Insights30 DTC brands that showcased exceptional performance in Q4

30 DTC brands that showcased exceptional performance in Q4

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed consumer buying habits, leading to an explosive growth of DTC companies

30-second summary:

  • In 2022, DTC sales in the US are expected to reach $152.2 billion, marking a 36% increase from 2020 due to the shift towards online purchasing during the pandemic
  • According to the forecast, further growth in DTC sales is anticipated to reach nearly $175 billion in 2023
  • Here’s a list of 30 DTC companies that have recorded tremendous returns in Q4, 2022, from thought leader Jamie Bolton

The forecast for direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales in the United States in 2022 is estimated to reach a staggering $152.2 billion. This marks a significant 36% increase from 2020, during which a substantial shift towards online purchasing was observed. Further growth is anticipated in 2023, with the industry poised to reach nearly $175 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant alterations in consumer purchasing behaviors, resulting in phenomenal growth of DTC companies.

At Fospha, we have a keen interest in observing the progression of the industry. The fourth quarter, characterized by events such as Black Friday and Christmas, has always been a pivotal period for many ecommerce and DTC brands. Utilizing both Fospha benchmarks and publicly available data, we have compiled an index of the top 30 US DTC brands that demonstrated exceptional performance during the fourth quarter of last year.

Bombas

Bombas, established in 2013, has consistently demonstrated growth and prosperity. The brand, known for its focus on comfort and its commitment to philanthropy through its donation-based philosophy, has expanded its reach within the community. The remarkable performance of Bombas is beneficial for all, as their sales directly correlate with their ability to donate to those in need.

DTC Bombas

Why does it work?

This brand places a significant emphasis on quality and comfort, while also dedicated to addressing the issue of homelessness in the United States through charitable contributions. With a remarkable record of generosity, having donated over 50 million items in just over 8 years, it has achieved substantial growth as a brand.

ANINE BING

The ANINE BING Corporation is a rapidly expanding fashion and commerce entity that is revolutionizing the conventional methodologies in the development, production, marketing, sales, and delivery of products to customers. In common with numerous other DTC brands, ANINE BING has diversified its sales channels and now interacts with customers through social media platforms, e-commerce websites, proprietary brick-and-mortar stores, and renowned department stores. ANINE BING holds a worldwide presence with 15 stores in seven different countries globally.

DTC ANINE BING

Why does it work?

Anine Bing established her eponymous brand in 2012, operating initially from a garage in Los Angeles, in partnership with her spouse. The brand was established with the objective of creating apparel that reflects a distinct and personal style. Over the years, the brand has expanded globally and developed a significant following, consisting of women who are drawn to the brand’s aspirational yet attainable style and entrepreneurial ethos. The brand has experienced remarkable growth over the last decade, a testament to its strong reputation and appeal.

NEST New York

Established in 2005, NEST Fragrances is a luxury lifestyle fragrance brand which specializes in the design, manufacture, and marketing of exquisite home and fine fragrances. The Brand offers an extensive selection of luxury scented candles and reed diffusers in various sizes, as well as liquid soap and hand lotion. Additionally, it is renowned for its innovative Liquidless Diffuser and its body care line and Eau de Parfum.

DTC NEST

Why does it work?

Laura Slatkin, the founder of the brand, has been acknowledged by the fragrance industry for her innovative approach to creating fragrances. Her ability to expertly blend familiar, exotic, and unique scent notes results in a distinctive fragrance experience unparalleled in the market.

Commando LLC

Commando LLC produces high-quality, luxurious, durable, and precisely crafted garments from carefully selected fabrics. Each design is rigorously tested on live models to ensure the best fit, and with a major focus on the source and production of the garments.

DTC Commando

Why does it work?

The brand prioritizes the well-being of its employees and the environment. It has demonstrated significant growth in the last 6 months, with an 86% increase in online traffic. The brand sources its fabrics with consideration and produces them ethically and sustainably through partnerships with 7 domestic factories in the United States, as well as an in-house production facility where fair labor practices are maintained.

Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi, established in 2014, is a company that designs and manufactures outdoor products, clothing, and experiences. Their mission is to fight poverty, encourage individuals to engage in acts of kindness, and stimulate outdoor exploration.

DTC Cotopaxi

Why does it work?

This brand operates under the principle of Gear For Good™, which signifies their commitment to producing durable products through ethical and sustainable means and utilizing their profits for the betterment of communities. Their goal is to create products that not only endure, but also have a lasting positive impact.

Stance Socks

Stance Socks is a company that embodies the essence of individuality, with a design philosophy that emphasizes both expression and functionality. Their unwavering commitment is to create exceptional socks with superior fit and performance qualities, utilizing only the finest materials.

DTC Stance Socks

Why does it work?

In a relatively short period of time, this brand has successfully established itself among athletes, performers, and artists, offering socks of unparalleled style that have transformed the accessory into a highly sought-after item.

Tommy John

Tommy John is a lifestyle brand that prioritizes comfort and addresses common clothing issues experienced by men and women. Utilizing proprietary fabrics and innovative design elements, the brand aims to eliminate discomfort, bunching, untucking, and the need for constant adjustments in its products.

DTC Tommy John

Why does it work?

Tommy John is a leading brand that has received extensive media coverage and recognition. It has been featured in a number of prominent publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, GQ, Golf Digest, CBS This Morning, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Fortune, Bloomberg, and CNBC, among others. The company was founded with the introduction of the world’s first patented undershirt with a stay-tucked guarantee and has since expanded its product line to include underwear, socks, casual wear, and activewear.

Huckberry

Huckberry is a lifestyle brand that caters to men who lead active and adventurous lives. They offer a range of outdoor footwear, clothing, and gear designed to enhance the outdoor experience, including equipment for surfing and other outdoor activities.

DTC Huckberry

Why does it work?

The brand has been touted as the “future of ecommerce for men” due to its efforts in collaborating with a curated selection of the finest emerging brands globally, offering an exclusive range of top-notch men’s gear, and providing original narratives to motivate and inspire new adventures.

Alo Yoga

Alo Yoga was established in Los Angeles in 2007 with the aim of promoting the positive practice of yoga globally. The company operates both online and through a network of studios and physical retail locations across the United States, offering garments that embody the principles of a mindful lifestyle.

DTC Alo Yoga

Why does it work?

The DTC approach is rapidly evolving with a focus on growth through community engagement, and Alo is a brand that exemplifies this trend. Their innovative studios and retail stores enhance the customer experience and have garnered a dedicated following. Alo is a brand to be observed closely in the future.

Parachute Home

Parachute Home is a premium home essentials brand that emphasizes quality, design, and comfort. The company prides itself on providing high-quality products that offer both practicality and comfort for its customers.

DTC Parachute Home

Why does it work?

Established in 2014 as a DTC brand specializing in bedding, Parachute has since expanded its offerings to encompass various home categories and established brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States. The brand has developed a dedicated following of customers who appreciate its focus on comfort and quality, both online and in its physical stores.

Marine Layer

Marine Layer is a domestic manufacturer and retailer of casual apparel. The company designs and produces its own line of products, which are sold through both online and brick-and-mortar channels in the United States.

DTC Marine Layer

Why does it work?

The company, known for its rapid growth, has established a strong foundation based on a dedicated and enthusiastic team who takes great pride in their work. Their commitment to social and environmental responsibility is evident through their usage of environmentally conscious materials and their efforts to reduce textile waste via a t-shirt recycling program. The company also demonstrates a strong sense of community through various charitable donations and partnerships.

Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask, established in 2009, introduced the first fully insulated bottle collection to the market. The company has experienced substantial growth, reaching one million in sales by 2011. Today, they offer a comprehensive range of over 100 products, including hydration, coffee, beer, food, and soft-goods.

DTC Hydro Flask

Why does it work?

The brand, known for its thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing products, also demonstrates its commitment to social responsibility through its support of over 151 non-profit organizations and its Parks for All initiative. To date, the brand has donated over $2.5 million to this cause, aimed at enhancing, preserving, and providing equitable access to parks.

Faherty Brand

Faherty Brand, established in 2013, is a family business that operates with the goal of establishing a new American legacy. Their focus is on producing high-quality, sustainable, and comfort-provoking clothing that will bring happiness to its wearers.

DTC Faherty

Why does it work?

Faherty has a strong commitment to sustainability, as demonstrated using 77% sustainable fibers such as organic cotton, ethically sourced cashmere, recycled polyester, linen, and hemp in their products. They also employ non-toxic dyes and water-efficient processes and have made significant efforts to reduce their use of plastic, including the replacement of recycled poly packaging with eco-friendly paper bags. The brand’s dedication to creating a more sustainable world is commendable.

Boxed

Founded in 2013, Boxed is a technology-driven company aimed at simplifying the bulk shopping experience. With a team of experienced tech pioneers, they have developed an innovative approach that leverages cutting-edge technology to create a seamless and convenient shopping experience, both online and through their mobile app. Boxed utilizes advanced machine learning to continually enhance their customer experience.

DTC Boxed

Why does it work?

The brand has received widespread recognition, including being featured in numerous reputable news outlets such as Business Insider, CNN, Fortune, CNBC, Forbes, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and CNet, among others. Boxed’s CEO, Chieh Huang, has been labeled as “America’s Dream Boss” by NBC Nightly News for his outstanding benefits extended to employees. Furthermore, Boxed was named one of the best places to work by New York Business in 2016. This recognition and success are evidenced by the high daily traffic to their online website, with over a million visits made daily.

Stadium Goods

Stadium Goods is a highly respected global marketplace specializing in premium sneakers and streetwear. It offers an extensive selection of the most sought-after footwear, clothing, and other rare items.

Why does it work?

The New York Times has referred to Stadium Goods as “Tiffany’s for sneakerheads” due to their exceptional level of authenticity in the aftermarket. Their entire inventory is pre-authenticated to ensure all products are genuine and unworn, unless stated otherwise. This service serves as a crucial assurance for their customers, given the well-known issue of fraud in the sneaker market.

FRAME

FRAME is an American fashion brand known for its expertise in denim, cotton, leather, and cashmere materials. With a commitment to design excellence, co-founders Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede aim to create a contemporary and versatile wardrobe through the creation of signature denim styles, premium cotton shirts, and highly coveted leather items.

Why does it work?

FRAME prioritizes sustainability and ethical production methods, striving to achieve a balance between financial success and responsibility to both people and the environment.

June (Acquired by Weber, Inc.)

June, now a subsidiary of Weber, Inc., is a cutting-edge home appliance company specializing in kitchen tools. In 2016, the company introduced the world’s first and only smart countertop convection oven, establishing themselves as leaders in the smart oven market. Their commitment is to bring intelligence and convenience to the kitchen through innovative products.

Why does it work?

June is a company that has demonstrated that it is possible to construct kitchens with the utilization of computer programming. They aim to utilize technology and artificial intelligence to simplify the cooking process for individuals everywhere, with a focus on delivering exceptional results.

Thinx, Inc.

Thinx Inc. is a company focused on providing innovative solutions for individuals with menstrual and urinary incontinence needs. The company’s personnel consist of innovative, curious, and imaginative individuals who excel in a rapidly growing start-up environment.

Why does it work?

We hold a strong appreciation for Thinx’s core values which align with our own principles, including accountability, profitability, humanity, curiosity, and advocacy.

SPANX

SPANX was founded by Sara Blakely in response to a need for undergarments that would provide a smooth appearance under form-fitting clothing. By cutting the feet off of a control top pantyhose and creating a solution to a common wardrobe problem, the SPANX brand has expanded to offer a range of lingerie, activewear, and other clothing items designed to address various wardrobe challenges.

Why does it work?

SPANX is a rapidly expanding digital company with a well-established and recognizable brand. Over the course of 20 years, the company has consistently provided exceptional products and upheld its commitment to supporting and empowering women. The company operates with a philosophy of kindness, empathy, intuition, creativity, integrity, and fun. It is known for having a strong vision and giving back to its community, exemplified by the recent actions of its founder and CEO, Sara Blakely, who gifted each employee with two first-class plane tickets and $10,000 after Blackstone acquired a majority stake in the company.

ABLE

ABLE is a women-led DTC fashion brand that strives to advance the industry through the creation of sustainably crafted, timeless leather products, including bags, jewelry, clothing, and shoes, that are characterized by a harmonious blend of style and functionality.

Why does it work?

We highly appreciate their commitment to empowering women, both domestically and internationally, by providing employment opportunities with a dignified work environment for all individuals.

Ethika, Inc.

Ethika, Inc. is a reputable lifestyle brand headquartered in San Clemente, California.

Why does it work?

Ethika’s achievements in the market are attributed to their capability of providing high-quality products, presenting a luxurious brand experience, and establishing a genuine connection with a diverse group of consumers.

S’well

S’well was founded in 2010 by Sarah Kauss with a mission to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles. She aimed to create a sustainable hydration accessory that would also be fashionable, breaking the conventional mold of unsightly eco-friendly products.

Why does it work?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, S’well rapidly took action to assist healthcare workers who were putting themselves in harm’s way to protect others. The company aimed to provide these essential personnel with hydration and morale support during extended shifts while wearing added protective equipment. To achieve this, S’well launched the “For the Frontlines” initiative and over a period of two months, through a “Buy One, Donate One” program, the company donated $1 million worth of product.

The Honest Company

The Honest Company was established in 2012 with the aim of producing carefully crafted, secure, and efficient personal care, beauty, baby, and household products. The company’s products can be purchased through the official website and various retail locations across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Why does it work?

Their mission of promoting conscious living and inspiring individuals to prioritize their health, families, and homes, is underpinned by values of transparency, trust, sustainability, and a strong sense of purpose.

Monica + Andy

Monica + Andy, established in 2014 by first-time mother Monica Royer, offers a range of GOTS-certified organic essentials for new parents. The company strives to provide a seamless shopping experience through their online platform and physical Guideshops, while fostering a community that prioritizes the well-being of both babies and the planet.

Why does it work?

The brand operates with a strong commitment to sustainability, from sourcing to production to customer delivery. Its products are produced without the use of harmful pesticides, toxic dyes, or bleach and are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The brand endeavors to support and empower new and expectant parents in their choices through the provision of environmentally friendly products.

Happiest Baby (the maker of SNOO)

Happiest Baby, the maker of SNOO, is a leading provider of innovative solutions for common parenting concerns. The company is founded on two decades of research by renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, author of “Happiest Baby on the Block” and creator of the 5S’s. Their products, including SNOO, are based on a combination of cutting-edge technology and scientific principles.

Why does it work?

We greatly admire the brand’s dedication to assisting parents in fulfilling their most critical role of raising healthy and contented offspring.

Harry’s, Inc.

Harry’s Inc., established in 2013, offers men’s grooming products at fair prices that deliver an exceptional customer experience. The company has since expanded its operations to the United Kingdom and established partnerships with retail giants such as Target and Walmart. In addition, the company has expanded its product line to encompass a full range of personal care products and launched a women’s brand called Flamingo.

Why does it work?

The brand, Harry’s, demonstrates its commitment to societal well-being through its support of organizations promoting improved mental health care for men. Annually, a portion of its sales, specifically 1%, is allocated towards charitable organizations sharing the same goal of providing quality mental health care to men globally.

mDesign Home Décor

mDesign is a vertically integrated, DTC brand specializing in the provision of elegantly designed home decor and storage solutions.

Why does it work?

Their functional and aesthetically pleasing products, exceptional value proposition, distinctive market position, and competent team have contributed to their rapid growth since their establishment in 2015. They have established themselves as a leading player in the industry and are among the top 5 third-party sellers on Amazon.

MeUndies

MeUndies is a company that was established in 2011 and has disrupted the $110 billion underwear industry through the introduction of an online subscription model. The company was founded by Jonathan Shokrian, who identified a gap in the market for comfortable and convenient underwear shopping. The brand’s focus is on providing quality products and services, offering a unique and enjoyable shopping experience that meets the expectations of modern consumers.

Why does it work?

MeUndies, a DTC company, stands out as a successful business that has achieved profitability in 2015 and sustained double-digit year-over-year growth. The company is renowned for its functional and aesthetically designed products, its competitive value proposition, its distinctive market positioning, and its highly capable team. MeUndies has successfully sold over 9 million pairs of underwear globally, spanning 37 countries and all 50 states within the United States.

PAIGE

PAIGE is a California-based lifestyle collection for both men and women, founded in Los Angeles. Over the years, it has established itself as a respected DTC fashion brand, showcasing cutting-edge design and meticulous attention to detail through its seasonal offerings and essential wardrobe items.

Why does it work?

This brand is committed to precision and is determined to attain the ideal fit. Every product undergoes thorough design, washing, and wear testing processes to ensure that it is not only fashionable, but also practical and suitable for the intended use.

KEEN

KEEN is an independent and values-driven brand in the outdoor footwear industry. Its aim is to responsibly develop original and versatile products that enhance the quality of life and encourage outdoor exploration.

Why does it work?

Founded in 2003, KEEN made a significant impact in the footwear industry with the launch of the Newport sandal. This marked the introduction of the concept of hybrid footwear into the market and established KEEN as a leader in consistent product innovation.

How did we come up with this list?

At Fospha, we curated a list of the top 30 DTC brands by utilizing a unique metric to select only the best. Firstly, we researched and compiled a comprehensive list of well-known DTC brands in the US that we knew personally or could find in public databases. Next, we ranked them based on their average daily site traffic growth during Q3-Q4 2021. Finally, we conducted a thorough evaluation of the list, taking into consideration our brand values, vision, and mission statements, to determine the 30 DTC brands that we truly adored.

Are you looking for more insights into the DTC space? Join Fospha’s DTC Networking Club! The network helps marketers from top DTC brands meet up once a month to swap notes on eCommerce advertising strategies and the latest trends in the market. Sign up now and start making meaningful connections: https://www.fospha.com/d2c-club-register


Jamie Bolton is a ClickZ Advisory Board Member and head of Growth at Fospha, a leading marketing measurement platform for ecommerce.

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