How Curvy Clothing Designer Is Winning With Micro-Influencers

For decades, the fashion industry has focused its design efforts around markedly skinny supermodels and often seeks to appeal to its customers with this strategy. However, according to research by the International Journal of Fashion Design, the average American woman now wears between a size 16 and 18.

In response to the industry’s neglect for such a considerable demographic of women, Universal Standard, an online store for women’s plus sized clothing, is disrupting plus sized style in a big way. Between beautiful design aesthetic, high-quality materials, straight-to-consumer strategy, and a killer influencer marketing campaign, Universal Standard is making national waves.

How The Standard Was Established

Founded in 2015 by Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman, Universal Standard blossomed out of a classic shopping snafu. Alex had been shopping on 5th Avenue in New York City for an outfit to wear to a big event, but not a single store sold size 18 clothes.

This moment proved to be monumental for both women. Shortly after this fiasco, Polina and Alex left their respective jobs to pursue their passion and establish a new standard for fashion. “What we really wanted to do was to make clothing that did not exist in this space,” confirms Polina. “Traditionally, the plus sized clothing industry has been primarily fast fashion.

Nearly every plus sized line they found fit into two categories: one was very conservative, and the other was overtly focused on showing off curves. But the point of Universal Standard isn’t to polarize fashion, it’s to make all styles accessible for a demographic that, for decades, was limited to dull dresses or body tight contours.

Influencers Began Spreading the Word

“We knew we wanted to try an influencer program to manage the process and do this on a larger scale,” recalls Jason Rappaport, Head of Business Development for Universal Standard. The problem wasn’t stemming from a lack of faith in the influencer marketing strategies, it was a question of management. How could a small startup team possibly take the time to manage its influencers’ campaigns each month?

Early on, Polina and Alex were approached by a handful of influencers who were eager to show off Universal Standard’s modern aesthetic. While they worked with a couple instagrammers and bloggers, the thought of managing dozens of influencers at the same time sounded like nightmare. Plus, as any new company knows, resources are limited.

We’re a startup,” says Jason. “We have limited resources, and to be able to manage fifty to sixty influencers at once would take a lot of time and effort on our end, and to be able to have ApexDrop do that is a real benefit.”

The clothing size of the influencer was a major consideration during Universal Standard’s search for a marketing agency, especially because many programs focus on women who are sizes two to eight, not necessarily 10 to 28 like Polina and Alex were trying to attract. “It was the balance between what Apex was willing to manage, plus the amount of influencers they had, and the type of influencers that they had that was the deciding factor for us.”

From beginning to end, the feedback from influencers was stellar. Even the few concerns about the brand’s price point were quickly mitigated as soon as the influencers received their clothes. “Consumers have been trained to think about their clothing in a fast fashion kind of way,” says Jason. “But now they’re spending a little bit more for the quality.”

Fast Fashion is Going out of Style

If you’re wonder what that fast fashion price point is, leave it to Polina to explain, “It’s that price point where your t-shirts cost less than your sandwich.” But it wasn’t entirely a financial strategy for the company to move away from this antiquated method of shopping. Polina asserts:

“First, [that price range often equates to] poor work conditions in the factories. Moreover, that t-shirt that cost less than a sandwich can only be worn a handful of times before you have to throw it out. Right now, the fashion industry is the second largest pollutant after the oil industry and it is because of the mentality of consumers wanting to buy at this low price.”

Polina is right, according to EcoWatch, the clothing industry is the second worst polluter only to oil companies. In fact, the nation’s favorite fiber, cotton, is also a terrible plant to grow from an environmental standpoint. Although a meager 2.4% of the world’s croplands are cotton, these crops still consume 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides.

Plus, lest we forget, lower quality means fading, pilling, and tearing. “We want to provide clothing that lasts rather than contribute to the problems with the landfills,” Polina says.

Hitting the Road with Influencer Marketing

Today, Universal Standard is integrating their influencer generated content into their business’ social channels and their website in order to allow customers to “shop the look.” What’s more, they’re ramping up for their second influencer campaign with ApexDrop, but this time, they’re taking it on the road.

Running from September to November, Universal Standard is partnering with Nordstrom and The Lions Model Management to do a model search at a series of pop up events across twelve cities! To help publicize and promote this road trip, the focus will be on influencers in the states that we’re visiting.

“We’ve purposely sent products to those influencers in hope that they’d promote and/or attend those events,” says Jason. “We figured that would be a really cool way to do our second campaign with ApexDrop.”
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ApexDrop has helped thousands of authentic micro-influencers connect with quality brands through contextual product gifting (also known as trade collaborations). Imagine having an affordable and easy way to get your products featured by hundreds of influencers immediately on Instagram, but without all the extra work. ApexDrop offers an unparalleled service in campaign management from start to finish and can assure that their clients receive quality posts and authenticity. For more information, schedule a call with an ApexDrop Influencer Specialist today  www.apexdrop.com/contact