Gone are the days when you had a few available brands to choose products from, be it health, personal care, fashion or any lifestyle. But with the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C or DTC) brands, you have plenty of options now.
D2C brands directly reach the customers through e-commerce websites, social media or offline stores, eliminating middlemen. Direct contact with customers makes it easy for brands to analyse their consumers' needs, personal information and purchasing behaviour.
For this reason, several companies follow the direct-to-consumer model to enhance their market opportunities. Estimates show that the D2C market will reach 175 billion dollars by 2025 in the US alone.
Let’s check out some of these direct-to-consumer brands that are thriving with their innovative strategies!
Founded in 2014, Smile Direct Club provides teeth aligners and whiteners to consumers. The brand came into existence when Alex and Jordan noticed no good dental products were available for people with alignment problems. It was then they created an affordable product.
The D2C brand approached its targeted customers by community building, content marketing strategies, running paid ads on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, and applied influencer marketing to connect with people.
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Hims & Hers is a healthcare brand specialising in pharmaceuticals where people can contact doctors and get prescribed medicine delivered to their doorstep.
The company was launched in 2017, focusing only on men. But later, it added products for females too. Hims & Hers employed an empathetic approach to understanding the audience’s pain points and created a suitable product for them.
Burst provides oral care products targeting people of all age groups, from kids to adults.
Founders, Hamish and Brittany, saw a market opportunity after realising that people were unaware of the oral care benefits. They joined hands with the dental experts in the USA to create BURST products. Today, more than 15k dental healthcare professionals have shown their trust in the company.
Blink Health, founded by two brothers, made prescribed drugs accessible to customers’ doorsteps at economical rates. To reach out to the masses and build trust, the brand relied on blogs where the brands talked about subjects like supplements, probiotics, nutrition and other health needs. The strategy helped them to establish themselves as experts in the healthcare field.
Combining psychology sciences with fun games and activities - that's the unique selling point of Happify. Set up in 2012 by Tomer Ben-Kiki, Ofer Leidner, and Andy Parsons, Happify focuses on building healthier habits like positive thinking with the help of daily fun activities.
The company has created several resources for its customers like emails and blogs to educate customers about positive psychology, cognitive behavioural theory and stress management to spread a simple message that happiness can be learned.
A leading D2C brand in the fashion industry, Stitch Fix has mingled data science with the expertise of human stylists. The company delivers personalised clothing to customers on a subscription basis.
The founder, Katrina Lake, started the company with Google sheets and a survey service to keep track of the customers’ preferences and purchase details. Since the company is well-established now, it uses data science software whereby customers answer questions relating to their style and get personal style clothing delivered for every event.
As for the marketing strategies, Stitch Fix uses style guides for men and women to style better customers better. It also leverages the content created by its customers on social media channels.
Knot Standard is an online men’s fashion wear providing tailor-made clothing to its customers. The two founders, Matt and John, founded Knot Standard to provide customised suits for men by capturing a three-dimensional frame of your body online and delivering the stitched suit and blazer at your doorstep.
The brand got covered in magazines for its unique styling. More so, the brand shared newsletters so that customers keep coming back for more information and advice.
Founded in 2021, American Giant started its journey manufacturing hoodies. The main aim of the founders was to provide valuable clothing which is fulfilling and worth the investment.
The company stays connected to the customers and informs them about the upcoming offers through email marketing.
All Year Round (AYR) is a popular direct to consumer fashion brand specializing in women's clothing. Run by ten passionate women, the brand wants to create clothing that boosts confidence in their customers.
Featured in multiple magazines like Forbes, Vogue, InStyle, Glamour, Fortune, AYR uses marketing tactics like email marketing and social media marketing to inform customers about new styling trends.
Bonobos is a D2C menswear brand in the US that creates distinct and comfortable clothing for every event. It makes the online shopping experience unique to remain visible in the market.
With a vision to connect with customers, the brand sends out five emails every day to inform, engage and retain them.
Lovevery develops sustainable toys and playing kits for a child’s brain development. Using the expertise of specialists and academicians, the D2C brand has developed play kits for toddlers to support their learning.
The company has created educational courses for parents to tell them how these toys can help their children.
Wonderschool provides high-quality and secure educational care services for kids from infants to six years of age. The company grew by targeting the parents and teachers seeking quality education and personal care for their kids.
The company collaborated with multiple digital marketing agencies to get their word out with strategies like FB ads, Google search marketing, Google ads and social media.
Bark Technologies is an all-in-one parental control app founded in 2015 by Brain Bason. Knowing that parents are concerned about the digital health of their kids, the app allows parents to block adult sites and regulate internet time and gaming.
The company targets millennial parents and their kids active on social media. The app educates parents on various subjects like the dark side of social media, better parenting tips and more by publishing blogs.
Plum Organics specialises in child nutrition and sells packaged foods for babies to delight their taste buds and create healthy eating habits. The company targets health-conscious parents who want their kids to eat tasty and healthy food.
The D2C company was set up by parents who had a lot of questions regarding a child’s nutrition. This direct to consumer company has and continues to focus on word-of-mouth marketing and PR to get their word out.
Owned by Mattel, Fisher-Price creates science toys made especially to suit the needs of a growing kid. These toys help in developing a growing child’s brain. Being in the process of constant innovation, Fisher-Price recently launched an educational software for new age kindergarten kids.
Started by Brian Bushell - By Humankind - provides environment-friendly personal care product bundles to its subscribers. Shower kits, tooth care, hair care products are delivered every month to the customers who subscribe to them.
With their approach, the brand wants to reduce single-use plastic waste. It recycles plastic for product packaging. It leverages email marketing to spread the word about their work.
LOLA is a D2C brand offering intimate products that are 100% high quality organic. Established by two women on a mission to change the face of feminine care, LOLA provides eco-friendly and chemical-free products.
But what makes them unique is their subscription plans. Customers can choose a plan to avoid placing the order time and again.
Manscaped specialises in comfortable men's grooming products. The company, started by Paul Tran, used humour marketing to boost brand awareness. Currently, this D2C brand has over 3M men as customers.
Being innovative in their product, the brand opted for influencer marketing as one of the tactics to gain visibility and drive sales.
Harry’s was started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. The company has become a billion-dollar D2C brand in the personal care industry. It provides affordable and quality grooming products for men on a subscription-based model.
Using word-of-mouth marketing such as referral programs, the brand knows how to engage new customers.
Flamingo is the sister brand of Harry’s that provides affordable and good quality personal care products for women. Their products are created with the help of healthcare professionals to gain potential customers' trust and deliver quality products.
Founded by Brett and Jonathan, this D2C company supplies healthy dog food to pet owners. Understanding the convenience that pet owners seek, they ask customers to create a profile on the website and fill in the details of their pet. Based on that, fresh meals for dogs are prepared and sent out to the customer in eco-friendly packages.
Knowing that their customers are active on social media, the brand actively uses word of mouth marketing to target millennial pet owners.
PetPlate, started by Renaldo Webb, provides human-grade dog food. They prepare personalised meal plans for pets after customers create their profiles and place their requirements. The food is freshly prepared and delivered to the customers.
The brand work alongside vets and nutritionists to create personalised meal plans for the dogs.
Dandy specialises in manufacturing healthy treats for dogs. The company creates nutritious, all-natural and chemical-free treats for dogs that are customised according to their needs. The company targets health-conscious pet parents who are looking for healthier supplements for their dogs.
It asks its customers to sign up and take a quiz to understand what type of supplement is suited for their dog. The company cleverly uses user-generated content to take advantage of word-of-mouth publicity. It encourages the customers to share a picture of their pet with a hashtag on social media.
Ollie provides human-grade dog food customised for individual dogs. This D2C brand focuses on providing healthy meals that are perfectly proportioned and freshly cooked.
It has positioned itself as a brand with a good cause that wants to see every dog healthy and happy. The website also showcases social proof by including feedback from their customer pet parents. The brand encourages customers to share their reviews on social media, using word-of-mouth and affiliate marketing to target potential customers.
Jinx is another pet care brand founded for dog parents. The company prepares dog food that is healthy and harm-free. The product is sent to a customer's house based on their chosen subscription plan. It features the ingredient list on the website so that customers can know what goes into their pet’s food.
The company features a custom date option according to the customer's convenience.
Blue Apron takes culinary experience to the next level! The brand delivers fresh and quality ingredients with an easy-to-cook recipe. It collaborates with local farmers to get supplies and create unique recipes. And then deliver it to the customer’s doorstep based on the order placed.
The company has partnered up with YouTubers, bloggers and Instagram influencers to convey how Blue Apron has made life easier for people who do not have time to cook.
Perky Jerky is a D2C snack brand that manufactures on-the-go healthy snacks to suit customers' needs.
The product was invented by accident when the founders and friends spilt Redbull on their jerky and started joking about jerky that provides energy. Soon, it became a new startup idea, and they created Perky Jerky that was healthy and nutritious.
The company used guerilla marketing to advertise the product and targets millennial moms that are busy and would love a healthy snack filled with protein and need no cooking.
Hint Water is a known D2C brand, providing fruit favoured water to its customers. Ideated by Kara Goldin, the brand came into existence when Goldin saw her lifestyle transform after drinking fruit infused water. It led her to create her line of fruit water that is healthy.
Hint Water collaborates with social media influencers to get the product promoted. It also features an affiliate program offering a 20% commission per sale. After being founded in 2005, the brand has now doubled its worth.
Founded in 2014, this D2C brand delivers fresh farm produce and vegetables every week to customers. The brand sells the idea of creating a healthy life by preparing and cooking meals at home. The company aims at reducing farm waste and offers tips and tricks to do the same.
Hungry Harvest used content marketing to educate customers about zero food waste and cooking healthy and filling fresh meals.
It reached out to Instagram influencers to generate brand awareness and get people to subscribe to their product. The subscriptions include weekly deliveries of produce fresh from the farm.
Soylent manufactures nutritional meal-replacement drinks targeted at millennials, professionals and gamers busy with their life who often skip meals in between.
Understanding the market it caters to, Soylent effectively uses influencer marketing to reach these millennials. You may find many Instagram influencers holding the Soylent bottles and enjoying their liquified meal.
Birchbox delivers beauty subscription boxes to the doorstep of customers. Created for working women who are not obsessed with beauty products, Birchbox sends simple routine products that are easy to use and apply and do not take much time.
Birchbox is an omnichannel brand that provides subscriptions, online and offline stores.
Using marketing strategies like personalised content, referral program, enhanced user experience, educational facebook content, influencer marketing, email marketing, user-generated content and more, the brand knows how to reach its customers.
Glossier specializes in beauty, makeup, body care and skincare products and aims for customers who want simple beauty products that are safe to use.
Glossier has grown the empire through clever word of mouth marketing strategies, turning customers into micro & nano influencers and encouraging them to share their products on social media.
Geologie is one of the leading cosmetic D2C brands that revolutionise the men's skincare market. The company targets beauty conscious men who want good products to take care of their skin. It offers personalised men's skincare products according to the skin goals shared by customers. The brand also reaches a narrower audience having skin issues and need good products to deal with them.
Maelove was founded by Jackie Kim for the female audience. Her sole aim was to provide quality products to women without the additional supply chain and overhead costs.
The skincare brand effectively uses KOL influencer marketing with the help of dermatologists and doctors to target the audience and build trust. The company also collaborates with social media influencers to promote its products.
Drunk Elephant is a D2C brand focusing on non-toxic skincare products. The brand originated when Tiffany Masterson, the brand founder, suffered from skin issues and couldn’t find a single toxicity free product.
It is now a leading skincare brand because of its word of mouth marketing strategy. It leverages user-generated content on multiple social media platforms to add to its credibility.
Founded by Nick Goodman in 2014, GoPro sells professional cameras. Goodman, a photography and videography enthusiast, decided to create a product that was easy to carry and has all the advanced features of a DSLR camera. That’s when he came up with the idea and created GoPro.
The company focuses heavily on video content marketing and collaborates with action influencers who create exciting action videos featuring the go pro cameras.
Bose is one of the oldie D2C brands. It was founded in 1964 in the US to provide durable, high-quality accessories to benefit consumers. The company sells its products through e-commerce websites and brick & mortar shops in multiple locations.
Bose’s marketing strategy includes traditional media advertising focusing on customer experience. The company also experiments with digital marketing and paid campaign strategies.
This consumer electronic D2C brand grew into a billion-dollar company in 7 years. Fitbit is a tech company founded by James Clarks to encourage people to track their fitness regime. Products became somewhat a style statement for peers. Even actors and stars wore Fitbit in movies and interviews, which created a lot of demand for the product.
Founded in 1984 by Michael Dell, the company has become a popular choice in consumer electronics and is one of the leading suppliers of laptops and PCs. The company’s goal is to provide a world-class customer experience in the market. Dell targets an audience familiar with technology or professionals who need technology for their day to day activities.
Dell relies on traditional marketing tactics such as print media, TV advertising and more, while exploring the digital marketing sector.
HPE is a multinational D2C brand founded in 2015 that provides consumer electronics goods like laptops, PCs, and more. Focusing on solving customer problems as best as it can, the company has gained a reputation in the market for its rich customer experience.
Hewlett Packard grew brand awareness by reaching out to celebrities and influencers. The company collaborated with Charissa Thompson, an American TV host seen in commercials and social media using the HP products.
Brooklinen is a home essentials brand set up in 2014 by Vicky and Rich Fulop because they weren’t happy with the pricing of the essential home products. That’s when the couple decided to build a brand based on their individual needs and customer inputs to deliver affordable and quality products.
The company became successful by employing word of mouth marketing. The brand has an offline and online presence to satisfy every customer’s needs. The brand was
Two students who wanted to disrupt the furniture market in the US had set up Burrow. This D2C furniture brand became a multi-million dollar company by featuring a line of expandable furniture, which attracted consumers and created a huge demand.
The company relied heavily on visual and written content like educational blog pieces to attract and retain customers. It also kept its strategy customer-focused for maximum satisfaction.
Casper features sleep essential products like mattresses. It was founded in 2014 by a group of 6 people. The company grew into a popular brand with the help of innovative content marketing strategies like storytelling and creating customer-centric content
Floyd, founded in 2013 in the US, provides a range of home care products. Since 2019 the brand has been focusing on replacing the traditional furniture model with products that are easy to assemble at home.
Being a part of the competitive market, the company focused on several marketing strategies like email marketing, content marketing, digital marketing and more to promote their products.
Simply Framed creates custom or personalised frames and gives its customers plenty of options to choose from. Since its inception in 2014, the company has targeted artists and photographers who wanted their art pieces framed for exhibitions.
To gain the attention of online customers, the brand educates on framing tips, home decor ideas and gifting choices by frequently posting blogs on their website.
Ernest Alexander provides thoughtful and functional travel bags made with high-quality materials. The brand was started in 2009 and has become a known name for selling luxury bags. The quality, look and feel of the bags makes Ernest Alexander unique.
Cotopaxi specialises in outdoor gear and apparel products that are long-lasting and are of good quality. Davis Smith grew this D2C brand to a whopping $8M in the last two years. The founder highlighted the troubles faced during excursions if people fail to carry comfortable clothing to gain the attention of those who frequently go for outdoor activities.
Tortuga provides travel accessories that are functional and flexible. Two best friends started the company because of their love for travelling. They wanted to create a product for themselves that would be helpful while travelling anywhere in the world. The idea became a full-blown brand in 2009, and the founders kept innovating their products.
To remain connected to the masses, the company posts blogs talking about travel tips, packing lists and all things travelling.
Away manufactures travel bags with its target audience in mind - millennial travellers who need modern solutions to their problems. The bags come with abundant space, USB chargers, and durability.
Away uses a mix of traditional and modern marketing tactics. They advertise on billboards, magazines, books to boost awareness for the brand. The brand also applies the influencer marketing strategy, using user-generated content for social media to drive traffic and engagement for their brand.
Paravel provides eco-friendly travel products made of upcycled plastic. The products are lightweight, durable, and functional. It was founded in 2014 and has become a known brand for its thought behind the brand.
These were the top 50 D2C brands in the USA using exceptional marketing strategies to reach out to the masses.
Some brands are now experimenting with influencer marketing for targeted outreach. It is because influencer marketing for D2C brands can be beneficial in many aspects like:
Let’s see how the 2 top brands of all - Warby Parker and Dollar shave - leveraged influencer marketing for their growth.
Warby Parker is a successful eyewear D2C brand in the US. Warby Parker, founded back in 2010, removed hefty retail costs from the eyewear industry to make eyewear products reach directly to the consumers. The company excelled at doing so while focusing on the customer experience. It collected and analysed the customer data to deliver a memorable customer experience.
Warby Parker dived into influencer marketing with a clever strategy in hand. Instead of collaborating with celebrities or high-ticket influencers, Warby collaborated with seven community influencers. These influencers were Warby Parker customers who wore Warby in their social media posts. Warby contacted these seven creative influencers to become a part of the #wearingwarby campaign.
This strategy created a more authentic relationship between the influencer and the brand as content creators (influencers) used their creative excellence to encourage their followers to wear Warby like them. This way, paid partnership posts seemed more authentic to the audience.
Dollar Shave Club disrupted the male grooming market. Founded by Michael Dubin in 2010, the company grew out of a viral comedy video targeted at men. DSC eliminated all the retail and supply chain costs and provided men with razors at an affordable price. Not only this, it even set up a subscription model where the customer receives his razor in the mail regularly.
The company gained approx 12000 subscribers in 48 hours after the video release. Since then, the company has created many viral videos to gain attention.
Also, DSC has set foot in other forms of marketing like email, social media, paid ads, display ads, referrals, and influencer marketing.
Dollar shave club has been cashing on millions due to its influencer marketing campaigns. The company collaborates with Instagram and YouTube influencers who share unboxing videos or their experience with their followers. It enables the company to boost awareness and drive more sales through word of mouth.
Establishing a successful brand takes a lot more than just having a brilliant idea. You have to experiment with what is working for others and understand what works best for you.
Influencer marketing is one of the popular and effective marketing strategies used by brands use. You can also take advantage of this trending tactic and drive sales for your company.
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