Be clever with your marketing

Vollebak is a brand that makes what it calls ‘clothes from the future’. Steve, who set up the company with his twin brother Nick, explains why having a truly unique product can help avoid spending on social ads and drum up good press.
Vollebak (clever) homepage 16x9

‘The direct-to-consumer model typically focuses on innovation in convenience or pricing, then uses massive amounts of online spend to bring in sales. But, from day one, we decided to break that standard model. Instead, we put all our attention into creating genuine innovation on a product level. The most significant challenge we consistently face is how you tell people you’re inventing the future when you spend nearly all your money on research and development – and almost none on marketing. When you choose not to throw millions at the algorithms of Facebook and Google, the challenge is how do you become part of someone’s life rather than something that interrupts it? Over the past few years, we’ve done this in a number of different ways. 

‘We made our first-ever product so unusual – it was a pink hoodie that zips up over your face to help you relax – that Jimmy Fallon ended up wearing it on The Tonight Show. To launch our Deep Sleep Cocoon, which is designed for deep-space travel, we rented the billboard right outside Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX to ask when his rocket for Mars was going to be ready since we’d already finished our jacket. Last year, we ran a fake recruitment campaign for asteroid miners in the classified ads of the New York Times; our only requirement was that you had to be prepared to leave Earth for 2,000 days and be ready to start in August 2084. And, right now, 10 of our customers are paying for one of our 100-Year Hoodies in 1% instalments for the next 100 years until either they die, or we do.’

This article was first published in How to Start a Business 2021. To become a subscriber or purchase our newest guide, head to our webshop.

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