Primarily an online business (the brand has around 60 bricks-and-mortar stores in the US and Canada), Everlane ships internationally to nearly 150 countries. One of its fastest growing markets is China, where the brand also sells on Tmall Global, a popular shopping platform run by Alibaba.
Everlane recently marked 12 months on Tmall Global with a campaign designed by local marketing agency Gusto Luxe to highlight the brand’s focus on sustainability. It was Everlane’s biggest initiative yet in the Chinese market.
Inside Retail caught up with Agustin Farias, Everlane’s international GM, to find out what the past year has been like, and what’s next for the fashion disruptor.
Inside Retail: Everlane launched on Tmall Global just over a year ago. How did Chinese consumers respond to the launch?
Agustin Farias: We have seen incredible reception in China since we launched on Tmall Global. The Everlane community is rapidly growing around the world and China is one of the fastest growing markets for Everlane. Chinese consumers are sophisticated and seeking eco-friendly lifestyles. Everlane’s mission of sustainability, transparency and ethical basics resonates with our Chinese customers.
IR: I know that Everlane ships globally, including to China, so why was it important to launch on Tmall Global?
AF: Tmall Global enables us to meet our customers where they are and connect with millions of Chinese customers. We are seeing incredible market response to our product. Tmall Global store provided the opportunity to engage and learn from our customers, which helped shape our offerings and provide a best-in-class experience.
IR: What have been some of the highlights from Everlane’s past year on Tmall Global?
AF: The past year in China exceeded our expectations. We’ve seen customers are looking for more sustainable options when shopping, and Everlane’s quality basics resonated.
We joined Tmall Global last August, and China quickly became one of our top international markets. Everlane has over 370,000 followers on Tmall and we continue to see positive buzz on social media.
Our first year we focused on building our foundation in China by spending this year listening and learning from our customers. As we continue to grow, we are excited about the potential to connect with more customers throughout China and evolve our offering in the market.
IR: What have you learned about the topics, trends, features, services that Chinese consumers really want?
AF: Chinese consumers are unique and we spent the past year listening to our customers to create a tailored experience in the market. We’ve seen an incredible interest from customers in living more sustainable lifestyles. We are also excited about the opportunity to create localised campaigns and product selections in the future.
IR: Tell me about the collaboration with Ele.me and Seesaw and the thinking behind that.
AF: To celebrate our one-year anniversary in China, we created an interactive and educational experience to engage our community in China. We were able to showcase recycled materials in both the Everlane product and packaging. This campaign is our largest yet in China focused on sustainability.
Consumers in China are increasingly more aware of their own environmental impact and looking to make informed purchases that are less wasteful. Everlane wants to inspire and empower our customers to reduce their impact.
We collaborated with Ele.me relab and Seesaw to make a gift box made from 100 per cent recycled materials. Each box is made from Ele.me’s takeout plastic and Seesaw’s coffee waste, and includes a QR tracking code so that customers can see the environmental impact of the box. The box also contains a limited-edition Everlane ReCotton T-shirt, organic coffee, and plant seeds.
IR: Are there any other exciting projects, collaborations, launches in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
AF: China is evolving fast and trends change quickly. We will continue to engage with our China customers through brand experiences and product launches. Longer term we are looking at opening new sales channels, investing in digital marketing and social e-commerce, and creating both online and offline campaigns that bring the brand to life.
IR: Are you planning anything special for the upcoming 11.11 sale?
AF: Double 11 is a unique shopping event that we are excited to celebrate with our Chinese customers. Beyond the alluring offers, we will have 100 live-streaming hours on the Tmall platform for our customers to have an interactive shopping experience. Plus, we launched an interactive social campaign to encourage customers to showcase their own style in their favorite Everlane products. We partnered with over 50 influencers across Weibo, WeChat and RED to wear and style Everlane products.