Under The Hood: Amelie & Oria from UNDERDAYS

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. 

UNDERDAYS Instagram

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. 

The "Everyday" Collection

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.

What are some of the other tools you leverage?

Oria: Shopify is where the magic happens. Klaviyo’s our CRM. Prediko for inventory management. Hotjar for behavioral analytics. Referral Candy for referrals. And next up on our tech stack roadmap is tools for better international shipping + customer support. 

What’s next on the UNDERDAYS roadmap? 

Amelie: For the next 6 months, we want to bring UNDERDAYS to the streets. Finding ways to celebrate the brand via offline experiences.  

Our first initiative around that is a nationwide university programme launching at universities around the UK. We've developed a journey for students to retrieve discounts, to send us UGC, to get educated on female health, and to unlock exclusive merch. 
Next up will be a festive pop-up store in London. Our products are the perfect stocking filler - so we see a big opportunity to nail down a good retail experience here. 

After that - we’re making headway in discussions with a highly reputable UK based retailer, which would be a first for us. They believe in our mission and we see lots of room for creativity around brand activations. So that’s also very exciting. 

And beyond bringing UNDERDAYS to the streets, we’re also keeping busy on the product development front!

We use an app called Geneva to gather active feedback from a community of women on new styles & designs. We only use community feedback to determine future products - and that community will be critical in gathering feedback and conducting wearer trials around our next line of products: Bras. That will be for 2023, but the product iteration has already started. 

Wow! That’s a lot on your plate. Super exciting. Last question: What do you attribute most of your success to?

Oria: We’ve seen a lot of brands in this space lean into ONE specific aspect. Whether that’s inclusive sizing, or style or something else altogether. 

We don’t see the world through ONE single lens. And our key to success so far has been to get 4 fundamentals right: 

  1. A world-class brand built for the next generation
  2. A product our customers are obsessed with
  3. An ultra convenient customer experience at every touch point
  4. Community growth via organic community channels and peer-to-peer marketing initiatives

So in short, our key to success is an obsession over this little 4 step recipe laid out above. 

Oria, Amelie: Thank you so so much! I’m such a fan & can’t wait to continue to watch you grow. 

PS: Underdays is now raising a seed round. If you're an angel - shoot me an email at tim at 1800d2c.com 🚀🚀