Everlane is a brand built on transparency. It isn't enough to produce what might actually be the perfect crewneck cashmere sweater or the buttery soft pointed loafers of your dreams. The San Francisco-based startup wants you to know exactly where in the world each of their products was made, how much they spent making each item (from the price of textiles and hardware to the cost of labor and shipping), and what the final markup is. Everything is beautiful, casual, and cool. Exactly like their Snapchat.
Red Gaskell, head of the fashion company's social media, wants to tell the story of the people behind Everlane, the creative team who designs every garment, the stylists who bring the collections to life, the assistants who keep the startup operating late into the night.
"For our cashmere launch last year, I interviewed goats."
"We look at it as humanizing the brand a bit, showing that there are people working on this day in and day out, building it from basically nothing," Gaskell says. "With more established companies, you're seeing something that's already living and breathing. But Everlane is still growing; we're just under five years old. We're trying to make our customers and our fans feel like they're part of building this brand by including them."
During one of the brand's Transparency Tuesday videos, in which Gaskell and Isadora Sales answer questions about Everlane operations, they almost get trolled by a "Damn, Daniel" fan. Almost.
Everlane's Snapchat followers are a critical element in the brand's Snapchat stories. Every week, Gaskell and his assistant, Isadora Sales, host Transparency Tuesday, in which they answer questions about their work sent by Snapchat users. "What's the most challenging part of working for a startup?" a fan once asked. "Knowing when to take a break," Sales responded, and then the story cut to a shot of her and Red on the Everlane HQ roof, eating a snack to the sounds of Jay Z's "Big Pimpin'." Being entertaining and informative, all while wearing and promoting Everlane, is a tough nut Gaskell and Sales have figured out how to crack.
Below, Everlane's social media expert reveals his tips and tricks for the perfect Snapchat story.
How would you characterize Everlane's voice?
We try to be transparent, thoughtful, entertaining. We're only witty when we know it's a home run.
Is Everlane looking for more models? Because we'd love to volunteer, if it means we get to work with those stylists and wear those boots.
How do you plan a story? Do you work with Everlane staff to develop themes?
There are some stories that we plan out a few weeks or months ahead of time. We look at what different teams are up to, and ask, "What's going on in the company that social media can talk about? What kind of resources should we put into that?"
Other days we'll do something completely on the fly. Isadora and I will use film references, or any visual storytelling reference that we have seen in our own personal lives, as a framework. Then we'll run through a first draft and make edits. Then we'll shoot it for real. If it's an event like a fitting with the design team or something else we can't do more than once, then we'll just go for it.
Everlane models just want to dance.
You guys also do Snapchat stories at events. How do you make event snaps fun?
For the launch event for the Gia Coppola collaboration, we had a simple concept in mind, which was to make the story feel like a home video by a dad who just got a new camera and is using it at a backyard summer party.
When we launch a product, we want the customer to order the product at the end of the story. So, we'll create a linear storyline that leads them to the landing page.
What are some series your followers love?
We've done Transparency Tuesday every week since January. Sometimes it's a random assortment of customer questions that we answer. But recently we've started having people choose themes about the brand that they want us to dive into. We also go behind the scenes with our creative team quite often, so you'll see us at photo shoots. That's also when we tease upcoming products, because the photo shoots are done a couple months ahead of time. People are getting a teaser of the Modern Oxford now, even though it's launching in a couple of weeks.
We also went to Brooklyn and did a Room Service story, where we had customers come to our hotel suite, try on our shoes, and have a more elevated shoe purchasing experience. We took the company credit card and did random nice things for people in Brooklyn and gave away a couple pairs of shoes while Snapchatting the entire thing.
What's been your most ambitious story?
For our cashmere launch last year, I interviewed goats. I didn't actually go all the way to Mongolia, but I found a goat farm here in San Francisco, and they were our stand-in goats, if you will. [Ed. Note: See later in this edition for the goat story in all its glory.]
What are your visual references?
We pull a lot of inspiration from Wes Anderson, those symmetrical types of shots. There's this whole zoom shot Quentin Tarantino does that makes products or objects look much more dramatic. We've actually done a snap where we had people guess what movie we were reenacting. It was The Shining. We also reenacted San Andreas, that movie with the Rock, because we were in San Francisco.
Any fun stories in the works?
We're thinking of doing a big stunt in New York City for the launch of our cashmere in October. We're not exactly sure what yet, but last year we brought out a giant cashmere ball that was about six feet in circumference. We're not really sure what we're going to do with it yet, but something involving that. We're going to do something crazy, definitely, in the fall or winter this year.
Follow @everlane on Snapchat for behind-the-scenes footage of the fashion brand's latest collections, styling tips, and general good fun. Then go buy their beautiful clothes at everlane.com.