“Design in China”​ e08 – Ubras – The Game Changer of Women Undergarments in China

This series of articles named “Design in China” will provide a snapshot of new DTC Chinese brands. I’ll review emerging brands in China and outside of China. But all these brands are designed and created from China.

What does going Direct-to-consumer (DTC) mean? Selling direct-to-consumer, commonly referred to as DTC or D2C, means you’re selling your products directly to your end customers. Sellers bypass any third-party retailers, wholesalers, or any other type of middlemen to deliver their products.

Recognizable examples of DTC brands include CasperWarby Parker, and Dollar Shave Club. However, there are now thousands of sellers undertaking this unique approach. These DTC brands are leveraging mobile and digital channels that are bypassing traditional sales models.

DTC brands are usually sold exclusively online or specialize in a specific product category. However, top growing brands are expanding to other channels like their own storefront or exclusive partnerships with other retailers.

Branding over Sales Performance

China consumption has evolved already. Many start-ups from mainland China experienced new way of purchasing clothes but also electronic accessories and food for years. They’ve already generated high volume of online sales and are now developing more sophisiticated and creative product and online ad campaign to elevate their brand. From a strong product positioning they are creating strong brand to retain existing users and attract new consumers. I’ll comment on the one I found interesting and worth sharing with followers here. #ChineseCulturalConfidence

These brands understand why brands are so important? #为什么要做品牌

“The most important thing really, is this notion that the consumer has changed, and really a lot of retailers are way, way, way behind the curve,” said Paula Rosenblum, co-founder of retail advisory firm RSR Research – source CrunchBase

Ubras – The Game Changer of Women Undergarments in China

Established in 2016, Ubras is a company founded at the height of the wireless bra trend. The company is now well-known for its comfortable designs of undergarments and, particularly, wireless bras. Most Ubras customers are individuals from the post-90s generation (Millenials), while they are currently expanding their target market to encompass individuals from the post-95 and post-00 generations (Gen Z). The company is growing its business into other categories while positioning its bras as a star product, which makes it competitive in the market. In 2017, the market for wireless bras grew immensely. Ubras’ approach was to use more colors and designs to appeal to the younger generation. Ubras is extending its product ranges beyond underwear to include sports bras, shirts, and pants for pre-teen and teen females.

Ubras social media marketing tactic includes collaborations with prominent live broadcasters, brand-run live streams, and celebrity-influenced live streams. In 2017, Ubras made a Weibo Official Account to engage customers online and raise awareness through KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), commonly known as influencers. For Weibo’s users, Ubras works with mid-tier influencers, and the content focuses on newly released products. Xiaohongshu is another social media platform where Ubras works with mid-tier influencers. Customers are also urged to discuss their purchases on Xiaohongshu and insert particular keywords when they receive packages from Ubras. Customers may receive free underwear if the post is accepted.

In 2019, Ubras opened its first physical location in Shanghai and hired Ouyang Nana as a spokesperson to appeal to Gen Z and millennials. At Douyin, a social networking platform, the brand posts videos of the company’s brand ambassador, Ouyang Nana. It is the most talked about on Douyin and mentioned in numerous live streams. Customers who place an order through live streams are instructed to establish a personal WeChat account to get customer care, product launch, and promotional details. Additionally, customers are directed back to the account’s WeChat Moments after purchase to watch more live streams, resulting in a loop of repurchases and customer retention.

In 2020, Ubras’ one-size bra became the top-selling lingerie brand on Tmall after-sales during the Double 11 and 618 Shopping Fest exceeded RMB 100M and RMB 300M. Furthermore, their short film campaign, “To Us” was published in honor of its sixth anniversary. The campaign focuses on the relationship between females in society. The timing of the campaign catered to the current generation, which is becoming more open-minded and is pushing back against societal expectations for traditional gender norms and using social media to voice their options. The campaign hashtag #ToUs accumulated 12 million on Weibo. Individuals took part in the marketing campaign by posting stories on WeChat and Weibo about their connections with their own lovers, mothers, and friends. Furthermore, collaboration with beauty brands Into You and Farmacy, including offering gift boxes, contributed to increased social media traffic.

Ubras’ strong brand ambassadors, such as Chinese supermodel Liu Wen and Ouyang Nana who is a Gen Z singer, have aided the company in gaining wide-ranging popularity in the market. Using mid-tier influencers for a large number of reviews and suggestions directs prospective customers toward making a purchase. Consumers have fallen in love with Ubras because of its clear brand positioning. It is safe to say that the company brought about a revolution in China’s underwear market. 

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