- Grayson, a new company based around its core button-down women's shirt product, last week made its debut as a direct-to-consumer brand and wholesale partner, the company told Retail Dive in an email.
- Grayson, named after founder Audrey McLoghlin's daughter, is a follow-up to another McLoghlin apparel brand, Frank & Eileen, which she founded in 2009. The new brand is launching with 15 colors and prints in washed cotton, with a new capsule collection rolling out each month. The core product — The Hero — is priced between $128 and $138 and available in sizes 01-05, "to eliminate the confusion caused by universal sizing," according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
- Aside from its DTC business, Grayson also last week began selling its products at Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Asked about her biggest current challenge, McLoghlin said in an email to Retail Dive that she feels she's launching two businesses at once. "There's so much back-end infrastructure involved in wholesale that you don't have with DTC, and so much storytelling and marketing with DTC that you don't have with wholesale. We're doing it all."
With 15 years of brand building under her belt, McLoghlin said when the idea came about to develop Grayson, she asked herself how she would go about launching a modern brand today.
"With the rise of direct-to-consumer brands, the retail landscape has completely transformed in the past five years. I've watched DTC brands launch, declare they'll never sell wholesale or brick and mortar, then later announce partnerships with big box brands," she said in an email interview with Retail Dive, noting how that informed her choices about launching Grayson. "So I created the first hybrid go-to-market strategy in the fashion world: launching wholesale and direct-to-consumer simultaneously. I thought about where the customer is and where she shops."
She then chose two wholesale partners: Anthropologie, which she deemed to be the best specialty store, and Nordstrom, which she described as the most trusted department store. "I approached them both with an idea and a single prototype, and I was honored that they wrote orders on the spot," she said.
For now, through its direct channel, Grayson is a pure-play digital business, but having a physical component is important, McLoghlin said. "I firmly believe that as women, we will always want to touch and feel and try on clothes when we shop. We just do," she said. "It was incredibly important to me that our customer would be able to touch and feel The Hero and feel personally connected to the brand."
That's a growing trend among DTC brands, although increasingly many are turning away from wholesale and experimenting with pop-ups or their own stores. Over the next five years, for example, digitally native brands like Warby Parker, Bonobos and Away are expected to open 850 stores. McLoghlin said Grayson doesn't yet have plans for stores but "could envision it in the future."
Unlike many DTC companies, Grayson is not funded by venture capital money. "I've built four businesses from scratch over the last 15 years and have never raised any VC funding," McLoghlin said. "Many direct-to-consumer brands take hundreds of millions of dollars worth of funds and don't show profitability for years. I think that's just bananas! It's not a sustainable model and it's not how I want to run a business."