Retail Podcast 309: Ashley Merrill on the Right Way to Capitalize on Consumer Trends

Nov 30, 2019 3:52:22 PM

ashleymerrill
Bob Phibbs interviewed Ashley Merrill, CEO and Founder of Lunya. In this episode Bob and Ashley talk about  how functionality is key, how to find your customer's voice, and how to capitalize on consumer trends. 


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The Right Way to Capitalize on Consumer Trends In Retail

Sleepwear that is comfortable and looks good. 

That is what Ashley Merill was thinking when she founded Lunya. With this company, Ashley has been able to capitalize on a few macro fashion trends, including the move to comfort.

In this episode of Tell Me Something Good About Retail, Ashley and I talk about those trends. We discuss how clothing is shaped by the culture, how that has changed over time and what specifically Lunya has done to take advantage of those trends.

And I’ll give you some quick insight. There is a lot more to it than just making comfy sleepwear.

The Old and The New

One of the most-watched shows of the 1950s was the sitcom I Love Lucy. In the show, Fred and Ethel slept “in separate beds… wearing that very traditional pajamas set with the piping and the long sleeves and the woven fabric.”

What they wore and how they acted reflected the values of the time. Modesty.

Ashley then talks about the 1990s. The “heyday” of Victoria’s Secret. This was a time period of “hypersexualization.” However, this sexy clothing style was often marketed around being sexy for a man’s attention. In other words, the clothing was for him, not for the woman.

Over the past two decades, there has been a push back from this type of clothing and marketing. Women want to look good, but they want to look good for themselves. As Ashley puts it, a “sexy on your own terms.”

On top of this, there is a trend towards comfort.

Professional attire has not changed much. Men wear suits with dress shoes and women wear a suit/dress often combined with heels.

However, while staples of professional dress have not changed, how often we wear them certainly has. Many businesses have casual dress codes. Remote work has given people the opportunity to work in their underwear if they want to. 

People want to be comfortable. Professional attire is not comfortable.

How Lunya Capitalizes On These Trends

Lunya is providing comfortable sleepwear that looks good. This allows women to look good for themselves (because the only people who really see you in sleepwear are members of your family) while staying comfortable.

But this is only part of the full picture.

The idea of sleepwear that looks good is already a differentiating factor, but Ashley takes it a step further.

Ashley notes that although they technically sell sleepwear, it is really homewear. You are going to wear this around the house, sitting on the couch watching TV or on your phone.

Therefore, functionality is key.

 “[W]hen we make a robe, are the sleeves designed in such a way that I can push them up so I can wash my face or cook dinner or whatever and not have like get wet or catch on fire.”

More than that, Lunya has different fabrics for hot sleepers, cool sleepers, and even a fabric called “restore” which helps increase blood flow and muscle recovery.

It is this attention to the small details that distinguishes Lunya. This is how you capitalize on a consumer trend. 

Sure, Lunya could have taken advantage of the comfort trend by making comfortable sleepwear. But this only gets you so far. Sleepwear is supposed to be comfortable. If that was all she did, there is nothing that separates her brand from the next sleepwear brand. 

However, by making sleepwear that looks good and by taking the extra time to check the small details and ensure it is functional, Lunya is able to capitalize on these trends and differentiate itself.

The next time you want to take advantage of a general consumer trend, you can’t just follow it. You must take it a step further and create something truly valuable for your customer.

I highly suggest you take a listen to the rest of the episode, where Ashley and I talk more about physical retail and how she launched Lunya while she was giving birth! Yup... you read that right. You won’t want to miss it.

Check out lunya.co and follow them on Instagram @lunya. You can also find Ashley on Instagram @ashley_merrill.

Find out more about Ashley here

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