Stripe & Stare’s Sustainable Success Story – WWD - Upsmag - Magazine News

Stripe & Stare’s Sustainable Success Story – WWD

Again in pre-pandemic instances, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum selected Stripe & Stare because the underwear model of the longer term. It was in the course of the museum’s 2016 retrospective on underwear by way of the ages and the way undergarments have mirrored girls’s liberation. 

Stripe & Stare makes knickers out of beech bushes and Tencel micro modal materials. Courtesy Picture

The British-based model was simply getting began then. (Stripe & Stare formally launched in 2017 after roughly a decade of analysis and improvement into sustainable materials and sourcing.) However the museum selected the beginner model exactly as a result of it mirrored the theme of the exhibit: Stripe & Stare’s materials had been mushy and liberating. 

“They stated they chose our product due to our dedication to sustainability and the enjoyable, flirty designs that provide most consolation, which represented the way forward for underwear,” Katie Lopes, cofounder and inventive director of the agency, instructed WWD. 

stripe stare set

Stripe & Stare makes bras and units. Courtesy Picture

The uber-girly assortment can be becoming for a museum. It’s like sweet for the eyes. There are vigorous neon colours, alongside designs of stripes, stars, rainbows, hearts, animal prints, catchy phrases and different playful patterns. There are additionally rompers and tanks and males’s underwear and bathing robes. (That’s British for robes.) 

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Underwear from Stripe & Stare. Courtesy Picture

The choice apart, consumers solely want to the touch Stripe & Stare’s materials to really feel how mushy they’re: the knickers and pajama units are constituted of beech bushes and Tencel micro modal materials, grown in a forest from responsibly-sourced bushes. Packaging is constituted of biodegradable plant supplies with a reminder to compost after use and tags are all product of recycled cardboard. The model turned an authorized B Corp in 2022. 

Stripe Stare

Stripe & Stare merchandise are available in biodegradable packing containers constituted of plant supplies. Courtesy Picture

However Lopes — a former store proprietor and purchaser in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, and later in Notting Hill — was planting the seeds for sustainability lengthy earlier than it turned an trade buzzword. 

“I had my very own shops in London, promoting up to date trend manufacturers equivalent to Rag & Bone and Zimmermann, and I couldn’t discover an ideal pair of underwear for on a regular basis put on,” she stated. “So I began creating our personal vary for our clients. It was at a time after we had been starting to grasp the harm trend was doing to the planet. So it felt like in the event you had been going to begin one thing new it needs to be performed in a greater manner. The 2 key points I wished to handle had been consolation for on a regular basis — one thing that was not boring and frumpy — plus sustainability. That is significantly vital for underwear, which is one thing that can’t be purchased secondhand and one thing we use on a regular basis. At the moment just one % of underwear was sustainably sourced. 

“Founding a enterprise is tremendous robust, however figuring out we’ve an ideal product provides us confidence,” she continued. “Our primary supply of latest clients is thru phrase of mouth. We wish to make sustainable underwear mainstream.”

Stripe Stare founders

Stripe & Stare cofounders Katie Lopes, left, and Nicola Piercy. Courtesy Picture

Quick Ahead six years — and with the assistance of cofounder Nicola Piercy— and the London-based model is rising quick. Revenues surged greater than 3,000 % between 2019 and 2022, with a present valuation of roughly $15 million. The direct-to-consumer startup’s enterprise has additionally grown to incorporate wholesale partnerships, each within the U.Ok. and Stateside, with the likes of Selfridges, Shopbop, Revolve and Bloomingdale’s. Zalando is coming in January.  

“We love partnering with retailers,” Lopes stated. “It’s a good way of getting in entrance of latest clients.”

LSF x SS Collab 1

LoveShackFancy entered the underwear market by the use of a partnership with Stripe & Stare. Courtesy Picture

There have additionally been collaborations with LoveShackFancy and The Residence Edit. The model is at present in talks with different manufacturers within the U.S., Australia and Brazil, in addition to a potential partnership with a European influencer, though Lopes declined to say who. 

LSF x Stripe Stare

Items from the LoveShackFancy x Stripe & Stare collaboration. Courtesy Picture

The style entrepreneur added that previous collaborations have yielded seven-figure income returns, whereas growing general model consciousness. “Fortunately, so many ladies love our vary and are comfortable to inform the world. So we’ve all the time had numerous partnership choices,” she stated. 

It’s not simply shoppers who’ve taken word of the model. Buyers have additionally observed progress. The model has been approached by potential consumers, all of which Lopes has turned down — for now.

“We now have actually been in the precise place on the proper time,” she defined. “The #MeToo motion noticed a seismic shift in girls’s underwear procuring habits. In a short time girls wished underwear that was tremendous snug whereas nonetheless providing an ideal aesthetic. The times of horny, uncomfortable underwear designed with the male gaze in thoughts not felt proper for contemporary girls. The significance of purpose-led procuring additionally elevated with shoppers caring an increasing number of how and by whom their merchandise are made. And the pandemic was one other issue with an increasing number of procuring on-line and other people at dwelling desirous to spend money on consolation.”

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Briefs from Stripe & Stare. Courtesy Picture

To assist with the model’s fast progress, Stripe & Stare introduced on a brand new chief govt oficer final September. Cathay Newnes Smith, who hails most lately from British clothes retailer Boden, brings along with her greater than 20 years of retail expertise and experience in product, merchandising, shopping for and advertising and marketing.  

“Nicola and I would not have the model progress background that Cathy has. So she actually is aware of what it takes to turn into a giant enterprise, whereas we carry the model identification and start-up mentality,” Lopes stated. “She is bringing infrastructure to Stripe & Stare, which has been in start-up mode for the previous 5 years, simply maintaining with the demand. However it’s time to work on our methods, vary planning and constructing the crew to organize for additional progress. So it’s a nice mixture.”

stripe stare sleepwear

Sleepwear items from Stripe & Stare. Courtesy Picture

With Newnes Smith’s assist, the Stripe & Stare crew goals to develop its valuation to $100 million by 2027. 

“We’ll get there by growing our buyer base by way of collaborations, partnerships, digital advertising and marketing, wholesale [business], pop-ups and occasions,” Lopes stated. “We now have seen large success with routes equivalent to podcast partnerships, influencer partnerships from micro to macro and dealing with girls we admire to assist unfold the phrase.

“We nonetheless face many challenges — from growing provide chain prices to a cost-of-living disaster to a looming recession to growing digital advertising and marketing prices — as all firms are going through,” she continued. “However we’re in a great spot to climate the storm. Whereas we maintain our numbers conservative and are pretty threat averse, we’re additionally very formidable, so we all know it’s potential. The underwear market is so huge. We don’t want a really huge piece of it to attain this.” 

There are plans to develop the assortment with new silhouettes and innerwear types, though Lopes stated the main target will all the time be on intimates and “cool, snug, sustainable underwear.” 

“If we had been to diversify an excessive amount of into trend we’d find yourself doing lots of issues badly,” Lopes stated. “We’re actual believers in doing one factor properly and being very centered. Our goal is to promote one product to thousands and thousands of ladies — there’s a large market on the market for us to seize.”

Stripe Stare underwear

Prints from Stripe & Stare. Courtesy Picture

As well as, Lopes stated Stripe & Stare is contemplating getting into bodily retail or pop-up retailers to assist broaden model consciousness. She is at present in talks with Leap — a platform that helps e-commerce manufacturers as they arrange retailers IRL — to make the leap from digital to bodily. 

“It’s a very good time for offers in retail and we might have a look at any pop-up as a branding and advertising and marketing exercise for buyer acquisition and a spot the place we are able to inform our sustainable story as a lot as a income stream,” she stated. “There’s a lot scope to broaden in underwear and sleepwear.” 

Lopes stated she would possibly even be open to promoting the model “in a couple of years,” however added, “whereas we’re constructing the model, it could be that we’re having fun with it an excessive amount of and wish to continue to grow the corporate ourselves.” 

Increasing on her wishlist, Lopes stated, “If we had a limiteless finances, I might love an area in London and New York. One within the West Village and Chelsea or Notting Hill. However I believe that may be a manner off in the intervening time.”

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