The story of Everlane is an interesting one, but it's their new take on the traditional business model that's the most intriguing. Full transparency, no retail outlets and a group of hungry young entrepreneurs from company's such as J. Crew, Gilt Group, Goldman Sachs and Google have seriously established a creative online shopping experience.
I came across their story of supply & demand, where an image of a beautiful bag was front and center. Grabbing my computer, I went to the company website to learn more. I was pleasantly shocked by the price. It was significantly less than I had expected (the bag that caught my eye was their Portfolio Black, listed under The Petra Collection and in the photo at the top of this post). I spent some time on the site, pursuing the other items and reading their story.
Everlane started out as a company who believed in selling a quality product for a reasonable price. For example, a shirt that costs $7 to make shouldn't cost the consumer $60 -- the company sells it for $15 online. Without a brick and mortar storefront, the company cuts out a large chunk of operating costs and passes the savings onto the customer. Their "quality without mark-up" business model was a success, but they realized their customer wanted to know more about the cost, product and where they were created. Enter transparency. Founder, Michael Preysman felt the customer should know where the product was created, in total transparency, from pricing, to cost, to factory story. Each factory used by Everlane was heavily vetted and most are also used to make handbags and clothing for large luxury brands.
What started out as a brand selling t-shirts has quickly grown to encompass Weekend bags, cashmere cardigans and silk shirts. But all success stories go through growing pains and hard lessons. For Everlane, with their low overhead and cost cutting, they are unable to order large shipments of product, so more than a few items are seen with a "Wait List" or "Sold Out" indicator over-top the online image. In the age of Amazon and those who seek the "instant gratification" of overnight shipping, this can be frustrating.
Everlane never set out to create an overnight sensation or the next "It" bag, rather the company went with classic looks that will never go out of style. Kudos to Everlane. Developing a quality product and supplying at a remarkable price is something worth waiting for.
Check out their site and register here. Spend some time on their site, where they share the story of each of their factories -- including four of which are here in the United States.