Last weekend, FRAME celebrated their five year anniversary at Mr. Chow in New York City. It was a very fashionable guest list with Rachel Zoe, Hillary Rhoda, Jenna Lyons, Karen Elson, and Karlie Kloss to name just a few. It’s surprising to me that FRAME is only five years old since it feels as though the relationship TSALT has with this premium denim brand has been going strong for longer than this. When Tamara decided to open a clothing boutique, FRAME and M.i.h were at the top of my list for denim. FRAME has not disappointed. Much of this has to do with the two marketing experts behind FRAME.
Jens Grede and Erik Tortensson launched FRAME Denim in 2012. It’s important to mention they are not fashion designers. What they set out to prove involved banking on their strength…marketing. Jens and Erik are both natives of Sweden and met while both working together at Wallpaper* magazine. After realizing they were the yin to each other’s respective yang, the two formed their own marketing company when they were both 24.
Before the curiosity of creating FRAME unfolded, they conceived and created Net-a-Porter’s men’s site, Mr. Porter, just one of many examples of having their fingers on the pulse of what a market will bear. On announcing their interest in experimenting with denim as a product, they were warned by those in the industry that denim is a saturated market, that there’s no space for yet another brand of denim. How thrilled we all are that they ignored those around them and believed in their ability to offer a unique and creative product strategy that did not exist for denim.
Of course it helps to have A-list clients like Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, and H&M in your portfolio; success has a way of breeding success. What they accomplished in regards to integrated marketing solutions, talent brokering, publicity, digital strategies, sales, distribution, and brand management was about to set the stage for their single product experiment. The challenge for these two creative directors was whether they could produce a singular product with implementation of their superior marketing to nurture their idea. If you can’t tell yet, these two are my career ambassadors of quan. I wonder if they’re hiring…(wink).
It goes without saying that the product not only succeeded but flourished from the culmination of all of their prior experience in marketing. “Big brands go through a natural process of reducing the cost of production while building a bigger corporate organization,” says Gerde in an interview with Forbes. “We thought if we did it the other way around, by investing heavily in the product and run a lean organization, we could put the money in the product and customers would notice and appreciate it.”
That one product was the Le Skinny de Jeanne. The two perfected one style and placed it on friends, models, and celebrities…and never paid any of them for wearing their product. With models and celebrities capturing the attention of their target audience, FRAME denim exploded. Personally, I love the moxie behind these two. Basically it’s “tell us we can’t and we will.” They were not afraid of failure and are a testament to the courage of creation.
The other takeaway: do one thing well and put the money into that. A great product sells itself.
It goes without saying that FRAME has perfected more than the Skinny de Jeanne during the evolution of their multimillion-dollar denim empire. I encourage you to come into TSALT and try on “a great product that sells itself.”