How two founders took their sock brand to 11 markets (and planted 10k trees in the process!)

Natural Vibes jumped feet first into Zalando’s Partner Program with their range of colorful, more sustainable socks. We asked Guillermo Ortega Garcia, co-founder of Natural Vibes, to share their brand’s journey so far — and his tips for other small brands looking to step up their growth and take their business international.

The Story

In 2018, Guillermo and his co-founder, Burcu Ozenli, started Natural Vibes to bring color to the world of socks and sustainable fashion. Three months later, Guillermo was presenting his brand in the sustainable section of Berlin Fashion Week.

 

“I am new to fashion. I used to work in finance, so I had to learn a lot!” laughs Guillermo. Today he runs the business with his co-founder, and three freelancer specialists who support with specific processes such as integration or uploading new stock.

 

As the pandemic hit in early 2020 and their offline business slowed down, Natural Vibes were looking for more opportunities online. A couple of months later, Natural Vibes joined Zalando’s Partner Program and quickly launched their sock range in 11 European countries. For 2021, they’re looking to double their 2020 sales.


Sustainability

Finding more sustainable processes and materials is the main focus of Natural Vibes. Natural Vibes socks are GOTS certified and the products are labelled with Zalando’s sustainability flag in the product presentation to customers. This makes it easier for customers to find more sustainable options. 

 

As a brand focused on sustainability, Natural Vibes see Zalando as a key partner for the future. Guillermo has been especially interested to see Zalando’s sustainability commitments in the Sustainability Strategy and the research done in the recent Attitude-Behavior Gap Report.

 

“We want to have a positive impact. We have the reforestation project now, so far we’ve planted more than 10 000 trees,” says Guillermo. For every pair of socks sold, Natural Vibes donate a portion of the purchase price to Eden Reforestation Projects. For 2022, they’re hoping to make that 100 000 trees.

Monitoring performance via zDirect

To keep up-to-date with sales performance and customer insights, Guillermo uses zDirect, Zalando’s partner portal, every day. Using this data, he pinpoints any problem areas, plans marketing campaigns and reviews the brand’s stock situation.

 

“I sell on the platform, but at the same time I get the time to work on my brand. Once the products are set there and the logistics are done, I just have to make sure that everything is running,” explains Guillermo. “Those volumes help me to grow as a brand.”

Tailored services for each partner

Before joining Zalando’s Partner Program, their main concern was that it would be technically difficult for a small brand without any in-house technical or logistics team.

 

“We were wondering: would all the integration work be worth it?” says Guillermo. “But I have to say the process to join was very smooth. The logistics is also very good.”

 

Natural Vibes started with their own logistics to test it out, but as the volumes grew they started using Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS). This also enabled Natural Vibes to quickly scale their business to new markets.

 

To boost their brand’s visibility and brand awareness, Natural Vibes are also using Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS). In the coming months, they’re looking to scale up their marketing with influencer collaborations and more sponsored content.


Tips for Other Brands

“I would 100% recommend Zalando if you as a brand are prepared to sell a bit of volume and develop your brand. It is the best test to know if people like your brand or not,” says Guillermo.

 

His biggest tip for a small brand interested in joining Zalando’s Partner Program is to have a clear strategy for the brand. Guillermo says: “You need to have a plan for how you can keep having visibility and keep selling.”

 

For brands already selling on Zalando, Guillermo believes sustainability will become even more important to customers in the future. “I want all brands to focus more on sustainability. Having the sustainability tagging also helps conversion,” explains Guillermo. “So ensure products are labelled with this!”

 

In Detail

   
About Natural Vibes Founded 2018
Based in Luxembourg and Berlin
Joined Partner Program Autumn 2020
Employees Two founders
Assortment Socks with a focus on sustainability
Services used

zDirect - the Partner Program portal

Zalando Fulfillment Solutions

Zalando Marketing Services

 


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