Kate Huyett tells D S Simon Media CEO, Doug Simon, the story of Bombas, the brand that boasts in making “the most comfortable socks in the history of feet.” She touches on the charity mission of the DTC brand, and its importance to the company’s appeal. Kate also discusses the rising importance of television in building your brand’s message authentically.
DOUG SIMON: Hi I’m Doug Simon from D S Simon Media and we’re here at a diffusion event talking about direct to consumer marketing. Who better to discuss that with than Kate Huyett. Thanks, so much for being with us.
KATE HUYETT: Happy to be here.
DOUG SIMON: Kate is CMO of Bombas. And hopefully you’re wearing sharp looking socks as you’re watching this discussion. Kate why don’t you share a little bit about what you do?
KATE HUYETT: Yeah, I’m the Chief Marketing Officer of Bombas. We are a direct to consumer apparel brand we have started with socks which is our original products and then last year we launched T-shirts which are our first foray into apparel and our key differentiator is that for every pair of socks and now T-shirt purchase we donate a comparable item to those in need, the homeless, and the at-risk community.
DOUG SIMON: Right, and socks are actually one of the most important needs within the homeless community. How important has the charity component been to building your brand?
KATE HUYETT: Yeah, I mean it’s absolutely foundational so. The founders started Bombas because they saw a quote on Facebook that socks were the number one most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. That was around the time TOMS was starting to become big and they thought could the TOMS model work for something like socks. They decided that that was something that they were passionate about. They built a better sock. They also built a custom donation sock. So, most people don’t know this but the socks that we donate to those in need is actually specific for that community. So it’s treated with an anti-microbial spray to hold it and lasts longer between laundry cycles. It’s made the seam is doubly reinforced because it was subjected to significantly more wear and tear.
KATE HUYETT: So even with that you can see that the mission is deeply ingrained in everything we do. And I would say it’s been a really key part of what we find resonates about our brand with our customers. Obviously if the socks weren’t so amazing, which they are, you know the mission by itself wouldn’t carry it, but the fact that the product is genuinely great and you’re helping someone in need is really what helps with loyalty and mission.
DOUG SIMON: Among the topics of tonight’s discussion some of the communication strategies among DTC brands which are growing rapidly. What are some of your thoughts? We know that television is actually becoming more important.
KATE HUYETT: Yeah. So from the paid media side television has become increasingly important to us over the last several years. But I think you know we had a very early experience of being featured on Shark Tank in 2014 and that was really a moment that showed us how powerful the reach of television is, how deeply people connect with what they see on television in a way that feels fundamentally different than any other media channel. It feels more personal and more credible as well.
DOUG SIMON: Any final thoughts about how maybe DTC and traditional are now starting to blend together with everyone?
KATE HUYETT: Yeah, it’s been a really interesting time in this space. I think we’ve seen a lot of our direct to consumer peers open stores and then we’re also seeing a lot of ours. A lot of the traditional retailers really invest in their e-commerce experience. I’m saying it’s all a win-win for the customer. They can shop in-store if that’s what they prefer they can shop online if that’s what they prefer and have an increasingly consistent experience.
DOUG SIMON: The customer experience has been so central to your success. Thanks, so much for spending time with us.
KATE HUYETT: Thank you for having me.