Crafting Inclusive Spaces: Good American’s Unique Approach To Retail

In the ever-evolving realm of fashion, Good American is emerging as a beacon of inclusivity and diversity. Co-founded by Emma Grede and Khloé Kardashian, the brand is known for its denim that fits all and branding that includes all. And it’s grown immensely with the seamless integration of online and wholesale strategies.

The denim industry has a projected value of $15.8 billion in the U.S., growing to about $21 billion by 2030. There are 160 critical global players, with anticipated growth out of international countries; the market is enormous, and the competition is high, but so is the opportunity.

Good American embraced a dual approach from its inception, catering to both direct-to-consumer and wholesale markets. In a landscape dominated by digital natives, the brand strategically entered the realm of wholesale, recognizing the importance of meeting customers where they are, be it online or in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Some other digitally native brands that took this approach are companies like Casper, which opened in mattress chains and department stores like Target and Nordstrom, and Knix, which relied heavily on wholesale in its early days but has recently shifted to a DTC focus.

Something Knix and ThirdLove, lingerie brands, have in common with Good American is the importance of fit. Other denim brands, like Rag & Bone, have also relied heavily on wholesale for the same reason; in 2017, wholesale made up 65% of the brand’s business. In comparison, 39% of Good American’s revenue comes from wholesale, but that number, along with the business as a whole, is growing. Ultimately, the brand started online but immediately saw the need to move offline. It has been able to build a significant portion of its revenue in the physical retail space.

Bridging Digital And Traditional Retail

Therefore, the physical retail approach makes sense in the context of Good American’s niche – denim. Understanding that fit and fabrication are best experienced in person, the brand prioritized establishing a physical presence. Grede notes, “This is a company that’s all about fit and fabrication, and those are two things that are best experienced in person.” Thus, the brand consciously ensures a real-life experience for its customers through strategic wholesale partnerships.

Nordstrom, a key partner since day one, exemplifies the enduring success of Good American’s wholesale collaborations. Saks is also a carrier of the brand, with that business up 45% year over year. The brand has sustained and expanded its partnerships, venturing into collaborations with diverse retailers like Dillard’s
, H&M, Anthropologie, and Evereve. Grede expresses excitement about reaching new customers through these partnerships, stating, “We know that if a customer goes into one of our trusted retail partners, they’re much more likely to turn into an online customer and become a returning customer. So, we look at wholesale as a means of customer acquisition,” adding that “a new customer is a new customer regardless of how she finds the brand.”

One notable aspect differentiating Good American is its commitment to consistency and inclusivity. Grede emphasizes, “We make a point not to make exclusive products for any retailer.” Similar to its value of providing products for all people, the brand is dedicated to providing a uniform range of products across all its offerings to ensure that every customer, regardless of where they shop, experiences the true essence of Good American’s fashion philosophy.

Many retailers, like Canada Goose partnering with Fred Segal, use wholesale to provide exclusive product experiences. While this may make for an exciting customer experience, it isn’t an equal one. And depending on a brand’s goals, it may or may not make sense.

Elevating The In-Store Experience: The Fitting Room Revolution

Physical retail remains a cornerstone of Good American’s strategy, challenging the prevailing narrative of an increasingly digital age. The brand opened its first flagship store in Century City earlier this year, marking a significant step in reimagining the inclusive shopping experience.

Central to this experience is the revolutionary approach to fitting rooms. Good American recognizes that trying on clothes should be empowering and devoid of any anxiety related to size or fit. The fitting rooms are equipped with advanced technology, featuring three-way mirrors and adjustable lighting to reflect how the garments fit. Grede underscores the importance of these details, stating, “It’s an ambitious project for us because we’re trying to bring the idea of inclusivity into real life, and that’s not something that we can rely on wholesale partners to do.”

Moreover, the brand understands the diverse preferences of its customers. Some prefer a hands-on, guided experience, while others seek a self-serve, frictionless journey. Customers can seamlessly select items for try-on, creating a personalized and stress-free experience. Grede adds, “It’s about empowering choice, and that’s something that we can only do in our own store.”

Reformation is another brand, also LA-based, that is known for its inclusive and tech-focused fitting room experience. The company opened its new NYC flagship store with a unique fitting-room experience this past summer and has over 40 stores globally.

The tangible success of this fitting room revolution becomes evident in Good American’s plans for expansion. Grede shares insights into the customer journey, noting that customers who experience the brand in-store are likelier to become online customers. With the success of its first store, Good American plans to open another at Newport’s Fashion Island by the end of this year and another at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas early next year.

In navigating the realms of retail and online spaces, Good American challenges industry norms and sets a standard for a fashion world that celebrates diversity. The brand’s narrative is one of constant evolution. It may be one of hundreds of key denim players, but it’s one of few focused on fit, fabrication, and inclusivity.

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