Body Wrappers’ Rhythmic Rise with Gregg Davis | re:COGs Podcast Episode #32

Body Wrappers’ Pirouette to DTC

Join re:COGs host, Mike Gelb as he delves into a discussion with Gregg Davis of the distinguished dancewear brand, Body Wrappers, about its fabulous fandango into an expanded DTC model.  

Body Wrappers has been a staple of the dancewear world for over forty years, but with a rapidly changing retail landscape and evolving consumer behaviors, this heritage brand was ready for a reboot. Together with his wife Sandra, Gregg shuffled their feet with a graceful pivot and breathed new life into this classic brand by unlocking historical data to maximize potential in the modern marketplace.

Revitalizing a Legacy Business in Lockdown

Shortly before COVID-19 paralyzed the globe, Gregg and Sandra acquired Body Wrappers and diagnosed its woes of high costs, declining revenue, and resistance to change. Rather than shuttering stores, they enacted a digital-first approach to leverage the brand’s established following. The pandemic accelerated Body Wrappers’ rapid shift to DTC as traditional channels evaporated overnight.

Pivoting from Pirouettes to Pixels

With hardly any e-commerce infrastructure to start, Sandra and Gregg moved swiftly to set up new digital assets. Combining existing personnel with outside experts ignited a lean testing regimen across social platforms. Remarkably, Body Wrappers forged DTC success without intensive content investment, relying largely on cost-efficient paid advertising. While admittedly grueling initially, they proved DTC’s merit in unlocking brand potential.

Fancy Footwork:  Identifying Top Styles Through Historical Data

Unlike launching new products, Gregg stresses that acquiring Body Wrappers granted the gift of hindsight. By analyzing decades of retail data, they swiftly identified perennial top sellers to spotlight online. Culling 3,000-plus SKUs to only top-moving 250 kept inventory fresh. They also found ample stock for early DTC demand by diverting languishing products once earmarked for now-shuttered traditional retailers.

Digital Boogaloo:  Wholesale Pros and Cons in the Instagram Era

While now doting on DTC, Gregg still sees advantages in wholesale done right. He compares brands owning all operations from manufacturing to bricks and mortar to modern Coke versus Pepsi dynamics. Yet for fledglings, Gregg views DTC as the great equalizer thanks to higher margins and direct community connections impervious to retailer whims. Still, he sees room for balance, noting Body Wrappers as living proof traditional brands can learn new digital tricks without sacrificing heritage.

Join us as Gregg shares the method to Body Wrappers’ graceful metamorphosis from relic to revenue star. You’ll glean priceless insights on resuscitating vintage brands through forward-focused digital transformation.

Listen In:

Mike and Gregg Discuss:

  • Acquiring and turning around the 40-year-old Body Wrappers dancewear brand
  • Implementing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy and ecommerce business
  • Leveraging Body Wrappers’ existing brand loyalty and customer base
  • Making use of decades of historical sales data to identify top products
  • Reducing thousands of SKUs down to only the best-selling items 
  • Using lean testing across social platforms for initial DTC approach
  • Relying more on cost-efficient paid advertising than content
  • Discussing pros and cons of DTC vs wholesale business models
  • Wholesale still viable when owning the entire supply chain
  • DTC enables higher margins and direct community engagement
  • Importance of cash flow when considering debt financing 
  • Equity investment ideal when markets and company are thriving
  • Funding opportunities for growing DTC businesses 
  • Validating product-market fit before pursuing debt financing
  • Pre-selling and storytelling to launch products with little investment

RELATED:  Read about how Body Wrappers did the turn-around tango

Partner Profile: Body Wrappers Dances to a New Beat with Manufactured

Listen to the Entire re:COGs Series:

Tune in to re:COGs, the podcast series that examines the essential aspects of inventory management, supply chain optimization, and operational excellence, all through a COGs-focused lens.

Hear business operators and thought leaders from growing consumer brands share their thoughts on product manufacturing.  Through inspiring stories and critical conversations with top experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries, listeners are treated to valuable insights and actionable advice that can be applied to any growing business as it scales up operations.

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