DTC brand Mack Weldon proves a good fit for consumers living through the pandemic
While many apparel retailers were rattled by the novel coronavirus pandemic, direct-to-consumer men’s essentials brand Mack Weldon experienced an unexpected tailwind after the initial shock of the first two weeks of pandemic disruption. Since then, the brand has consistently found ways to optimize its positioning and connect with consumers.
In a BrainTrust Live session earlier this week, RetailWire editor-in-chief George Anderson spoke with Mack Weldon founder and CEO Brian Berger about how the brand has continued to meet the needs of its loyal customers and attract large numbers of new ones since the pandemic hit. In terms of marketing, this came down to finding the appropriate tone.
“Not everybody is having the same experience,” said Mr. Berger. “It’s really important to meet people where they are and not be so self-interested as our brand might be during normal times. We have definitely adjusted the tone of our marketing … where we typically would be very chest thumping about how awesome our product is … it’s really more a message around meeting the customer where they are and how can our product help make them more comfortable while they’re in an environment that is inherently uncomfortable.”
The messaging, and the product itself, has resonated with an audience both seeking comfort and spending a lot of time at home. Mack Weldon’s Ace sweatpants line, for instance, has experienced a 200 percent year-over-year increase. Mr. Berger considers the line of comfortable yet fashionable sweatpants to be one of the brand’s “hero” products with the ability to bring in new loyal customers.
The pandemic also inspired Mack Weldon to move into masks, specifically with a type of antimicrobial fiber the company had already been using in t-shirts and underwear that seemed relevant to the hygiene concerns of the mask-wearing public.
Despite Mack Weldon’s product selection and e-commerce-centricity setting them up inherently for pandemic success, Mr. Berger sees potential concerns for the holiday season, most notably hiccups in on-time fulfillment given the potential impact of COVID-19 on mail and logistics.
“What we’re doing to mitigate that is encouraging people to not leave it to the last minute this year really to make sure that they shop early [to] take the stress out of it,” said Mr. Berger.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What attributes have set non-essential retailers and DTC brands that have been successful during the pandemic apart from those that have struggled? What do you think of Mack Weldon’s less “self-interested” approach to marketing during the pandemic?