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Listen Up Brands: Aerie’s Sales Have Been Thriving Since It Ditched Photoshop

 

This is a healthy body too.

A photo posted by barbie ferreira not nox (@barbienox) on

While pollsters scramble to figure out what exactly it is that gets us millennials to shell out our cash, Aerie’s got us consumers all figured out. The solution, in fact, is quite simple: When it comes to bodies, don’t lie to us — show us the non-digitally altered truth. Show us a spectrum of healthy sizes, so we really believe you’ve got our best interests at heart.

While many fashion brands are merely surviving, Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie sub-brand, is thriving. Two years ago, it nixed the use of airbrushing in its ad campaigns, a self-love movement that would come to be known as #AerieReal. Since then, the brand’s sales have soared steadily. Numbers don’t lie: The brand is now reporting a whopping 32 percent increase in sales in the first fiscal quarter of 2016.

To put this figure in perspective, during the first fiscal quarter of 2015, the brand saw 12 percent sales growth. By the end of the year, overall sales had increased by 20 percent. In short, 2016 is shaping up to be a stellar year for the swimsuit and lingerie peddler.

 

All natural. No retouching. #AerieREAL

A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

“We definitely had a creative moment where the team got together, and we just said, ‘really, what’s happening today with millennials and the next generation?'” Aerie’s president, Jennifer Foyle, shared with Business Insider“And we really felt like girls today are just more independent and stronger than ever.” We’re strong, we’re independent and we want to see how someone who actually looks like us slays in that balconette.

As part of its meaningful marketing strategy, Aerie also sought out social media influencers known for their body-positive attitudes to represent the brand, among them curvy model and teen queen Barbara Ferreira. It’s probable there was a slight Rihanna-effect, and with good reason:

“Why would we even be airbrushing these models? They’re beautiful as is.” Foyle affirmed.

Aerie’s growth is subject to a larger trend within the U.S. A recent study by the NPD Group shows that while annual U.S. apparel sales increased by a mere 7 percent between 2013 and 2016, within the (egregiously underrepresented) plus-size category, profits rose by an impressive 17 percent. Aerie’s success story is a perfect case study for what we already knew: Be inclusive, be body positive and you can tap into an extremely lucrative mass market. You’ll reap what you quite literally sew.

[ via Mic ]