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Fragmented Swimwear Market Leaves Opening For D2C Brands

Looking through a person’s closet of swimwear, rarely would you find brand loyalty. The swimwear market is very fragmented, with people shopping more for style than for a specific label.

For Melanie Travis, founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand Andie, that smells of opportunity. Swimwear is a nearly $21 billion market, Travis said — but the only major player is Speedo, which is “quite different than Andie,” founded in 2017 and catering to millennial and Generation Z women.

“It’s such a fractured landscape, and what gets me so excited about the future is to build a truly generation-defining swimwear brand,” Travis said, with opportunities to offer more than just swim as the company grows. For example, Andie launched intimates in April and is “starting to make inroads in synergistic categories,” she said.

To be sure, a fragmented swimwear market means there are plenty of players to contend with, with more emerging every season. Victoria’s Secret, for example, just relaunched its swim line amidst a revitalization of the brand, and D2C brand MeUndies in May launched its first swimwear line alongside its underwear and comfort items.

See also: Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works Chart Separate Paths On Similar Trends 

Travis said, though, that growing “carefully and strategically” with a focus on understanding the customers in the digital landscape is key to Andie’s success. “I think we can build the next big go-to swim brand,” Travis said.

Andie started with a “very classic” product — “a little black dress of swimwear, something every woman could have in her swim drawer, even if she had other styles as well,” Travis said. From there, Andie expanded to other styles, but Travis said the brand focused on “only adding styles that women want and love.”

“We’re mad data scientists when it comes to growth and understanding the digital landscape, acquiring customers online and building a brand that really resonates with our core demographic,” she added.

Reaching Consumers

Facebook and Instagram have been a core part of Andie’s strategy in its first four years of existence, the CEO told PYMNTS, but the brand has also started doing more with TikTok — both in terms of working with influencers to start viral campaigns and paying for advertisements on the video social network.

According to research recently conducted by TikTok, 39 percent of users say TikTok videos are most likely to influence product purchases, second only to family and friends. Additionally, 67 of users said ads on TikTok capture their attention, and 72 percent said ads on the platform are inspiring.

“By being extremely rigorous with our approach to digital marketing across social platforms, we’ve been able to keep the customer acquisition costs really low as we scale, which is hard to do,” Travis noted.

Still, marketing on social media is hardly a unique phenomenon. In fact, social commerce has gotten so big that even social networks themselves are looking for a cut of the action. According to eMarketer, social commerce — which refers to discovering and purchasing products through social media apps — is projected to top $363 billion in sales.

Read more: Commerce Is Fast Becoming The New Battleground For Social Media Giants

All of this is perhaps part of the reason that Travis said Andie has reached a point where the company’s marketing strategies need to break out of the digital landscape in order to “put Andie on another level and drive more top-of-the-funnel awareness about Andie to a broader woman who maybe isn’t on Instagram.”

The most public effort has been Andie’s new advertising campaign with Demi Moore, who was one of the brand’s first investors. In the depths of the pandemic, Travis said she reached out to Moore and asked if she would be interested in doing ads for Andie with her three daughters. The result is a national campaign, including a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and ads all over New York City, in addition to digital ads.

Andie also partnered with actress and model Claire Holt, who has seven million followers on Instagram, to design a collection of swimsuits in order to appeal more to a Gen Z audience.

“It just felt like this stage of Andie’s growth is the right time to diversify our marketing efforts and partner with celebrities who … really resonate with our brand values,” Travis said.

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