Under The Hood: Amelie & Oria from UNDERDAYS
Insights into how Amélie & Oria are scaling their undergarments biz 🩲
Welcome Amelie and Oria! When did you come up with the idea for UNDERDAYS?
Amelie: Oria and I met while working in Brand Marketing & Partnerships at Farfetch. Oria had been there for 5 years, seeing that company evolve from startup to unicorn; and I joined in 2018, coming from Burberry.
While at Farfetch, we became friends and had our lightbulb moment for UNDERDAYS after we went to an underwear sample sale after work and left feeling utterly uninspired. We both thought, why are women still having to choose between uncomfortable, overly sexualised lingerie or beige basics? Our ideals, tastes, and design preferences have changed dramatically, yet we are still buying underwear from the same places as 20 years ago.
We clearly saw a gap in the market.
What was the next step? Did you make the jump immediately / quit your jobs?
Amelie: Not at all. We both spent the next 6 months researching the market, conducting surveys, meeting up after work and discussing the opportunity.
After that - our next step was to proactively reach out to young fashion graduates to get some initial design ideas down. That’s how we found Laura, our product designer. She had just completed her bachelor in lingerie at London College of Fashion. And she completely understood our vision.
So from there, we spent 2 years (during COVID) developing the brand identity, designing our products, building a supply chain and a website - and in December of 2021, we launched!
Did you raise some money or bootstrap?
Oria: We initially bootstrapped everything. And right before launch, we raised a small family & friends round. And today, after a year in business, we’re gearing up for a seed round.
Fundraising was a really huge learning curve for us. We were both marketers, so we had little exposure to that. But nevertheless, we were able to meet many others who believed in our dream early and received tons of great support from people of various fashion & tech backgrounds.
Let's chat about growth. What have you done to drive orders since launch?
Amelie: We were born into a different DTC landscape than our predecessors where paid channels are no longer as affordable as they once were. So we lean into organic and brand building tremendously.
Most notably, our referral program of “refer a friend & get free underwear” has been a huge driver of growth, and so have our efforts into affiliates & influencers. We’re growing at about 1k instagram followers per week and the sales growth is in-line with our organic growth.
Can you share more details about the referral program and the affiliate efforts? What’s working there?
Oria: On the affiliate side - we learned that influencers with over a million followers weren’t always working for us. We were also supplementing those efforts with high-end photoshoots - and the ROI just wasn’t there.
So we shifted our attention to the micro-influencers who have been hugely impactful for us. They drive revenue, traffic, exposure and also feed our content creation engine. We get about 50-100 posts per week - it’s truly remarkable.
On the referral front: That’s something we set up immediately as we launched.
The first two months were quiet. But then suddenly, the network effects of our brand building efforts paid out - and customers started spreading the word. The main learning here is that, for referral marketing to work: You must invest in the brand, because ultimately - the attraction to the brand is what’s motivating the customer to refer.
Let’s jump into CRO: Any big wins / learnings on things like bundling / SEO or upsells?
Oria: Upsells in the underwear market are super important. People like to buy in bulk, and it’s a behavior we very quickly picked up on. So today, if someone adds a pair of underwear to their cart, they’ll be incentivized to add another for a discount.
Bundles have also been hugely beneficial for us. We’ve done a lot of thinking about how to best structure them - and where we’ve landed is structuring them around “moods” or “shopping mentalities”.
For example, we have a bundle for “every day” or another for “working out”. That’s how people like to shop.
Let's talk about supply chain & operations. Any big wins?
Amelie: When we started - we knew we wanted to have a supply chain in Europe. We had heard enough COVID war stories of broken supply chains across the world and the delays that it would cause - so we wanted to keep things close to home. That was an important decision for us.
Next - we had to build a relationship with suppliers and manufacturers. We had no credibility or sales data, but somehow - we convinced a fantastic lingerie manufacturing partner based in Romania to give us a shot.
And now that we have steady orders flowing in, we have more flexibility to build relationships with additional suppliers.
I’d say one of the big wins has been around getting smarter on inventory management. We have just recently onboarded with Prediko, an AI inventory management / prediction tool, to never run out of stock and have clear production runs and timelines.