DSTLD is a premium direct to consumer denim and essentials clothing brand headquartered in Los Angeles. A No Middleman favorite and true leader in the direct to consumer movement, DSTLD’s flagship product is their men’s and women’s premium denim jeans.
DSTLD has successfully crowdfunded their growth and extended their product line into shirts, jackets, coats, and more.
On their About page, DSTLD explains their mission and the benefits of their direct to consumer strategy. “We forgo middlemen (department stores and boutiques) to offer premium denim and luxury essentials at about 1/3 the traditional retail price,” they write. “We don’t cut any corners–our products are manufactured in the same factories as notable designer labels.”
In a 2014 article, TechCrunch dubbed DSTLD the “Everlane for Jeans,” which is a big compliment, given Everlane’s quality and success. After years of within top brands like GAP, Adidas, and Calvin Kleinhe, co-founders Corey Epstein and Mark Lynn decided to create a direct to consumer jeans company with what they refer to as “ethical pricing.”
On their website, they explain this further: “The goal of our direct-to-you, middleman-free stance is not only to filter out extra steps and excess markup. It is also an effort to preserve the integrity of our line and honor our relationship with clients.”
The direct to consumer clothing powerhouse certainly achieves its goal of value pricing, with their premium jeans starting at $75 for men and $85 for women, and most pairs at or below $95. Other products on the site–shirts, jackets, dresses, and other accessories–fall in this same “premium value” pricing.
When it comes to the shopping experience, DSTLD has all the essentials. Product photography and descriptions are both robust, with details on fabrics and care, as well as customer reviews. Live chat is available on the bottom right of each product page. A very handy “Fit Guide” on each pair of jeans has an initial dropdown menu, asking your height and typical jean size, to tell you the exact width and length you should look for. The jeans have a staggering amount of colors and styles to choose from–the mens’ slim jeans we looked at had 12 different colors to choose from, ranging from light blue to indigo grey to jet black. They also list the height and jean size of the photography models, which could be helpful to see.
DSTLD has one retail showroom in West Hollywood, but given that they describe it as their “newest showroom,” we’re guessing there will be more showroom locations in the near future! The showroom currently shows that it will only be open until March 2018, so you’ll want to check their Stores page to see whether this store’s time has been extended, or whether there are other new locations (https://www.dstld.com/stores).
Customer service is solid, with live chat on the product pages, email, and even a text messaging number for customers. There’s no phone support listed, but customers can text anytime between 6am and 9pm PST, and live chat on the site runs from 7am – 6pm PST. Pretty impressive!
Shipping is free in the United States, and you’ve got a month from the original ship date to return unworn clothing or accessories. Their products have a simple-but-fashionable look. “We’re inspired by understated, modern style and live by a fundamental, edited color palette: black, white, grey, and denim,” they write on their About page.
DSTLD is a No Middleman favorite, leaning heavily into the direct to consumer revolution. They’ve even used the hashtag #retailrevolution in their marketing, which we love!
They’ve built a huge brand and following, and at the time of our review, they’d done it all with only $8.5 million of fundraising (according to Crunchbase profile here). Interestingly, DSTLD is also a leader in direct to consumer fundraising. In their rounds of crowdsourced fundraising, anyone with $1,000 or more to invest was able to receive actual equity in the company. Their page at SeedInvest says DSTLD has raised nearly $3 million on the platform, and you can even sign up on that page to be notified if another round of DSTLD fundraising opens up on that platform!
DSTLD successfully tripled their sales and doubled their staff as a result of past fundraising, so future rounds of funding could enable further scaling. We’d be shocked if they changed their past and current direct to consumer business model, and there’s no indication that they’ll ever dip their toes in any form of traditional middleman retail.
We expect that DSTLD will continue to deliver premium jeans at a reasonable price, directly to consumers, and remain a No Middleman favorite!
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