Does Everlane need to open stores?
In 2012, Michael Preysman, founder of Everlane, the cult online apparel upstart, vowed to The New York Times that he would “shut the company down before we go to physical retail.”
Eliminating brick-and-mortar overhead allowed Everlane to keep prices reasonable. Prices range from $20 for a tank top to $68 for jeans and $100 for a cashmere sweater.
Known for its minimal aesthetic and “radical transparency” in disclosing the costs of its manufacturing process, Everlane has since experimented with pop-ups in New York City and inside Nordstrom. But earlier this year, Mr. Preysman in an interview with Quartz again reiterated his feelings on physical stores’ limitations by noting that he didn’t think any apparel store delivered a “great experience” on par with Apple or IKEA.
Instead, Everlane uses high-quality videos and imagery online as well as its periodic parties and pop-ups to bring the brand to life. He told Quartz, “It’s just all about how you use the medium that you have.”
Yet following the path of former online-only firms such as Bonobos, Warby Parker, Tuft & Needle as well as Amazon, Everlane on Sunday opened its first store, on Prince Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Mr. Preysman said in a statement. “Being online-only has significant advantages. It’s flexible, it’s lean, and it’s easy to scale. But it has two serious flaws. Customers don’t get to touch or try the product before they buy it. And we don’t get to have in-person — real-life — conversations with our community.”
The store features 257 of Everlane’s top-sellers. Its denim line is available to be tried on in-store but must be ordered online.
Having a store also gives management an opportunity to educate customers on Everlane’s sustainability focus. A landline phone plays back the sounds of its Los Angeles T-shirt factory. One section features cards with information about its contractor factories. Panels and community events are being planned to also highlight the retailer’s supply chain process and ethical standards.
Everlane will open a second store in San Francisco next February, but Mr. Preysman said the company will be “taking it slow” with its physical expansion.
- Site to Be Seen | Everlane.com – The New York Times
- Everlane: The San Francisco clothing company that launches t-shirts like they’re iPhones – Quartz
- Everlane Opened An Actual Physical Store After Saying Forever That It Wouldn’t – BuzzFeed
- Everlane has a huge cult following as a popular apparel website — here’s a look at its first-ever physical store in New York City – Business Insider
- Is it time for marketers to embrace radical transparency? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What benefits do you see Everlane gaining from opening a physical store? Does having an apparel focus or sustainable positioning make it more important that the chain have a physical presence?