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ThirdLove opens stores, open to partner

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Mar 23, 2022
ThirdLove co-founders

ThirdLove co-founders, and husband and wife, David Spector and Heidi Zak. Photo: Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Intimates brand ThirdLove has begun to consider a sale to a strategic or a private equity firm, in addition to other M&A opportunities, co-founder and CEO Heidi Zak tells Axios.

Why it matters: The brand had its hands full between the challenges of operating during COVID-19 and then launching a new line of activewear products last fall to help drive the next stage of growth.

Between the lines: "We have a lot of value a lot of brands and companies don’t have," Zak said, emphasizing the company's DTC capabilities.

  • And that will factor into ThirdLove finding the right partner, she said.

More immediately, the company is focused on building out its physical store operations, Zak said.

  • Already the company has opened two stores and plans to open another two in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, giving it four locations in California.
  • It then plans to open another four to six stores by the end of the year, giving the brand between eight and 10 stores in all — a mix of urban and suburban locations.

What they did: When the brand first studied how a physical store might fit into its strategy, ThirdLove thought of it as an extension of the way it sold goods online with a focus on technology.

  • The trial pop-up also only had two styles for sale, Zak noted.

What they learned: But they found that women didn't really want to interact with the technology, preferring a human stylist instead.

Details: While ThirdLove's Fit Finder technology, an online tool that uses machine learning to help customers find their size, has proved popular, there is still a portion of the population that likes to try things on.

  • "Some women really want that physical try-on experience with the bra," Zak said. And a store "gives current customers a way to get to know the product better," she pointed out.
  • Plus, conversion rates in a physical store are higher, with 70% of shoppers purchasing something if they try it on first.
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