Have you become accustomed to wearing more comfortable clothes while working during the lockdown? Today’s guest is Nate Checketts, co-founder and CEO of premium men’s activewear brand Rhone. He envisages a future in performance clothing that is comfortable, functional, and stylish—suitable for everywhere from the gym to the office and eliminating the ‘segmentation’ of clothing into certain clothes for certain occasions.
Beginning in 2014, Rhone was born from what Nate saw was a gap in the notoriously tough apparel market—with 200+ female-focused brands for premium activewear and almost none for men. What has resulted is an omnichannel business, with Rhone going head-to-head with successful female-focused brands and selling not just online but to wholesale accounts and retail stores.
Having identified a need and addressing it with a great product that speaks for itself, word-of-mouth was instrumental in growing the business in the early stages. Nate discusses how he made the transition into building long-term customer relationships via social media, an online magazine, and a highly successful email marketing strategy.
“There’s no question that email marketing is by far the most powerful form of marketing that we do. Not only is it the most efficient, but we think of it as a direct relationship with our customers and a way of driving long-term loyalty in addition to sales. It is the relationship pipeline between us and the customer.”
Main discussion points
- Nate shares his value-focused tactics for increasing retention. Rhone’s online publication, “The Pursuit,” provides value for the customer with high-quality content without pushy advertising, building a dedicated group of loyal followers who share a healthy, active lifestyle.
- While brick and mortar has played a relatively small part in the business, Rhone has been affected by COVID-19. Nate discusses the future of retail in terms of brick and mortar stores vs ecommerce.
- Sustainability plays a big role in Rhone’s business model. Nate firmly believes that businesses have a responsibility to have a clear and well-communicated moral background—and Rhone’s is to make products that are as sustainable as possible.
- Nate reflects on the early days of his business, working essentially alone alongside another job, a long commute, and the responsibility of providing for his family. He sheds some light on his time-management techniques in this challenging yet productive period as an entrepreneur trying to grow his business.