Road to Challenger Brands: Everlane’s Franchesca Hashim on Emotion as the Start of Everything

How the clothier's marketing centers customers

Headshot of Franchesca Hashim and Everlane logo
Franchesca Hashim brought her emotion-driven philosophy from Airbnb to Everlane. Everlane

Everlane launched in 2011 with one question: Why would anyone pay $70 for a shirt that only cost $7 to make?

The initially direct-to-consumer but increasingly brick-and-mortar clothing retailer operates by a policy it calls Radical Transparency. You can learn more about this concept at Adweek’s Challenger Brands summit, taking place March 4-5 in New York, where Everlane brand marketing director Franchesca Hashim will talk about how the privately held retailer embraces social issues to drive consumer loyalty—and sales.

Ahead of the conference we caught up with Hashim, who previously spent four years at Airbnb, most recently as brand manager.

Can you describe the typical Everlane customer?

The Everlane community is curious, optimistic and determined to make the world better. It is incredibly special how our community engages with the brand and how they respond so strongly to our initiatives. They are willing to dive deep with us to not only understand why things are the way they are, but to understand how we can make them better. It’s a force that we are continually inspired and challenged by, and pushes us to do better.

How does Everlane stand apart from other clothing retailers?
Everlane is constantly evolving, making sure we are doing the right thing for our customer and the planet, all while being as transparent as possible along the way. This focus on doing the right thing has shaped the brand we are today, from our focus on transparency in pricing to ethical manufacturing and now, to our sharp focus on sustainability. We’re invigorated by raising the bar in creating a sustainable business model to show what is possible.

Why is taking on social issues so important to Everlane?
Everlane is rooted in doing the right thing, and we believe it is our responsibility as a brand to take on issues we feel passionately about. We are committed to taking on issues related to climate change and human rights because we have a platform to create real change by advocating for our customers and the planet.

Your CEO penned a letter earlier this month committing to eliminate waste, saying, “The next 10 years is our last chance to reverse the damage done” by climate change. What has been the community response? And what is your role in making this happen?
When it comes to fighting climate change, our community has continued to rally behind us and inspire us to make bold moves. My role is focused on developing the Everlane POV and making sure we’re clear on the role we can take in creating change not only within our supply chain, but more importantly the impact that we want to have beyond it.

What are one or two important marketing techniques you learned at Airbnb that you brought with you to Everlane?
At Airbnb, heart and soul was the beginning and end of every marketing campaign. Using that filter, you created and evaluated work around the emotion you wanted to leave behind. If you start from a place of emotion, it helps you understand the motivations for a person to take action.

At Airbnb, consumers wanted to feel like they belonged and they were a part of a global community, so humanity was the crux. At Everlane, consumers want to feel smart, so providing the information they need to take action empowers them to create real change.

@ChrisAriens Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.