If you've ever shopped for bras and underwear, you know it's often far from easy. And this is where we see ThirdLove, a San Francisco-based company that is changing the game in lingerie. Co-founded by Heidi Zak and David Spector, ThirdLove has taken a sector known for discomfort and lack of diversity and transformed it into a tech-forward, inclusive industry leader.
But how did they do it?
And what can we, as entrepreneurs, learn from their journey?
Let's dive in and take a closer look at ThirdLove's successful playbook. We're about to unpack the secrets of this pioneering brand that has truly disrupted the lingerie market. So, sit back, relax, and let's start exploring.
Plus, find out how we can help you start making 100 sales per day in your own million dollar brand.
What is ThirdLove?
ThirdLove is an innovative direct-to-consumer lingerie brand founded in 2013 by Heidi Zak and David Spector. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company sets itself apart by leveraging technology and data to offer personalized, comfortable, and high-quality bras and underwear to women of all shapes and sizes.
ThirdLove has a unique approach to sizing and fitting. By utilizing a special process, ThirdLove produces bras that offer superior fit and comfort in contrast to typical bras. Their bras are created by utilizing measurements acquired from data analysis.
They offer over 80 different bra sizes, including half-cup sizes, filling a significant gap in the market. Their patented online Fit Finder Quiz uses data from millions of women to help customers find their perfect fit from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for awkward in-store fittings.
The company places a strong emphasis on inclusivity and body positivity, both in its product range and its marketing strategies.
Their commitment to challenging industry norms and putting customers first has made them a standout player in the lingerie market. Their journey offers many valuable insights for entrepreneurs looking to disrupt established industries.
Who founded ThirdLove?
Their combined expertise in marketing, finance, and tech set the stage for the creation of ThirdLove, a brand that would go on to disrupt the traditional lingerie market. Driven by a shared vision to make bra shopping a more personalized and comfortable experience for women, Zak and Spector started ThirdLove, a brand that embodies innovation, inclusivity, and customer satisfaction. Today, they continue to steer the brand, keeping it at the forefront of the industry.
What is its origin story?
The genesis of ThirdLove is rooted in personal experience and a noticeable gap in the market. Co-founder Heidi Zak felt frustrated with the traditional bra shopping process. The lack of sizes, uncomfortable fittings, and impersonal shopping experiences left her unsatisfied and unseen. She saw an industry that was ripe for disruption and decided to do something about it.
Along with her husband, David Spector, they set out to create a brand that focused on the needs and desires of all women. Leveraging Spector's experience in venture capital and Zak's marketing acumen, they launched ThirdLove in 2013.
Their mission was clear: revolutionize the lingerie industry by making the bra shopping process comfortable, personalized, and inclusive. To achieve this, they introduced innovative concepts like the online Fit Finder Quiz, a data-driven tool designed to help women find their perfect fit without stepping into a store.
The journey wasn't easy. The co-founders faced initial skepticism and pushback from industry veterans. But their relentless focus on customer satisfaction and belief in their mission paid off. Today, ThirdLove stands as a testament to its vision, having transformed the way millions of women shop for lingerie.
How was it funded?
ThirdLove raised $5.6 million in one of its initial seed rounds in August 2013, with the participation of investors like New Enterprise Associates, Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, etc. Soon after, when the company started getting some recognition, they went on for another round of funding. That's why in 2019, ThirdLove raised $55 Million in a Series B financing round. Some other notable investors who took part in this round included Anne Wojcicki, Susan Wojcicki, and Tim Armstrong. In terms of total funding data available online, ThirdLove has raised $68 million.
However, recently on May 12, 2023, ThirdLove bagged the Secondary-Private deal, although the details remain private as of now.
What made this brand grow?
Understanding what fuels ThirdLove's exponential growth requires an exploration of its key strategies. Let's break down their secret sauce into digestible points:
- Commitment to Fit and Comfort: ThirdLove offers a wide array of styles and sizes, including half-cups, to ensure every woman finds a bra that fits like a glove. This approach to personal comfort and fit sets the brand apart and attracts customers looking for tailored solutions.
- Leveraging Technology: The brand makes smart use of data and technology through its Fit Finder quiz. This tool recommends bras based on a woman's unique body type, harnessing technology for personalized shopping.
- Product Diversification: Beyond bras, ThirdLove expanded into underwear, loungewear, and activewear. This broadened their appeal, reaching more customers and diversifying revenue streams.
- Strategic Social Media Usage: ThirdLove uses social media platforms like Instagram to promote its products and build a community. They've collaborated with influencers and celebrities to boost their reach.
- Embracing User-Generated Content (UGC): The brand encourages customers to share images of themselves wearing ThirdLove bras. This UGC not only brings authenticity to its brand but also creates a sense of community among its customers.
In essence, ThirdLove's impressive growth is powered by a blend of customer-focused products, tech-driven personalization, strategic marketing, and savvy product expansion. Their unique approach sets them apart in the industry, transforming them from just a lingerie brand to a movement for every woman.
What is this brand's valuation?
ThirdLove's valuation remains confidential at this time. In February 2019, ThirdLove's valuation was estimated to be between $700 and $750 million. As a private company, ThirdLove is not obligated to provide financial data to the public.
What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from this brand?
The success of ThirdLove has a lot of learnings for someone who plans on starting and growing their business. But don't worry. We've done the leg work for you, and that's why these are some lessons that you should note from this company's rise to the top.
- If there's one thing entrepreneurs can take away from ThirdLove, it's the value of solving a problem in the marketplace. ThirdLove knew that many women were frustrated with the limited sizes and styles of the traditional bra industry. By providing a wider variety of options, they were able to capture a huge chunk of market share. This shows the importance of doing market research and finding areas where there's an unmet need.
- ThirdLove's brand is built on customer satisfaction, and it's easy to see why. They offer a Fit Finder quiz to help customers find the perfect size and style, and they also encourage customers to give feedback on their products.
- ThirdLove's success is also a testament to the power of brand identity. ThirdLove stands out from the competition because it advocates for inclusivity, body positivity, diversity, and representation. These values resonate with customers, who appreciate ThirdLove's commitment to being all things to all people.
- Building a solid brand identity is the key to building a customer base that will continue to support you. Not to mention their vision to promote women's empowerment and how it helped them to gain their customer's faith. In an interview, the CEO herself said that "Women founders are starting companies because they have a certain issue they encounter in their life, and they think they can create a better experience,"
To sum up, here are a few things you can take away from ThirdLove's success:
- It's important to figure out what's wrong in your market.
- Listen to what your customers have to say.
- Make sure your brand stands out.
What is the ThirdLove bra size quiz, and how does it help attract new customers?
The site features a specific section called Fitting Room, which allows one to take the quiz. The quiz begins with your current bra size and then goes on to ask you about any fit problems you've had in the past, as well as your breast shape (shallow vs. full, wide vs. narrow, and more). The quiz also asks you about your personal style preferences (do you like push-ups or wireless bras?).
Once you've completed the quiz, ThirdLove will send you your recommended bra size and style. This personalized bra fitting process has helped ThirdLove attract new customers because it provides a more precise and comfortable fit compared to traditional bra shopping methods.
Does ThirdLove offer discounts?
ThirdLove has a few different ways through which they offer discounts to their customers. For example, if you sign up for their email newsletter, you'll get exclusive product deals and discounts.
They also have sales on certain days of the year, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, where you can get discounts of up to 30%. And if you're looking for something else to save money on, they've got a sale section with bras and underwear at discounted prices quite frequently.
Apart from it, they offer two unique programs.
- Everyday Heroes: To be eligible, you must be an active duty military member, a veteran, a first responder, or a healthcare worker. You can check your eligibility by completing the ID.me verification process on Thirdlove's website. Once you've verified your status, you'll receive a special discount code that you can use at checkout to get a discount on your purchase.
- ThirdLove's Student Discount: it is available through the Student Beans's website. To get a student discount, simply sign up for the program and verify your student status. You'll then get a special discount code to use at checkout.
Does ThirdLove have physical retail stores?
Yes, ThirdLove does have a few physical stores across the country. Since the beginning of the post-covid era, ThirdLove has continued to grow its offline presence.
What is ThirdLove's stance on body positivity?
From its inception, ThirdLove has been a champion of body positivity and inclusivity. They've embedded these values deeply into their marketing and messaging strategies, driving a more inclusive vision of beauty in the lingerie industry.
One way ThirdLove has championed this cause is through the use of diverse models in its advertising campaigns. They consciously feature women of all sizes, shapes, and skin tones, proudly displaying the diversity of their customer base.
A powerful example of this is their "To Each, Her Own" campaign. In this initiative, ThirdLove invited women to share unedited, raw images of their unique beauty on social media using the hashtag #ToEachHerOwn. This campaign was more than just a marketing strategy; it was a celebration of diversity and a challenge to conventional beauty norms.
Through actions like these, ThirdLove has not only talked the talk but walked the walk when it comes to promoting body positivity and inclusivity. It's a cornerstone of their brand identity and a driving force behind their resonant messaging.
ThirdLove is becoming increasingly popular in a market that has traditionally been dominated by Victoria's Secret and Aerie. This popularity is likely attributed to ThirdLove's unique fit concept. Making the most out of the commercial momentum, the brand has already started to expand its product catalog and in-store availability. Despite the pre-existing competition and challenges, ThirdLove has so far won its customer's hearts with the quality of its product and its empowering vision.
Apart from this, ThirdLove's strategy of educating its customers through its educational blogs also sets them apart from the competition. As a result, ThirdLove is creating a new and possibly better bra shopping experience for its customers.
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