Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian’s apparel company Skims made headlines after closing a $270 million fundraising round, reaching a valuation of $4 billion. In a business climate where VCs are pulling back investment from direct-to-consumer brands, this accomplishment is quite the feat for a four-year-old business.
Skims initially launched in 2019, offering shapewear and intimates. The company has since expanded its product line to include clothing, loungewear, swimwear, and kid's items. This year, Skims is on track to bring in $750 million in sales, up 50% from 2022.
The brand experienced mega-growth through smart positioning in front of its ideal customers, 70% of whom are millennials and Gen Z. Continue reading to learn the marketing moves that helped Skims reach unicorn status four times over.
Skims Marketing Strategies
Winning on Social
Instagram is Skims’ top social media channel. With over 5.2 million followers, the brand often takes to Instagram to announce new product launches and social campaigns.
Looking through the comments on the Skims Instagram account, it also appears to be a customer service channel where buyers give feedback about what products they’d like to see and inquire about when products will be back in stock.
It’s also worth noting the popularity of Skims products on TikTok. Though the official Skims account on TikTok has 1.1 million followers, the brand’s main marketing power on the platform is seen through word of mouth and user-generated content.
Each day users post their hauls and reviews of Skims products on TikTok, generating buzz for the brand. Users sharing Skims “dupes” is another popular niche on TikTok, which still drives notoriety and demand for the original products.
Email Marketing That Converts
In addition to social, Skims also uses email marketing to drive sales. On average, the brand sends five emails per week to its list announcing new product drops, restocks of popular products, retail collaborations, and direct CTAs to purchase.
The more rare an item is, the higher its perceived value. This is the law of supply and demand from your Econ 101 class — a key factor in scarcity marketing that Skims has leveraged to drive sales.
The brand has been known to drop new and popular items in limited quantities making coveted items sell out quickly. This drives those who missed out on the initial run to begin following the brand more closely so they can be alerted when the product is back in stock, encouraging them to purchase as soon as the product is available.
Strategic Partnerships and Endorsements
Skims has participated in several partnerships that have gotten people talking. Its 2021 co-branded collection with Fendi brought in $1 million in sales just one minute after it launched. The brand also parted with the Olympics in 2020 and 2022, outfitting Team USA in a capsule collection of loungewear and sleepwear.
The endorsements have also found their way into Skims advertising.
Earlier this year two popular actors from the television show The White Lotus, Simona Tabasco and Beatrice Grannò, starred in a campaign promoting Skims’ Valentine’s Day collection shortly after the show’s finale.
Last year, the brand ran a campaign featuring former Victoria’s Secret models from the 90s and 2000s — a move that played up nostalgia marketing for the brand’s millennial customers who grew up shopping at Victoria’s Secret and watching models walk in the controversial brand’s fashion shows.
While Kardashian’s influence has positively impacted Skims’ business success, the brand’s future wouldn’t be as bright without well-executed, multi-channel marketing. With this latest round of fundraising, Skims is well-positioned to expand its product line and potentially IPO.