Denim Therapy is on a mission to save your favorite pair of jeans from a tragic demise. Denim junkies mail their jeans to the company's New York City headquarters, where the staff repairs holes and worn hems by weaving new thread into the damaged area. An average repair costs about $42 plus shipping and takes two weeks to complete. Francine Rabinovich founded the company in 2006 when she realized how attached people are to this wardrobe staple. "It's hard to find the perfect pair of jeans, and once you have them, you don't want to give them up," she says. Denim Therapy repairs about 400 pairs a month. To market the service, Rabinovich has bought advertisements on Google and relied on word of mouth, which has resulted in some mentions in fashion and lifestyle magazines. Her dream is to make Denim Therapy the go-to service for jean wearers. We asked four entrepreneurs to weigh in on how she can best meet her goal.
Pitch No. 1: Woo bloggers
Chuck Porter, co-chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, an ad agency with offices in Boulder, Colorado, and Miami
"Ultimately, Denim Therapy is about fashion, and it makes sense to connect with a fashion audience. Fashion blogs have a gigantic readership and are increasingly influential in getting the word out about trends and services. Even major designers look to them for publicity. I think Rabinovich should reach out to several dozen of the bigger fashion bloggers. Offer to fix a pair of jeans and ask them to honestly write about the experience. If the service is as great as it sounds, she should have no problem getting positive write-ups from voices that carry weight in the fashion world."
Pitch No. 2: Be witty
Adam Rich, co-founder and editor in chief of Thrillist.com, a daily newsletter about events and trends in 13 cities
"This company has a lot of possibilities to reach customers using humor. I would suggest that Denim Therapy create advertisements that talk about the emotion of parting with a beloved pair of jeans, but with a funny twist. On guys' jeans, for example, the crotch area starts to disintegrate, but no one really talks about it. It would be a laugh to see an ad that brings that up. I would suggest placing ads online. They're cheaper than print, and you can measure how many people are clicking on them."
Pitch No. 3: Approach celebrities
Bill Weber, owner of Arborwear, a Newbury, Ohio, maker of durable outdoor clothing
"I think Denim Therapy could benefit from a strong PR campaign. People using this service are likely buying pricey denim, so the company needs to get coverage in fashion and lifestyle magazines its customers read. It also makes sense to reach out to the celebrities who appear in the pages of those magazines. Rabinovich should try to find a way to get a voucher for a jean fix in gift bags at award shows like the Emmys or Grammys. A celebrity endorsement can go a long way to boost the company's popularity."
Pitch No. 4: Go green
Susan Gregg Koger, co-founder of ModCloth, an online clothing retailer based in Pittsburgh
"There is a huge eco movement right now in the fashion scene, and Denim Therapy fits right in. Instead of buying a new pair of jeans, which consumes resources in the manufacturing process, people can rehab their old ones. I think the company should capitalize on the eco-friendliness of its service by reaching out to eco-bloggers and environmental discussion boards. With this approach, Denim Therapy could reach a new audience, which would boost overall revenue."
Feedback on the Feedback:
Rabinovich plans to try many of these suggestions. She has decided to hire a fashion-focused PR agency to make a more aggressive publicity push. She has previously reached out to some fashion bloggers, but not systemically or extensively. "Hearing Chuck's suggestion encourages me to have a stronger connection with blogs, and we will likely use the PR agency we hire to help with that as well as reach out to magazines," she says. However, Rabinovich probably won't focus heavily on eco-bloggers. "We've been on a few eco-blogs, and I am not sure it makes sense for us to expend resources to target them," she says. "What we do is environmentally friendly, but that's not what we're really about."