Lively CEO and Founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant sits down with us at Shoptalk 2019 to talk about how they're using community to drive commerce in an authentic way - and in so doing creating entire households of customers by partnering and empowering women who are "Wild at Heart, with Boss Brains".
- Brian and Phillip are interviewing Michelle Cordeiro Grant, CEO, and Founder of Lively live at #Shoptalk2019!
- Lively is more than just a lingerie brand, it's a community of women who are passionate and purpose driven.
- Does everybody need an emerald bralette with a stripe: Maybe?
- The intimates industry is valued at more than 13B a year, how does Lively differentiate itself?
- The Lively community has produced seven companies by merely bringing together entrepreneurial women with similar value systems.
From Concept to Customer: How Lively Came to Be:
- Michelle Cordeiro Grantt CEO and Founder of Lively, says she basically grew up in retail, starting at Federated Merchandising Group, working with brands like Macy's, before eventually landing at Victoria Secret where she spent most of her tenure.
- Something that really intrigued Michelle about Victoria Secret was the story behind the brand, and also the fact that while the lingerie-intimates industry is worth 13B per year, Victoria Secret owns 35% of that pie, which is pretty insane.
- This start-up was not going to be just another lingerie brand in the space, Michelle wanted Lively to be a brand that would represent individuality, passion, and purpose.
- Which is precisely what Lively is doing, and the brand has created a community and brand experience that encourages women to be powerful and purposeful.
Want vs. Need: Lively is Changing the Conversation Around Buying Bras:
- Why is the conversation around bras always about a replacement?
- When it comes to clothing or shoes, most women buy more than they "absolutely need," so why are bras always placed in a need-only category?
- Michelle makes the point that women have two types of bras they generally own, the really comfortable and yet hideous day-to-day bras, and the really beautiful semi-artwork bras that are horrifically uncomfortable, and Lively is aiming to change that narrative on lingerie.
- The focus of Lively's offerings is to offer beautifully crafted pieces (not only regular bras and undies they also sell swimwear and active bras) that are actually comfortable enough for every day.
- Really cool feature alert: 70% of Lively's bras don't have any underwire, which is excellent especially if women want to be comfortable and well, breath.
- And since sizing is so important to so many, Lively started out offering 22 sizes, but now offers 30, with plans to go even beyond that.
Community Driven Commerce: More Than Just a Brand:
- Brian asks how Lively is adjusting to the increased options in this market, especially since they were early adopters.
- Michelle makes it clear that Lively began, and continues its growth through community. Lively currently has 65,000 ambassadors all throughout the world, who promote the brand, and in exchange Lively will create events around those ambassador's interests.
- Lively is a digitally native D2C brand but has a physical retail location on in Soho in NYC, which allows the brand to offer a genuinely omnichannel brand experience, both online and in-store.
- Phillip asks if Lively has a unique customer that will shop online vs. in-store, Michelle says that when customers purchase in-store, they may leave with 7-9 bras enough to replace their entire collection, while online shoppers are more cautious buying less quantity because they are trying out the product.
- Also, Lively has tapped into generational commerce, with mother's and daughters shopping together in-store, and entire households of women purchasing products.
- And the absolutely best part of Lively is that they are entirely community-centric in their merchandising choices, increasing their offerings as requested by their customers, adding swimwear, sports bras, and their motto says it all "today bras and undies, tomorrow the world.
Lively is Bringing Women Together to Innovate and Create:
- Another way that Lively is fostering community is by actually having in-person events like "Founder Fridays," in which women entrepreneurs can come to Michelle's office and ask her all of the beginning questions that all entrepreneurs want answers to.
- Seven companies have been started after Lively's inception, just because of the community Lively fostered.
- Phillip questions what the next five years look like for Lively?
- "We've been very focused on long-term growth. We are very focused on retention and loyalty. Building out physical retail spaces but also leveraging community experience.
- Brian is so excited that in the year of clientelling Lively is working on building long term partnerships with their customers.
- This is especially important in a year that has seen record store closings for other.. less relationship... focused brands, like Victoria's Secret.
- So what can the Future Commerce audience learn from Michelle, and Lively?
- Michelle says that Lively has built its brand around the community, and they want to break down the glass wall that sees women-owned business only receiving 2% of VC funding.
- "When women are given the opportunity to lead, the things they will create will be logical and practical and amazing."
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