Today, I published a story about how small fashion startups are ditching the Bonobos and Nasty Gal playbooks–which were all about growing fast as quickly as possible–for a new model of slow, sustainable growth. “But these small fashion startups, as a group, can have a big impact,” says Loren Padelford, VP and GM of Shopify Plus, the enterprise version of Shopify, which is currently valued at $9.8 billion.
Case in point: the lingerie industry. Shopify has an annual competition designed to help startups making between $1 million and $50 million a year to new heights. Three of the eight winners this year were female-founded startups that focus on intimates–Lively, Knixwear, and Kindred Braverly. These brands make a fraction of the industry leader, Victoria’s Secret, which generated $1.2 billion in revenue last year, but as a group they are eating into the lingerie giant’s market share. L Brands Inc., the corporate parent of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, has seen its store sales and stock price drop sharply this year.
“In the past, we’ve been focused on the large corporations in the industry,” Padelford says. “But thanks to the internet, small brands can thrive and meet the needs of niche consumers. Their goals are not to take over the dominant incumbents in their industry, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a powerful force in the market.”