The True Classic Triumph: Five Lessons to Learn

Our D2C storybook continues and we are back with another hero whose success is a result of its dedication to quality, style, and the pursuit of excellence. In the modern fashion industry, often only a handful brands  manage to rise above the market volatility and establish themselves as timeless icons. True Classic is most definitely one of those few.

In this article, we share True Classic’s remarkable growth journey and what did it do right. 

The True Classic Tale

Picture this: a world where men’s fashion was not limited to just a few templatised shirts and t-shirts.  What if men too got to choose among many and find the right one,  tailored just for him. All of these while not being too demanding of your wallet! If this seems like a far-stretch, then let us introduce you to True Classic. !

Founded in 2019, this California-based marvel was the brainchild of CEO and co-founder Ryan Bartlett, who decided that if t-shirt companies were going to overcharge for “premiums,” he might as well flip the fashion script. Bartlett, alongside friends and fellow founders Nick Ventura and Matt Winnick, pooled $3,000 to launch men’s apparel brand True Classic. Their mission? 

To craft a brand that not only offered wardrobe staples but also provided every man with the right fit at affordable prices.

Success, it was!

Clocking in more than $26,000 in revenue within the first month of operations, the co-founders knew they were resonating with the male demographic.

Initially, the company sold an average of 10 to 20 t-shirts per day. Within a few months, this number increased  to 400–500 t-shirts, reaching a remarkable 1,000 t-shirts sold per day in just six months.

But that’s not all. This powerhouse brand bootstrapped its way to 9-figures in just two years, becoming one of the fastest-growing D2C brands! It is now valued at around $700 million.

So, what really sets them apart from other t-shirt brands?

Their ultra-soft, buttery fabrics that feel comfortable on wearing.

The intentional fit that compliments the owner and makes them feel confident in their attire. After all, True Classic’s mission is to make men look good and feel good while inspiring them to do good. 

Most importantly.  at an affordable price point.

Let’s explore their journey in detail and identify the valuable takeaways.

Lesson 1: Creating an app could be a game-changer

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, recognizing the importance of customer retention due to high acquisition rates is the key to success.

The True Classic team recognised that an app could enhance customer loyalty by providing a tailored mobile experience. They realized that effective retargeting encompasses more than just SMS messages or paid ads and rather involves creating multiple touchpoints across the brand. 

An app offers a highly personalized and curated shopping experience, minimizes distractions often encountered on websites and also delivers precisely-timed, personalized messages to the right audience.

This strategy worked wonders  and the brand’s app subscribers are doubling by the day.The app converts almost 200% more than their mobile website and 23% more than their desktop site. 

The brand drives  its downloads through discounts and app-exclusive flash sales. Today, True Classic has  scaled their app to over 180 countries globally.

Lesson 2: Target everybody!

True Classic’s expansive TAM and inclusive targeting reflect their belief in the universal appeal of their products for every wardrobe. With inclusivity as a core value, The brand’s product offerings are designed to cater to a broad range of tastes, sizes, and style preferences. By offering versatile and timeless wardrobe staples, they attract customers from various demographics.

They also acknowledge that not all bodies are the same and thus they offer an impressive size range that spans from S to 4XL, ensuring that their clothing is inclusive and caters to individuals of all sizes, with the ultimate goal of making their customers feel good.

The brand’s affordable price points also make their products appealing to a wider audience, ensuring that even budget-conscious consumers can access their items.

Staying true to their inclusive value, True Classic also caters to the demand from female customers who appreciate the fit and quality of their products. While their primary target audience continues to be men, they have also taken a gender-neutral approach to ensure that their clothes reach everyone regardless of their genders.

This approach  proved to be a significant advantage, enabling broad advertising strategies. It empowered them to identify product-market fit across numerous segments and diverse consumer groups.

Lesson 3: Customers first, always

True Classic takes pride in being a people-first company that places customers at the center of their business model. They prioritize their customers, by actively listening to customer feedback and adapt their products and services based on these insights.

They have also ensured a highly responsive Customer Support team who address inquiries and concerns promptly, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

User experience is an important part of putting the customer first as well. True Classic demonstrates this with their user-friendly website that is easy to navigate, encouraging visitors to explore, engage, and make purchases with confidence. The chatbot features FAQs related to common user queries, providing quick answers and solutions.

A fun element! The brand offers  a “find my fit” widget on their website that considers the customer’s height, weight, and age to suggest the right size and clothes for them.

True Classic also enabled hassle-free  returns by streamlining the return process, typically allowing customers to initiate returns online.

The brand is committed to evolving and improving its offerings based on customer preferences and market trends, ensuring that they consistently meet customer needs. 

Lesson 4: Digital marketing for the win

What started as a $3000 investment with products in just one color and two styles has grown to become one of the fastest-growing D2C brands sold in over 180 countries and believes Meta’s (previously Facebook) role  to be a crucial contributor to its success.

True Classic spends over $100,000 daily on Meta ads! That’s a whopping 70% of its total marketing budget.

The brand maintains active and engaging social media profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. By fostering a sense of community among their customers through social media engagement, they have been able to feature user-generated content on their profiles to build trust and credibility. They also partner with influencers who align with their brand to help promote their products with the aim of reaching a wider audience.

With over 450k followers on Instagram, True Classic maintains a regular posting schedule, ensuring that their content appears consistently in users’ feeds while they also utilize interactive features via Instagram Stories to keep their audience engaged.

Using  email marketing campaigns, customers are regularly updated about new arrivals, promotions, and exclusive offers. Their email lists are segmented to ensure personalized content reaches the right audience.

Lesson 5: Community service hits home (literally)

Did you know? True Classic donates 40,000 shirts per month to homeless shelters.

Co-founder and CEO Ryan Bartlett hones a strong military lineage, with parents and grandparents who served in WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and others. True Classic’s involvement with the Tiny House Project marked the commencement of a personal and professional dedication to shedding light on the increasing issue of homelessness within the veteran community.

By partnering with Tiny House Project, the brand has been able to build emergency tiny house shelters for the homeless and expand their donations to other homeless shelters, schools & local communities in need.

Here’s an interesting fact: T-shirts are the number three most requested item in homeless shelters and donation facilities, therefore they donate monthly to communities in need.  

Conclusion and future plans 

With plans to introduce a line of women’s wear this year,  True Classic is all set to strengthen its presence in the fashion segment. 

True Classic’s remarkable success story serves as a compelling source of lessons for entrepreneurs and businesses alike. Their journey highlights the importance of customer-centricity, digital adaptability and unwavering commitment to quality. 

About Velocity 

Empowering D2C brands across India, Velocity is at the forefront of offering founder-friendly revenue-based financing. If you’re a D2C brand looking to secure funding for inventory and marketing needs, don’t hesitate to apply right here. With Velocity, you can have your funding in hand within just seven days.

Stay tuned for the next D2C success story!

Recommended Reads:

  1. 5 Lessons D2C Brands Can Learn from The Inspiring Journey of Glossier
  2. The MVMT Movement: What D2C Founders Can Learn From “MVMT”
  3. Pawsitively Impactful: The Journey of BarkBox, the Billion-Dollar Empire for Dogs
  4. 8 Inspiring Lessons D2C Brands Can Learn From Everlane & Its Journey From $0 to $100M

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