Pointing the Way Forward

Last week SF reporter Maghan McDowell checked into True&Co. Headquarters and got the inside scoop on our latest news. We are thrilled to be sharing the spot light with our good friends over at ModCloth. Read below for the highlights of her SF Chronicle Piece that hit the news stands today! ~~~ In a world of automated Amazon shipments and algorithmically inclined apps, clothing and accessories retailer ModCloth and intimates maker True & Co. attracted loyal followings by listening to their customers and making the ecommerce experience feel “personal” even while expanding their assortment and customer base. This approach, and appeal, stood out to two major legacy companies. In late March, 15-year-old ModCloth was sold to Jet.com (which is owned by Walmart), and 5-year-old True & Co. was sold to PVH, the corporation behind Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

True & Co. carved a niche by challenging a conventional approach to lingerie. It flatters a woman’s mental and physical comfort, rather than appeal to a prescribed notion of how one’s underthings dictate one’s sex appeal. The True & Co. sale marks PVH’s first digital-first e-commerce acquisition, which means, ostensibly, that more customers stand to gain more access to its offerings. “This is very much an acquisition in the digital space,” said a PVH Corp. spokeswoman. “It’s a way for PVH to leverage the innovation and the data-driven mind-set in (founder Michelle Lam) and her team, and digital-first e-commerce acquisition leverage a brand that can grow on a great scale.”  

The company’s Fit Quiz, which has been mimicked by others, allows True & Co. to make hyper-personal product recommendations. “Our marketing is extremely targeted and personalized, so that we don’t annoy our 5.5 million quiz-takers,” Lam said. The data has informed True & Co.’s in-house line of intimates, introduced in 2013. At first, Lam said, she was reading the data literally — “purple bras are popular” — but she is now able to identify patterns. She saw customers moving away from pushup bras “from a mile away.” This led to the new True Body collection, which the company was able to bring to market in four months. 

But a home-run product doesn’t necessarily translate into smooth sailing. Lam said that although the company had its best sales quarter in the past three months, it has had to replenish stock six times over. To that end, PVH will provide a global supply chain. Lam’s first goal will be for True and Co. to always have available inventory. “It’s a perfect union of new school and old school,” she said.      

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