How Everlane Became an Ecommerce Wunderkind in Fashion and Tech


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Like the enormously successful jewelry retailer Alex and Ani, Everlane charged the fashion world from the outside, experiencing a similarly meteoric rise in popularity. But, unlike Alex and Ani, they managed this extraordinary feat while operating solely online.

Everlane’s mission was laser-focused from the get-go: Manufacture and sell top designer-quality goods directly from the factory to consumers online. Founder Michael Preysman clearly thinks of Everlane in terms of a tech player, operating from the digital playing fields of San Francisco rather than, say, New York City. But he credits the company’s success to a marriage of East Coast design acumen with West Coast tech savvy.  

“Radical Transparency”

Everlane has been quick to embrace and capitalize on emerging digital marketing channels, such as social media marketing. The brand’s motto – “radical transparency” — is the perfect match for marketing strategies that incorporate consumer-generated content on social networks like Instagram and Facebook. Presyman says it would have been virtually impossible to imagine building the Everlane brand “[w]ithout Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps Snapchat—they are all modern marketing social channels.”

With their rapid growth since launching in 2011, the brand had to scramble to scale up to meet the demands. And going beyond simply meeting the demands, Everlane needed to retain the hordes of enthusiastic new customers who threatened to overwhelm the brand’s ability to engage effectively and fulfill orders efficiently.

Technology to Fuel Success

Precision and accuracy were critical to the management of their customer base, and that’s where Sailthru stepped in. In order to nurture durable relationships and devise targeted, resonant messaging, Everlane needed a more personalized approach – and for that, they needed data.

The first step was to improve Everlane’s ability to capture customer data and gain actionable insight into browsing behavior and buying patterns. And they needed to make sure their data infrastructure supported their marketing strategy seamlessly. “With Sailthru’s support, we were able to remove the bottleneck between marketing functions and developer engineer functions, allowing us to build our business,” says Nan Yu, Lead Engineer at Everlane.

Removing these bottlenecks meant Everlane had the time to focus on the questions that matter most for their business, as Preysman noted in Vogue, “How do we make returns easier? How do we get products in front of you faster, and simpler?”

Everlane continues to push the envelope on ecommerce, debuting an on-demand delivery service with Postmates last year that put it in the vanguard of retail partners who are at least partly responsible for propelling Postmates to its latest expansion.

That’s the kind of knock-on effect that has influence far beyond the world of fashion.

Kristine Lowery, Content Marketing Manager at Sailthru