In 2011, Kim Kardashian caught an all-time burn: labeled talentless in a nationally-televised interview.
That wouldn’t happen today.
Not after her apparel brand, Skims, closed a $270m fundraising round, valuing the company at $4B — and cementing Kim K.’s standing as a talented businesswoman.
Skims’ valuation isn’t shabby for any company, but especially not for a four-year-old direct-to-consumer business.
Speaking of DTC…
…in the 2010s, DTC brands were everywhere. You couldn’t scroll social media without being served an ad for Warby Parker glasses, Casper mattresses, or Glossier cosmetics.
Many DTC brands raised large amounts of capital, but struggled with something pretty important — profitability.
Earlier this year, Fast Company proclaimed “the era of DTC brands is over,” citing reasons like:
- Less VC investment: With high inflation and volatile markets, VC firms scaled back on the deals keeping many DTC brands afloat.
- The push for data privacy: Apple’s iOS updates made it harder for brands to use consumer data for hyper-targeted ads.
Once-popular DTC brands have been in freefall, which begs the question…
How’d Skims buck the trend?
They followed a different playbook — unlike other DTC brands that relied on paid ads, Skims took a more balanced marketing approach, utilizing organic social, email marketing, and collaborations to reach its customers, 70% of whom are millennials and Gen Zers.
It worked: Skims is on track for $750m in sales this year, up 50% from 2022. And it keeps expanding its offerings — launching with just shapewear and intimates in 2019, Skims has since added clothing, loungewear, swimwear, and children’s items.
This growth has kept investments rolling in, leading Kim K. and co. to 4x unicorn status.
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