I may serve on the board of the Indiana Fashion Foundation, but I wouldn’t say there’s much trendsetting about me. So, when I first learned about the Telfar Shopping Bag, I wasn’t sold. Okay, so Beyonce, Oprah, and my girl Meg were carrying it—that wasn’t enticing enough for me to immediately cop a color. That was until this week.
Tuesday, I was anxiously waiting by my phone for the clock to strike at 12 p.m. ET so I could snag Telfar’s Large Painter’s Tape Shopping Bag before it sold out. And as soon as I got my hands on one, I was already activating my notifications to stay ahead of future drops.
Telfar is redefining everything about fashion, purchasing, and consumer engagement by simply staying true to its core values. Let’s dive into the details and unpack what marketers can learn from this approach.
Your core values should be boldly exemplified in everything you do.
The welcome email pictured illustrates everything I’d want to say here.
Define your core values and walk them out in everything you do. For Telfar, that’s committing to non-gendered designs that, at the time, didn’t exist on the market. For Telfar, that was persist, with no money, for a decade without a single award or accomplishment. For Telfar, it was going completely against the grain by using ‘fashion’ to picture a future that could help destroy the present. For Teflar, it was creating a brand that’s “not for you — for everyone.”
If your company’s core values aren’t visible in everything that you do, why do you have core values?
Use demand for your good or service to drive engagement with your brand.
Drops aren’t new, but what amazes me about Telfar goods is the speed at which they sell out. So, to get ahead of the masses, they give consumers the ultimate incentive to subscribe to their channels. Those who want to know which drop is happening next and when next will take place, have already added Telfar email addresses to their VIP list, enabled notifications for all Tweets, and subscribed to Telfar.TV, and clicked favorite so that the Telfar Instagram page appears in the feed first. The statement is simple: the more you engage with our brand, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get your hands on our exclusive products.
Some of you are thinking well, yeah, of course, this strategy works well when you’ve got a gorgeous luxury bag being toted around by the hottest celebrities. Yes, that’s correct—but the challenge is how can marketers take this case study and reimagine how something similar may work in their industries? What exclusive content or services can you offer to optimize engagement with your target audiences? I may not know, but you likely do.
Above all, strive to be competitive in your price point.
Unlike the Louis Vuitton or Gucci’s of the world, Telfar has completely redefined luxury. At a price point that in some cases is one-third of the cost, Telfar is providing an affordable access point for everyday consumers. Telfar bags are faux leather guided by their desire to create an affordable product that fosters community and a sense of belonging through accessibility rather than through exclusive, high prices, typical of luxury handbags. See again point one: Telfar’s core value of inclusivity shines brightly in everything they do.
Do you need a Telfar? I’ll be better equipped to answer that when my large shopper arrives, but I can tell you this: As a consumer, I want to spend my money supporting companies that are putting their full weight behind doing some good in this world. Representation as a Black fashion designer, inclusion across gender and community, and belonging and economic levels—all at an affordable price point? That’s a brand I can get behind.