Five Questions with Sophie Bambuck, Chief Marketing Officer at Everlane

It’s fashion week around the world and yet in 2021 we’re still not able to do ‘business as usual’.  Is it still an important part of the fashion calendar? How does it work for Everlane?

Everlane has not formally participated in New York Fashion Week yet but we appreciate the innovation, creativity and newness that is represented each season during NYFW.  As we continue to grow, we might consider participating in some shape or form in the future. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend numerous shows I have to say that attending NYFW virtually last year was a unique, yet amazing experience. I’m sure this year will be no different. Virtual shows have democratized access to what used to be a very insular experience and allowed brands to reach a larger customer base than ever before.

You’re founded in radical transparency. Consumers are increasingly concerned about issues such as fair labour, sustainable resourcing, and the environment… What does it mean for the broader fashion industry?

In this day and age, it’s a non-negotiable. When Everlane started, “radical transparency” was seen as an industry disruption. Transparent pricing and transparency on factory workers’ conditions was not something that brands were doing at scale at the time. We are very proud and thankful that our customers and the larger community constantly push us to do more and hold us accountable with moving the industry in a positive direction. Like any brand, Everlane has had its ups and downs, but the focus has always been on our customers and making the retail industry more sustainable and transparent. We believe that our responsibility is to make you feel good through fashionable products, while transforming individual good intentions into collective impact that moves the world forward.

In a challenging retail environment – what are your key growth priorities for 2021 and beyond? 

We need to be where the consumer is, first and foremost. We are a digital first company and that is where we will keep our focus. We also want Gen Zs to love Everlane. And that requires a relentless drive to deliver beautiful products that meet their needs and connects emotionally with their passion for doing good, yet without sacrificing style. Doing good and giving back has never been more important and that also is one of our key priorities, as it has always been.

What are the new digital behaviors to watch out for and the generational shifts to know? What do you do to stay ahead of shifting customer expectation?

In the past 18 months, we’ve all learned to do what digital natives have grown up doing: leveraging digital platforms as a service vs a destination. So the role of digital is changing, it’s fully embedded in the way we live and it’s now a ubiquitous medium. Interestingly, post-Covid we will likely see an increased demand for deep and meaningful analog experiences which will create additional pressure for digital-only brands to stay relevant.

Have the last 12 months reaffirmed or changed your view on how brands need to exist and operate, now and in the future?

I’ve always felt that brands have the power to move the world forward, if they choose to. That’s why today I work at Everlane. Positive change is in the DNA of the brand and it’s truly remarkable. Being a part of the solution and is no longer a side initiative, consumers are seeking purpose-led brands and will poke deep into the brand operating model, beliefs and value system. Ultimately, it’s all about how you, as a brand, make people feel. Being a data-driven, automated brand might have served some businesses in the past but it won’t hold up in the long run. You have to make people feel seen, heard and enabled, and that means putting them first. That’s what we aim to do, every day.