American Giant are calling bullshit on a fat, bloated US apparel industry, bursting at it’s seams. Frustrated with the narrative surrounding America-made goods; which depicted US manufacturing as either extremely expensive or as of poor quality, founder Bayard Winthrop founded American Giant to produce high quality, US-made and affordable American classics. “The apparel industry is just so horrible now. It’s so filled with so much waste, so much crap and so much crazy marketing, stuff that is totally disconnected from the product’ Bayard says. “As you can tell I’ve got a chip on my shoulder about it”.
American Giant have tripled their business each year since launching in 2012 and Bayard credits in part their success with an increasing number of consumers who want relationships with brands that share their world view. “Consumers are increasingly fickle. They’ll leave you with the click of the mouse” he explains. “The businesses that are going to thrive are ones that drive genuine love and attachment”
Unusually for a venture capital backed project, American Giant has not been built to flip. This is a values driven business built for the long term, and from the beginning Bayard wanted backers who shared his vision. “Capital can do a lot of great things for you. But typical venture capital has a timeline attached to it, has a return profile attached to it, and that can oftentimes warp decision-making.” says Bayard. “We decided very early on to not go after institutional capital and to focus on private individual family offices to fund the business, funders that had a higher tolerance and maybe a bigger perspective around what it requires to build a brand”
Amazon have taught us success can be founded on efficiency and price. American Giant teach us that that's not all that matters. And for those that don’t have scale in their favour you need to build love for a brand. It’s affirmation that consumers don’t just want the 'cheapest-today'. People like brands that stand for something. Brands built on values and an unwavering conviction in what they’re doing. Brands that want to change the world.
For radical transparency.
For killing email with kindness.
For figuring out how to be both global and local.
For setting a new standard for 'Challenger Banks'.
For making Amazon's weak spot a competive advantage.
For promising to make Apple look small time.
For breaking the taboo around menstruation.
For paving the way for a new generation of belief-led brands.
For a fresh toke - sorry take, on the cannabis category.
For taking the showroom concept to another level.
For bringing color and advance to not-drinking.
For creating a financial platform to one day rival Wall Street.
For 'Drink no Evil' and sticking it to Coke.
For at least attempting to get some of us off the grid.
For standing up to the UK's Big 6 Energy firms.
For being anti-antivirus.
For giving Uber a bloody nose in 2016. (We hope...)
For flipping the rules of dating.
For elegantly positioning cable as a thing of the past.
For being the 'Real & Human' challenger in FMCGs.
Editor of The Challenger Project, marketing at eatbigfish. Fan of the underdog. West Ham supporter. All adds up really.