case study: panty by post

Natalie Grunberg (pictured below) had an idea for a business.

Mail women pretty panties. Once a month.

This business is a brilliant example of some many things: niche marketing (panties are for women), having a point of view (it’s about confidence), having a simple, well crafted offer (a pretty panty. mailed monthly), doing something provocative that gets people talking (panties!).

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What is the name of your project?

PantyByPost.com!

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

PantyByPost.com is an online business that sends a pretty panty every month in the mail to your loved one, or maybe to you (you deserve it)!

I thought of the idea on a trip to Paris some years ago and the plan was to spread the confidence of those enchanting and stylish French women. That’s exactly what we’ve done, one panty at a time (wink).

I saw a need, to spread French style all over the world. Even if your daily uniform is a Lululemon pant, you can wear a panty by post panty and feel better. Self confidence may just start with the panty you choose to wear. My company helps to make women’s panty drawers sexier, more colourful and playful.

 

 

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

We always support local charities and we are collecting panties right now to donate to the Vancouver Downtown Eastside Women’s Center. Some of our customers have even donated a month of their subscription to the Center, which is very cool. We are currently supporting a local theater group in Victoria BC by outfitting their set with panties (it’s called NANA’S NAUGHTY KNICKERS).

To order a subscription you click on the shop button and select the line, Signature or Bridal and then proceed through to check out. It’s very easy! We ship worldwide now, so there…your whole Christmas list is done!

Who do you find it’s working best for?

Women made up our biggest supporters when we launched. Now the men are starting to hear the good news! Men like to gossip too, so our customers are a pretty even split of men and women.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

Online marketing for an online business is the best approach. Magazine and newspaper advertising doesn’t work. PR is the most important fuel for customer acquisition but after you have enough customers and you prove you have an incredible service and product, they will talk. My customer to customer referrals and referral perks (one free panty for every customer you refer) are how I gain more traction.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

  1. Don’t risk more then you have.
  2. Trust your gut, listen to others and then make the choice that is right for you. Always do the honest and right thing. Never let money ruin relationships.
  3. Nurture relationships authentically. Be real.

What does that mean for you? “Nurture relationships authentically”

Many business people share that relationships are what matter. I added the nurture and the authentically component mostly as a response to some of my early experiences. Be real and be yourself. I really don’t like it when people are just trying to get something from me. I’m not a big fan of business mixers or networking. I find it to be a huge effort, it’s unnatural to be so self serving.

It’s icky.

By all means, get out there and make connections but for me I like to keep it small and keep it humble.

What’s been most effective for you in the online marketing arena?

CPC, cost per click advertising has been effective. We use Adroll to help remind customers who have visited our site, which is a good marketing tool. Bloggers from all over the world help spread the word about PBP and they do it very authentically because they get a panty by post to try.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

We are going international BIG TIME! We have our first international office in Moscow and our next operation opens in Paris this November. How exciting! We will continue to create relationships in other languages and in other countries. This is the jet setting (and carbon offsetting) that I dream of doing!

At its heart – what is this project really about for you?

At the heart of PBP there are two old fashioned ideas: customer service is key and self confidence comes from within.

We have been told we go above and beyond the call of duty for customers, but we don’t see it that way. Doing a job well and promptly makes us feel good. As the owner of the company, I set the tone. I’m an absolute perfectionist because having a top notch consumer experience is rare these days. When PBP staff delivers incredible service, every day, we make customers happy and they return.

This seems so basic but I can’t tell you the last time I had a quality “old fashioned” consumer experience. It’s our edge in a competitive online shopping environment.

The other pillar of the company is about confidence. I was inspired by the women in France and they continue to remind me (lucky me I go to France each summer) that looking beautiful is about self respect. French women put effort into their appearance and so do the men for that matter.

It’s a different ethic and for me, I think it represents their commitment to finding beauty and style everywhere, spreading that style and also enjoying the pleasures of life. Everywhere you look in France people have put effort into beautifying their environment. The least I can do is run a company that makes getting a French style panty easier.

Now those of us non-Frenchies have no excuse.

What has the response been this this project?

Each year PBP builds and grows. I put very little money into advertising because our product and excellent service does the work of spreading the word of PBP. Men especially seem to appreciate the gift giving service. We basically are the answer to all their gift giving issues.

Why do you think your customers love you so much?

Our customers love us because of our high quality of service but really our product is very unique and totally fabulous The panties are very special, colourful and sexy. Once you start wearing our panties, it’s shocking that you once settled for plain Jockeys or Victoria Secret. Our panties are accessibly priced (about $16 per panty), durable but mostly they are adorable

You’ve got such a unique idea that I imagine a lot of PR came from that – but what are the three biggest tips you could give people to be ready for it, get it and take advantage of it?

  1. Get a communication coach. We had Maria LeRose coach us at the very beginning and throughout our launch. Having a profession coach like Maria will help you get clear on your company goals and will make your media interviews really stand out. She videotaped us and we reviewed the way we looked and the way we delivered our story. This kind of practice is key.
  2. Hire a professional PR person to work with you on your media pitches. We had a coach for 3 months to support us to improve our media writing and understand what the media is looking for.
  3. Start local and aim national. There is no such thing as a small enough media outlet.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Email us,

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you think panties don’t matter, try a panty by post and I beg to differ. We have something special here! Oh yah, right now I’m wearing a Raven Beauty hipster in noir. It has buttons all down the derriere and when I wear them I feel like a Paris runway model (note: I’m 5’2″, so clearly the panties give me super powers).

 

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