For building a retail empire one leg at a time.
Andy Dunn is the master of men’s pants: His direct-order apparel company, Bonobos, has seen year-over-year sales double for five years straight and counts more than 250,000 customers in 93 countries. “Some people refer to their pants as their Bonobos,” Dunn says. “That’s a great moment in the history of a brand”–one that he has started to build on. The company entered the women’s market this year with a new label, Ayr.
Working with brand director Maggie Winter, Dunn found that Bonobos’s digitally driven structure allowed it to offer what others in the competitive arena of women’s retail struggle with: varied inseam lengths, lower prices, and extraordinary customer service. In its first four weeks, Ayr racked up the same amount in sales that it took Bonobos 11 months to achieve. Through his venture firm, Red Swan, Dunn is now exploring how to reinvent the online department store–a category that Amazon currently dominates–by gathering more direct-order brands under one umbrella. “Brands can go direct to consumer, own the relationship, and have a conversational presence in their lives,” Dunn says. “That’s going to change the power dynamics in retail.”