Just three years into its existence, lingerie startup Lively is already giving established underwear retailers a run for their money. The brand, which started as an e-commerce site in 2016 but has since expanded to channels including Nordstrom and its own retail store in New York, has been able to build awareness so quickly because of a robust ambassador program. The strategy taps into Lively's community of consumers, who serve as brand ambassadors and market the company through their own social channels.
"Our community built our brand," says Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Lively's founder, speaking at Shoptalk 2019. She notes that in 2016, Lively had 100 ambassadors; in 2017, it had 1,000. By last year, interest from shoppers ballooned so much that Lively now has 65,000 unpaid brand ambassadors. Grant says it's a two-way street—ambassadors tell Lively about their interests, and Lively will host events on topics like succulents, mental health awareness or art.
"As a brand we have a responsibility to understand our community and give them something more than just product and transactions," Grant says. She speaks about the ambassador program and more, including why Lively recently debuted its own podcast, in the video above.