Having co-founded Feat Socks in 2015, Taylor Provide hired Aly Raisman, the gymnast, to design and promote a customized sock. It generated $500,000 in revenue. Influencer marketing was clearly effective, and Supply wanted more.
“I started looking at the kids that got famous from Vine, the short-video app,” he advised me.
It was that a great deal of those”kids” lived in the same apartment complex on, amazingly, Vine Street in Los Angeles.
“So I flew out to L.A., snuck into that building, and I saw each Viner that dwelt there. There were probably 30 kids in the building with over a million followers each. I called my co-founder in Boston. I said,’We’re moving to L.A. into the building on Vine Street.’ That’s how I started understanding social media and influencers.”
Fast forward to 2021, and Feat Socks is now Feat Clothing, an extremely successful manufacturer of joggers, shorts, hoodies, and crewnecks — all made from BlanketBlend, the corporation’s custom cloth.
I recently spoke with Give concerning the traveling. Our whole audio conversation is embedded below. The transcript that follows is edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us about Feat.
Taylor Offer: We started in 2015 as a sock company. “Feat” is our spelling of”feet” We had a heat press. We would press a design on white Nike or Adidas socks and extend them around our college campus. So, that’s how Feat started.
From 2015 to 2018, we were only making socks. We’d been climbing as a sock company from influencer collaborations. We were early in the influencer world, doing deals with The Chainsmokers, Logan Paul, Aly Raisman.
In 2018 we opted to expand, to make clothing that were soft and comfortable but also seemed great. We wanted to combine comfort and style. And that’s the way we developed our first product, called the BlanketBlend. It’s a specific fabric we made. Now we have BlanketBlend joggers, shorts, hoodies, and crewnecks. It’s a soft cloth that feels and looks great.
Bandholz: I can’t imagine a better company come March 2020.
Offer: It’s was great, but we didn’t plan for the spike. April was a monumental month. We sold out of products in April and May. It was a gigantic influx of sales. It had been difficult to keep up with the demand. We have manufacturers in downtown Los Angeles (such as quick-turn stuff), South America, and Asia.
Bandholz: You Made a cloth. How can this work?
Offer: This is a very long procedure. My co-founder, Parker, was much more involved in that process than I. We started with a base fabric and made it softer. You tweak the material a bit — a little more this material or that stuff. It may be cotton, cotton, or rayon. You’re experimenting with the materials. We put them through different washes. The process took a year and a half to perfect the BlanketBlend cloth.
We now have the process of earning BlanketBlend along with the name. Other people can try to create soft clothes. But they can’t make BlanketBlend.
Bandholz: You mentioned influencers. Can you elaborate?
Offer: We’d been living in Boston because we went to school there, at the University of Massachusetts. We did so deal with Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnastics gold medalist, in 2016. We made her very own customized sock. We provided around $500,000 of the sock. We thought, “This is crazy. Through Instagram, and an influencer, or an athlete, we could sell a lot.”
So I started direct messaging each and every individual on Instagram with over one million followers. And, again, that was in 2016, before the development of influencer marketing. A good deal of those DM people responded.
Then I started looking at the kids who got famous from Vine, the short-video app, since ceased. Each of the videos had the identical door handle in their apartments, and also the exact same pool, the identical gym. I thought,”Either I’m mad, or they reside in the same building.”
Finally, one of the Viners responded,”Send some socks to 1600 Vine Street, in Hollywood.” I told myself,”That’s funny. He’s a Viner, and he resides on Vine Street. Either he’s messing with me, or this is the Mecca where all these kids live.”
So I flew out to L.A., snuck into that building, and I saw every single Viner that lived there — from Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Amanda Cerny, King Bach, Lele Pons, and Rudy Mancuso. Justin Bieber was there for a little while. There were probably 30 kids in the building with over a million followers each.
So I called my co-founder. We had a 2,500 square foot warehouse and office in Boston. I said,”Get out of this rental. We’re moving to L.A. into the building on Vine Street. We’re going to work with these kids and understand social media.”
And we moved into the construction. That’s how I started understanding social media and influencers.
Bandholz: That’s Remarkable. That means that you would bump into them on the premises?
Offer: Exactly. It was an interesting finesse. I didn’t need to be too aggressive. I couldn’t say,”I moved across the country to maintain precisely the exact same apartment building as you.”
Those kids would hang out in the gym all the time. I had never gone to the gym or worked out. But I decided,”I need to be in the gym because I simply have to fulfill those kids, get those ideas nods.”
So I went to the gym every day. Finally, we crossed paths.
Then we flew Aly Raisman to L.A. for a photo shoot. It was right when she won her gold medal. We did the photo shoot at the gym when I understood all of them are there. They were obsessed with Aly because she won this gold medal. She’d been like America’s sweetheart, gymnastics, an terrific person.
They said, for example,”what’s this photo shoot?” I said to Aly,”Go tell Logan you’re selling a good deal of socks, and he can’t sell as many socks as you.” So that’s how the conversation started. I said, “Logan, dude, let’s sell some socks.”
Bandholz: Can he kill it?
Give: Yes. It was wild. He drove over 1.5 million new visitors to our site over a few weeks. That generated 20,000 new clients . We’d no ads, no email catch, no email flow. We had no retargeting. There are numerous things that I should have done better. But yes, he smashed it.
Bandholz: You’ve transitioned away from socks.
Give: Yes. We sell hardly any socks today. Feat Socks was plenty of faculty humor-type stuff. We took a break from influencers for a while. We’re focused on the solution and experience and building an elevated brand. But we’re back, doing collaborations again. We did a great collab with Helen Owen in December. She is a design influencer with 1.6 million Instagram followers. It did well. We have got three or four collabs lined up for 2021.
Bandholz: How do you build the perfect influencer deal so it’s a win-win?
Offer: I’ve done a lot of collabs. Some were extremely strong, and others were extremely ineffective. I’ve learned a lot. The individual and the brand have to align. When there’s no alignment between manufacturer and individual, both sides are confused. The influencer’s followers are perplexed. It won’t convert. There has to be real alignment, and the influencer must really care. So that’s the first thing and the most important.
Bandholz: how do you find influencers?
Offer: We will present products to them, or else they will organically buy our products. We’re going to stroll through our Shopify orders and see a dominant buyer. We’re like,”Let’s hit her up.” And she’s like,”I love your stuff.” We respond, “Let’s collab.” When it’s organic and real, people can tell.
Where a terrific deal of brands go wrong is by thinking,”I shall pay them five grand for a post.” They’ll do you post, and that’s it. It’s so far from that. It has to be a whole campaign.
There are several sorts of collabs. You could do quite modest sponsor posts. You could co-brand products, which typically perform the best. A good deal of these influencers desire to make their own item. I could be an enabler to create their own product and help my business, too.
You want them to feel like it is their product. Give them a revenue or profit share — with their own brand. Make content for them and with them. Have them play with your product, and analyze it, and talk through it, saying,”This is why I am choosing number one. It smells more like shaving cream versus pine trees. I enjoy this odor.” Make it a whole lot bigger than,”Go buy this.”
We’ve worked with influencers with 100,000 followers that marketed over influencers with 5 million. Therefore it depends on who they are and why people follow them.
Concerning paying influencers, it’s contingent upon the person. We’ve done deals from 10 percent of earnings about 80 percent. We stay away from a predetermined number of posts on any deal. When you set a dollar amount on a range of posts, you’re just going to find that lots of posts.
It’s far better to say,”We’re in this together. It’s a partnership, a collaboration. You’re likely to make Xpercent of earnings from this.”
Bandholz: Shifting direction, have you experienced setbacks?
Offer: For sure. At age 24 I left the Forbes”30 under 30″ list. We had our best year in business. I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk saying,”Hustle, grind, no friends, no going out, no more speaking to girls, no partying, just work, work, work.”
And I did that for a year. I became very depressed, sad, and shaky. This was in 2017 or 2018. I had been in a bad mental state.
I booked a one-way visit to Thailand. I left my phone and computer behind. I stayed for a week. While there, I began seeing these children play in the street. Their clothes were scraps. They were playing soccer with a Coke can. And they were laughing so hard with the biggest smiles on their faces. I thought,”I live in the U.S. I have all these things. I’ve received awards. But I am miserable all the time. These kids, all they need is a Coke can to be happy. So who’s winning in life?”
That trip taught me a lot. Yes, business is vital, but so is life.