ThirdLove has had a busy year. The digitally native intimates and lifestyle brand re-entered brick-and-mortar retail and launched products in the activewear and sleepwear categories, but it was its acquisition of Kit Undergarments, a foundation brand founded by celebrity stylists Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche, that generated the most interest. Co-founder and CEO Heidi Zak noted that her nearly 10-year-old company had been aware of the Gen Z cult favorite since its 2019 founding, going as far as to connect with Mizrahi and Harouche to collaborate.
“You only know what’s out there when you network, have conversations and when you’re really invested in understanding your industry and who the players are,” said Zak in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I’m friendly with other founders of other D2C companies in this space. It’s not a bad thing to know your ‘competition’ early and have those relationships.”
The interest was mutual. As Kit Undergarments — now known as Kit Undergarments for ThirdLove — grew following its 2019 founding, Mizrahi and Harouche examined how ThirdLove navigated the industry. With its mission of offering intimates that are created by and for women who seek comfort and style from their foundation pieces, ThirdLove had laid a blueprint for emerging brands.
The acquisition of Kit Undergarments by ThirdLove has created a more powerful intimates brand that will support:
- Kit Undergarments for ThirdLove’s ability to scale via access to ThirdLove’s supply chain, manufacturing contacts and expertise;
- A multigenerational crossover effect that links the brands;
- Complementary design skills and product offerings; and
- A strong commitment to breast cancer awareness.
Through the support of ThirdLove and access to its resources, Mizrahi and Harouche are now able to scale their brand as Zak’s also continues to grow. By working with ThirdLove’s supply chain partners, the Kit Undergarments founders will be able to bring their vision for the brand to fruition.
“As a small company starting out, having relationships with good factories is always a challenge in meeting minimums and everything else,” said Harouche in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s really hard for a young company starting out to be able to scale or offer competitive pricing. With ThirdLove and its supply chain relationships, we’re able to produce products in organic cotton, which is a fabrication that we always wanted to produce but couldn’t meet the minimum. Now it’s possible for things like that to happen. Being able to leverage and have the support of ThirdLove helps in every single aspect of the business.”
This opportunity will allow the two stylists to call on their creative talents and take the type of risks that speak to a fashion-forward consumer of foundation pieces, helped by an improved ability to forecast the next popular trends.
“Prior to joining with ThirdLove, we were confined to a certain number of SKUs and designs,” said Mizrahi in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our skill set is being able to see and predict trends and create things that we know women will want, but [that] they don’t even know that they want yet. [However], being a small brand, we weren’t really able to take those risks and test products like that.”
Reaching Multiple Generations of Undergarment Consumers
Kit Undergarments’ strong relationship with the Gen Z intimates consumer is another benefit of the acquisition. Typical members of ThirdLove’s audience are millennials, but Zak noted that the brand also reaches older customers who can facilitate Gen Zers’ introduction into the intimates category. Offering products such as wireless bras and softer pieces to meet this younger consumer’s needs is crucial to growing the business.
“The interesting pieces of customer research that we uncovered over the past six months was that we have a lot of moms who are shopping with their younger daughters at ThirdLove, and that is a big opportunity for that daughter to have access to Kit Undergarments,” Zak said. “It also further expands our collectively being a ThirdLove-Kit Undergarments offering. We’ve seen ThirdLove wireless sales have really grown year over year pretty substantially.”
An additional benefit from the Kit Undergarments for ThirdLove collection is the perspective from which Mizrahi and Harouche design. The stylists, who have a combined experience of 20 years working in the space, understand how women’s foundation pieces should perform under clothing.
“We design products from a stylist’s perspective; for example, you need this underpant for a shorter waist or a shorter hemline and everything serves a specific solution,” said Harouche. “We were never able to really figure out the T-shirt [bra] and having the perfectly fitting underwire bra. When you think of ThirdLove, you think of the T-shirt. Now [customers] can still come to Kit Undergarments for their unstructured bras or the Tap short or hero products that are always what our customers want, and they can also go to ThirdLove for wired bras. It’s the perfect one-stop shop.”
Aligned on Fighting Breast Cancer
Another shared element between ThirdLove and Kit Undergarments has been their commitments to combating breast cancer. When planning their company’s launch three years ago, Mizrahi and Harouche decided to unveil the bra and undergarments brand during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We weren’t sure that it would be a yearly thing, but we just wanted everyone to be a part of it and give to people,” said Mizrahi. “It was really important that there was a story behind why we started our business, why we were doing this breast cancer campaign, how we wanted to include people that we were inspired by and figure out if we could even make a small difference.”
For October 2022, the Kit Undergarments for ThirdLove’s larger audience sets the stage for more powerful Breast Cancer Awareness Month messaging.
“Breasts are always on our mind, in work and personal of life — how can we leverage this and really bring awareness about a cause that we’re both super passionate about?,” said Harouche. “Everything for that month and gearing up to it is really exciting, that we’re going to be able to hopefully raise a lot more money and spread more awareness.”