The DTC lingerie market in the US has taken off: Spanx, ThirdLove, and Adore Me are all examples of brands that have made it in that space. Surely it’s only a matter of time, therefore, before this trend comes across the pond, to British shores. Here, DTC Daily speaks to Priya Downes (pictured below), director, Nudea, a brand hoping to be the pioneers of DTC lingerie shopping in the UK, to find out she has built her brand to date, and the process of building a product that is ready for market.
The DTC lingerie market in the US is booming, though in the UK it has been slower to catch on. What gap in the UK lingerie market is Nudea looking to fill?
The UK market remains polarised between high street giants competing on price and throwaway fashion and expensive designer brands focused on occasion lingerie. New disruptors have focused on fashion or niche solutions with a general de-emphasis of the craft of lingerie. Nudea is about quality, stylish comfort, and we focus on getting the right fit, day one.
The US market has seen huge success with challenger brands taking on the cultural migration away from the noughties image of “sexy” to a more honest and body-positive movement.
The UK and European markets have lagged behind in embracing this shift but there is a definite growing appetite for it now and we aim to use the best of new design technology to offer better options to the modern woman. Nudea’s mission is simple: to create beautifully crafted, functional underwear that not only fits and looks better, but can be worn throughout the day without compromising on comfort.
Nudea launches officially in September – how have you ensured the product is ready for market?
For over a year we have researched more than 600 women to understand the biggest issues they face when getting fitted, choosing and finally purchasing a Bra. By being custom focused and challenging and dissecting each step in the customer journey we have been able to perfect our product and DTC proposition.
This upfront investment in time and resources has contributed to our readiness to market – we understand our customer better and we feel confident that our launch product tackles the problems that real women face every day.
How have you gone about acquiring the initial customers for your brand, and what has the role of this initial ‘community’ been?
Mostly through our own extended networks and friends and family. We also ran very targeted facebook ads to recruit Women from different demographics and parts of the UK. We ran testing both on our pilot online fit finder but also gained a lot of direct feedback from live workshops that we ran around the country.
This community has not only been instrumental in helping us design our product and refine our offering, but they are our constant sounding board. They were our first followers on Instagram and social media, they have helped spread our brand message and recruit extended networks to our trials and workshops.
Nudea aims to revolutionise the fitting room experience by bringing the Bra Fit expert online. Our initial community were our first adopters to test our various tools to help get fitted, and many of them were so pleased with what they learnt in the process that they signed up to be Nudea Bra fit ambassadors for future fittings.
For launch we will be offering this community the chance to try our products first and tell us what they think of the final product and customer experience that they helped create.
Go forward they will be our first call on feedback on new products, designs and fitting experiences. Nudea is leading a lingerie rebellion and our initial community are our pioneers, we couldn’t have got to where we are without their input and honest feedback.
How has the data you have collected from product feedback and market research helped you develop the product?
First and foremost it has helped us design a better product – our bras, in particular, are extremely complex and are made up of up to 28 components. We have dissected each one and reengineered it to address the biggest issues we heard around fit and comfort.
Other learnings were around the fitting process and how we could better address that in the online world. Our fit finder and bespoke tape measure were born and refined on the back of our research.
The biggest surprise for us, however, was the social aspect of fitting; Women coming together as a group in a comfortable environment to get fitted amongst friends. This presents us with a unique opportunity to embrace the social aspect of fitting; especially in the offline space.
Beyond word-of-mouth from your initial customers, how do you plan to bring customers to the Nudea brand?
To encourage word of mouth we will be running Fit Parties that mimic those initial workshops for customers to bring a friend along. This will be a great space for us to educate and fit new customers, incentivising those that refer a friend to us. It also gives us a chance to engage some our most vocal and passionate early adopters from our initial community to share their fitting experience with new customers.
There is a certain amount of education that comes with our product, we have some unique fabric specs and smart tech that improves fit, not to mention communicating how a bra should fit so we’re certain that influencers will be a useful tool to push that message out for us too.
We think Paid Social will be a strong acquisition tool for us as it’s a chance for us to be really relevant with our ads and target audiences that are similar to existing customers and utilise video content to tell our story and educate the customer quite quickly.