Shirting Brand Grayson Is Pioneering A Women-First, DTC-Wholesale Hybrid Retail Strategy
The accessible women's shirting brand is launching direct-to-consumer and through carefully chosen retailers from the get-go in order to maintain brand value while engendering successful business
Many a direct-to-consumer brand has taken the same path: launching online-only, with a promise to never go wholesale, and eventually ending up in partnership with a department store or other third party retailer. Audrey McLoghlin, founder and designer of shirting brand Frank & Eileen and the newly launched, more accessibly priced Grayson, is pioneering a new way for brands to launch in multiple channels while maintaining control of their messaging.
Rather than simply take the product direct-to-consumer, McLoghlin launched Grayson with what she calls the first hybrid go-to-market strategy. While she expects the majority of revenue, at least at first, to come via DTC sales, she has partnered with major retail players Nordstrom and Anthropologie for shop-in-shop areas to launch the shirts in tandem with the site. “We chose the best specialty store in the country, Anthropologie, and the best big department store retailer, Nordstrom,” McLoghlin says. “In the end, the consumer gets to go to a retailer they love and trust, to touch and feel the product, and our brand gets the exposure to these loyal customers.”
McLoghlin is an engineer by nature. Big on efficiency, she has spent ten years developing the perfect women's button-down shirts and a numbers-based sizing system that accounts for a wider array of women without the uncertainty and shaming surrounding the standard S-M-L system. Following the success of Frank & Eileen, which has become a favorite of celebrities with as much as influence as Oprah, Ellen and Meghan Markle, McLoghlin recognized a need for a more accessible quality product. “It was my dream to be able to bring a beautiful shirt to everyday women around me,” she says, ‘but there's not a single beautiful button up shirt between $100 and $200. We saw that as a huge white space.”
Beyond accessibility and quality, McLoghlin's company prioritizes the needs of the average woman internally as well. “Someone was interviewing me one day and said, ‘Tell me, what's the hardest part about building a brand?' and, honestly, the hardest part is being a mother,” she says. To compensate for demands on a working mother's schedule, she's created an office culture that is kid-friendly and understanding of a need for flexibility without sacrificing achievement.
Consumers demand more of the brands they buy from than ever, expecting transparency and ethical production along with convenience and quality. McLoghlin hopes her brand can help set new industry standards, both with its hybrid distribution model and its values.