How do you turn an everyday tights fail into a brand which turns over 30 million GBP a year? Size-inclusive hosiery start-up Snag Tights knows how. Following an incredible first period of growth they have now launched in Germany. We talk to Snag Tights-CEO and Founder Brie Read about growing an inclusive cult fashion brand in an outdated sector.
You started Snag to solve a very specific problem. Can you tell us a little about that problem?
I had an embarrassing incident when my tights didn’t fit me! When I told people about it, I got a fascinating reaction - everyone seemed to have their own embarrassing tights story where they had broken or didn’t fit. This is when I had the idea for Snag – tights in exciting colours and designs which cater to all body types out there. I always assumed it was just me that had a problem with tights but as it turns out, the problem was with the tights and not with the people.
What kind of marketing has helped Snag to reach 30 million GBP a year turnover?
It really starts with the product. As a marketer in a previous life, I spent most of my time persuading people to buy things that they didn’t really want. There is a huge difference between this and selling a product where there is market demand.
From this starting point you can actually be a lot pickier about the channels you use. For me it was important that we were ethical in our marketing, and by that I mean I felt we should only engage with people in spaces where they were open to being engaged with. We don’t send out emails, because no one has ever said to us “what I want from you is a twice-weekly newsletter”. We don’t do display retargeting because we don’t want people to feel chased around the internet by something they only looked at once and decided they didn’t want. For us it was important that we keep things as low key and positive as we possibly could.
Snag has some really fun social feeds. A great deal of thought must go into your content.
Our key recruitment channels are Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. The great thing about social media is that when people are on it they are already bored, so it’s the right place to have a conversation with them because it’s not too disruptive. TikTok has been really great for us because it amplifies in a really different way. It is much more about your content than your following. You might not have many followers but if you have a piece of content which is really engaging then you still get lot of views. The algorithm works differently to Facebook and Instagram which is nice to see.
What campaigns have worked best for you?
We don’t really do campaigns as such; instead we employ an always-on methodology. This means consistent advertising all through the year. We also try and make our ads as relevant as possible to people in that moment. For example, when COVID-19 arrived we were very quick to stop showing groups of people in our ads and start showing people with masks. Seasonality also plays a role and we try and reflect, say, if we are having a particularly rainy summer.
You only advertise using content generated by your loyal customers, or “Snagglers” as you call them. Why does this approach work for you?
It is really important for us that all shapes and sizes are represented in our advertising and media and using user-generated content means that we do just this. From a marketing perspective it is also a good way to demonstrate to our customers that our products will actually fit them! Also seeing how people wear our tights and how they style them is really exciting.
We get really nice emails from mums, in particular, who say they are delighted that their daughters are finally seeing ads featuring people which look like them, rather than models with completely unattainable bodies. It is nice to think we are doing some good.
You are working with RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Sum Ting Wong to find a global ambassador for the brand. Why did you opt for a drag star rather than the usual model or celebrity?
We have a really close relationship with RuPaul’s Drag Race (drag queen reality series). We are sponsoring the US season and Snag Tights will feature in mini challenges in US, Australian and All Stars series this year. Tights are a key part of a drag queen’s wardrobe but many queens report having problems with them. A lot of our customers are drag queens but even those who aren’t really respond to the whole fun, wit and magic of the drag community.
Over 70% of your customers come back to make a second purchase. How have you built such customer loyalty?
It’s all about having a really good product. People come back because they love our tights. It is also about keeping our range fresh and ensuring there is always something new and interesting to buy. There has to be enough new colours and designs to keep our customers coming back. We introduce limited editions when we have something exciting to share. Even if customers miss the chance to buy, every year we run a poll for the top ten limited editions so customers have a second chance to buy. We also love having conversations with our customers and we listen to them. We answer every single comment we get and every single email. If we are getting something wrong, we change it. We consider ourselves co-owned with our customers – the business belongs to all of us.
About a year ago you launched in the German market and your spot is currently running on ProSiebenSat.1 channels. What influenced your decision to opt for TV advertising when launching in a new country?
Germany is the second biggest tights-wearing nation in the world. For this reason we wanted to find new ways to build trust and awareness in this key market. When launching into new countries, our strategy is heavily social-oriented but TV is a good way to reach an even broader audience. We thought TV would be great to show Germany some more love and attention! We did a very small TV test in the UK last year and it went well. And because we had a distribution centre in the Netherlands which we set up in 2020, we were finally in a position to deliver quickly to Germany and meet the demand that TV creates.
Find out more at: www.snagtights.com