To receive the Vogue Business newsletter, register here.
In the fifth and final episode of Business in vogue and the Scalefast masterclass series on how to succeed in direct-to-consumer luxury, Alexandra Tymann, CEO and co-founder of Hēdoïne, explains how the brand has grown rapidly to innovate a traditional and intimate category.
Tymann begins by sharing her experience as a management consultant at PWC, before moving into the start-up scene. This led Tymann and his co-founder Anna Alexanian to realize the need for innovation in the hosiery category, which had seen very little change in product design or business model over the past few decades. “We asked ourselves: what product do we want to reinvent? What hasn’t seen innovation for many years and what is completely useless? The answer was pantyhose”.
As part of brand development, Tymann and Alexanian are committed to demystifying stereotypes about women and how they are portrayed in advertising. They both shared the same vision to create a modern and feminine brand. Hēdoïne is now an award winning brand for scale resistant tights. The brand was launched in 2019, and in the three years since, it has sold over 100,000 products.
As well as having a strong focus on innovation, having launched two world first designs, the brand also has a strong sustainability program. The community has also been an important factor in the success of the DTC brand. She relies on her band of Hēdoïnes (“hedonic heroines”) to spread the word and give feedback on new products.
When asked how the brand cultivates trust among shoppers to share personal information, especially in such an intimate category, Tymann says. “First of all, you trust people. It all starts with the people behind the brand – the founders and the team. If you, as a customer, go to our Instagram and contact us, you will know who you are [interacting] with. We introduce our team members to the community and talk about who we are and what we do. Even I personally leave my Instagram public so anyone can contact me if they want. And people do.
Tymann says they get feedback from both men and women. About 20% of Hēdoïne buyers are men. Often buyers suggest products that they would like to see in the future. She adds that it elevates brand transparency: “Customers these days demand transparency, not only in terms of the product…but they’re also curious about who they’re buying it from.” Hēdoïne is one of the brands that pursue a policy of brutal honesty. “One of our values as a team is to tell it like it is… For example, we explain that our biodegradable tights are actually 85% biodegradable and that’s the highest percentage you can currently achieve. It will take a few more years of research and development to reach 100%. Or, we specifically say that our scale resistant range is not indestructible because, in the end, we are talking about a very thin and fragile material. But, they last at least five to eight times longer than an average pair of tights. Tymann thinks people appreciate not pretending products are perfect all the time.