For this blog post, I was able to reach out to Ms. Jenny Olsen the Chief Marketing Officer at UNTUCKit. UNTUCKit is a clothing company that focuses on men’s button-down shirts, designed to be worn untucked. Throughout my previous blog posts, I have spoken on sustainability and the growth of eco-conscious manufacturing within the fashion industry. Ms. Olsen was kind enough to speak to me on the phone regarding her position at UNTUCKit.
First, I asked about her thoughts on sustainability within the textile industry as a whole. She responded saying “Sustainability is something the fashion industry has been lacking with many notable exceptions. There need to be massive changes in fashion around the area of sustainability. It is not at a point where consumers are demanding, so it is likely a cost a consumer is going to bear.” Ms. Olsen pointed out the fact that as of now, any efforts of creating more sustainable products typically cost more to companies than using cheaper goods. Due to this, the cost of manufacturing a more expensive but sustainable product will fall on the customer. She further spoke on the age of Coronavirus, where consumers are caring much more about the financial cost of a product as opposed to the ecological effects.
I then asked Ms. Olsen about the impact of Coronavirus on menswear, and the worldwide transition to working from home. I pointed out that as these changes happen, many individuals still are seeking to look presentable for online calls and meetings. Ms. Olsen replied by stating: “Our brand was built on a more comfortable and casual men’s shirt, and on this day, the Coronavirus has proved to be a massive social experiment and a lot of people are realizing that work for companies can work from home.” Further, we spoke on how UNTUCKit is the name you think of when considering untucked men’s button-downs, and she said: “The story of UNTUCKit is making a normal product, and invent a new category. It’s not requiring a wholesale behavioral change if you can get something that is a little different but meaningfully better, if you can effectively own the category you will see huge success.” Ms. Olsen pointed out that there will be competitors after this pandemic, but their marketing helps us.
She then talked spoke on the impact of her previous work at Pepsi which she has carried over to UNTUCKit. She said: “any time Pepsi spends money on marketing, it helps Coke. This marketing is expanding the Cola industry, and in turn, was both benefitting us and our competitors.” She then said how the growth of casual menswear by other companies would help UNTUCKit. According to Ms. Olsen “we all used to hate the name UNTUCKit, it’s not sleek. But now when other companies are developing their brands, we are the genre, our name is synonymous with untucked men’s shirts.”
After this, we went back to speaking on the topic of sustainability, and I mentioned the company that UNTUCKit is incubating; Fair Harbor. Ms. Olsen provided a great lesson in marketing with her analysis of Fair Harbor’s strategy. While marketing Fair Harbors clothing (made out of recycled water bottles), they realized that marketing their swim shorts as a sustainable option was not as effective as marketing them as a more comfortable bathing suit, with a better liner than the standard mesh option. Ms. Olsen told me that by marketing a product as better than the rest and then adding that they were sustainable, as an added bonus, Fair Harbor was able to greatly increase sales.
Overall, I really enjoyed my conversation with Ms. Olsen. Not only was I able to gain insight into an industry that I am interested in, but by speaking with a professional in the field, I was able to gain a much greater understanding of business and marketing strategies for clothing.