Understanding the marketing genius behind Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS

What is the biggest event of March? March Madness.

What does SKIMS, Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line, roll-out in March? March All-Stars: the brand's latest stroke of marketing genius, where the nation's brightest college basketball stars — including our very own Jared McCain — don new, Mens Terry loungewear.

This isn’t the first time SKIMS has collaborated with big names in sports, or tried to push their way into the men’s market. Last year, the brand became the official underwear partner of the NBA, WNBA and USA Basketball, unveiling more men’s products in an Instagram campaign with NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and with soccer and football stars Neymar Jr. and Nick Bosa, respectively.

The key to SKIMS success: strategic collaborations. When launching wedding wear, they chose Alex Cooper, the famed host of Call Her Daddy, the second most listened-to podcast on Spotify. Cooper is a certified engagement booster: several artists have seen their streaming numbers skyrocket after appearing on her show. A collaboration with SKIMS is a no-brainer.

And this is just one example. The likes of Kate Moss, Snoop Dogg, Usher, SZA and Ice Spice have all appeared in promotional content for SKIMS — not to mention brand collaborations with fashion house Fendi and jewelry house Swarovski. Every corner of Instagram is awash with  SKIMS. The posts, stories and reels — all of which beautifully decorate the brand’s Instagram page —  aren’t lying when they say “Everybody’s Wearing Skims.” Well, all the celebrities are. What about real people? 

You can see a product on street billboards and on your feed, but if it isn’t good, you won’t buy it. SKIMS, however, caters to the people. It actually is inclusive — selling products in sizes from XXS to 5X — and diverse, with over 10 shades to match every skin-tone. Product reviews are great, praising comfort and wearability — and justifying high prices as people become repeat customers. “Flattering,” “sexy” and “soft,” appear again and again in these reviews.

SKIMS isn’t all flash, but an actually good product. And investors agree, valuing SKIMS at over $4 billion (higher than both Tom Ford and Calvin Klein) — making Kim a billionaire in the process. $750 million in sales in 2023 from a company that sells the majority of their products online, markets them almost exclusively online, with only a few pop-up shops and distribution at Nordstrom and Saks. Who’s buying? A customer base of 70% millennials and Gen Zers.

It’s not surprising that a company founded by Kim Kardashian knows how to appeal to a mass audience. But she isn’t the sole mastermind here — in fact, she has a superstar couple to thank: Emma and Jens Grede. 

Emma founded Good American with Khloe Kardashian in 2016 and also paired Nathalie Portman with Dior. Jens is behind Brady by Tom Brady and FRAME, a hugely successful denim brand based in California, to name a few of their recent achievements. 

Jens’ Wednesday Agency, the marketing group he co-founded with friend Erik Torstensson in 2003, is also the reason we have Mr. Porter, arguably the world’s premier luxury online retailer.

In 2014, GQ gave the duo the highest praise possible, a hint to those wondering what Jens brings to the SKIMS table:

“Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson are creative polymaths . . . incorporating an almost mind-boggling diverse collection of fashion enterprises . . . They are savvy marketeers, vanity publishers, ecommerce architects, art directors, nimble investors, clothing designers, cultural editors and contemporary tastemakers.”

Emma met Jens when she joined the agency in the late 2000s, and for years they helped brands bring their visions to life. Then they decided to use that expertise to start their own brands, SKIMS being one of them. 

So not only does SKIMS have Kim Kardashian at the helm but some of the most successful marketing-execs-turned-entrepreneurs to date, acting as CEO and CPO. And if you haven’t seen Emma, she is an influencer herself. The two of them know exactly how to use SKIMS, surfaces and appearances to their advantage.


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