Jens Grede has built some of the most successful direct-to-consumer brands in American fashion. Alongside his wife Emma, he launched Brady with Tom Brady, Good American with Khloe Kardashian, and, of course, Kim Kardashian’s category-disrupting Skims. This week on The BoF Podcast, the Swedish-born former ad man joins BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed to discuss his journey through the fashion industry — from realising one of his early dreams of creating an ad for Calvin Klein to to elevating Skims into a once-in-a generation brand in the vein of Lululemon or Nike’s Jordan brand.
“I’ve waited my whole career to be part of a moment like this, and I’m very scared of messing it up,” says Grede. “At the same time, I know that if we stop experimenting, if we stop innovating, that is the fastest way to mess it up.”
- Cultivating a sense of community is one of the only ways to scale a brand now, according to Grede. Great community starts with creating for yourself: products you like, want to buy and can afford.
- Grede describes one of his biggest mistakes — attempting to trademark the brand name “Kimono” with Kardashian — as one of the most important moments of his career because of what he learned about community and partnership. He said the Skims team listened, owned the mistake and pivoted.
- Fashion is at the cusp of a huge change in distribution due to pivots in culture, algorithms and the outsized role of social media. Grede thinks every major fashion brand that has scaled successfully was born in the cracks of a major distribution change.
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