If you love the sultry aesthetic only lingerie can procure, then you’ve certainly stumbled upon Adore Me. The self described “New Face of Lingerie” certainly deserves the moniker as Adore Me has in only a short amount of time come to be the go-to destination for this sexy apparel. Morgan Hermand-Waiche, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the brains behind the operation and the driving force behind Adore Me’s phenomenal success. He took the time to chat with TechDay to discuss how the brand has garnered so much visibility and what he would advise other startup founders do who aim to follow in his footsteps.
Adore Me has grown to be such a widely recognized brand in only a short number of years. Is there a particular relationship you’ve formed since the company’s inception that can, in part, be attributed to this success?
Adore Me’s success and brand recognition can be attributed in great part to its value proposition – meaning that what Adore Me is offering is fundamentally better than anything else out there: more affordable, more inclusive, more fashionable. Of course, having this value proposition backed by insightful VCs and industry leaders who share knowledge and advice on how to grow the business, is useful – but Adore Me’s exponential growth is better explained by the fact that the brand is disrupting an industry in dire need of disruption.
Where has Adore Me sought out relationships and connections that have allowed them to grow – whether it be an investor, a partner an executive hire, etc?
Relationships and connections are a matter of finding a good fit, and being at the right place at the right time. I attended some really great schools - in France (Les Mines) and in the US (Harvard MBA) - and started my career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. These are great places to make connections and to meet interesting people. But at Adore Me, employees have very diverse backgrounds, which strongly contributes to the brand’s company culture that’s always been Adore Me’s greatest asset in growing so fast.
Are there particular collaborations you’ve worked on with other companies you’ve connected with that helped foster Adore Me’s visibility?
Adore Me very often collaborates with other brands in order to foster visibility: partnering brands include Casper, BaubleBar, Birchbox, Jet, etc. Collaborating with other New York startups that have the same type of positioning is a great way to increase Adore Me’s visibility in the eye of the customer. Collaborating with models or influencers also has a strong impact on visibility.
Does Adore Me find more value in online outreach or through events and more interpersonal experiences in terms of gaining visibility?
Up until recently, Adore Me has been an online-only brand – and has been very successful at online outreach. Recently, Adore Me opened a showroom in its NY office where customers can come try on and purchase Adore Me products – and that has been a great opportunity to meet these customers face to face, get their feedback (thoughts about the brand, about the product, the experience). It’s incredibly valuable for an online brand to be able to meet its customers.
What was the marketing strategy most widely utilized when first starting out? Has this changed as Adore Me has grown?
As an online-only startup, Adore Me started with the traditional online marketing strategies and it paid off. Beginning of 2015, when Facebook CPAs were going through the roof, Adore Me took the plunge and went into offline advertising: on national TV. Going to national TV advertising was like going against everything in Adore Me’s DNA – TV generally being reserved to big behemoths and giant brands. But Adore Me managed to create a strong offline marketing strategy and now advertises on all major TV channels with a wide range of different TV creatives.
For the strategies that are currently most successful, why do you think that is?
Adore Me is a fashion brand, but also a data-driven startup. Every decision taken at Adore Me is backed by figures and data. We test everything we can, and don’t rely on what industry leaders tell us works and doesn’t – we want to figure it out on our own and not rely on intuition. As an example, Adore Me has been A/B testing the pictures on the website, to see what resonates best with its customers. While industry leaders said that blonde glamazones are the models that work best, turns out that brunette plus-sizes resonate better with all shoppers.
For early stage startup companies just getting their feet of the ground, what could you recommend as a first step in getting their name out there?
I highly recommend online advertising, and playing around with the different levers until you understand what the best mix is for you and your brand. Targeting plays an important part of any strategy: refining your targeting strategy will get you very far. I recommend testing and testing and testing until you find something that makes sense for you.