pricing. One move other brands has done is to increase pricing for larger sizes. Not the case with ModCloth. Its mission is to feature affordable pricing that doesn’t increase based on sizing. Better yet, whether you are into the flirty Fifties or hipster styles, ModCloth has a line for you.
Style Gallery for real people
The site also features a Style Gallery, intended to “Inspire and Admire.” where real customers can share their own photos while wearing ModCloth fashions. Whether you’re 18 or 80, a size 2 or 20, you can show off your styles on the site. The ModCloth community can get involved by loving, sharing, or shopping from the inspirational pics.
If you are an Amazing Race fan, then you’ve already met the founder of TOMS. The season 2 third-place champ Blake Mycoskie of Team Smiley with his Southern sister Paige were on the Amazing Race. While they missed the million dollar payout by minutes, TOMS has turned that around for Mycoskie. Most recently he sold part of his stake for $300, valuing TOMS at $625 million. Financially, you could say he definitely won out after losing on Amazing Race.
The TOMS mission
As for the TOMS brand, almost every shopper in the US has heard about TOMS shoes. Here are some fast facts about the brand:
- The original concept for the brand was “Shoes for Tomorrow Project.”
- TOMS promises to give a pair of shoes to a child in need.
- In the first year of business, TOMS gave 10,000 shoes to Argentine children.
- To date the company has given away more than 2 million pairs of shoes.
- Countries that have been served include Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, South Africa, and the US.
The TOMS business model has evolved to “One for One.” As a result, TOMS has helped more than half a million people restore their sight through charitable donations. The company is involved in:
- Clean water
- Anti-bullying projects
In terms of creating a community, TOMS has turned fashion into a charitable success story. The company allows shoe shoppers to have a part in helping others in some way.
Creating community through branding
Each of these fashion-based businesses have created a community that connects consumers with their love of fashions. This has propelled their brands through community engagement. Best of all, it has been achieved organically.
Additionally, these successful small business brands have created a niche where other fashion brands have missed the mark. It just goes to show how far you can go if you have passion and a community of like-minded individuals. You just may well have a brandable business in your own backyard.
> What have you done to build a memorable brand for your business? Leave a comment below and let us know!