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Ariane Goldman is a serial entrepreneur with a specialty: “I’m always gonna try to create things people need,” she said on the latest Glossy Podcast.
In 2007, that meant launching Twobirds Bridesmaid, focused on bridesmaid dresses that women can wear more than once. And in 2011, she introduced Hatch.
“I was pregnant with my first daughter, excited about this new endeavor that I was about to embark on. And I was absolutely surprised that there was nobody speaking to me. I didn’t know how to speak the language, and I didn’t know what to look for,” she said. “That was the lightbulb that went off. I knew that if I was feeling this way, there must have been other women looking for the same companionship and guidance through this next chapter.”
She started Hatch as a direct-to-consumer brand centered on clothing women can wear before, during and after pregnancy. Today, 20% of the company’s customers are women who aren’t pregnant, Goldman said.
The company has since expanded to product categories including beauty and “fourth-trimester” products, like nursing bras. And in 2020, it launched a content platform called Babe.
At the center of the brand’s success is an engaged community that has worked wonders to fuel its growth. Hatch’s annual sales grew 80% in 2021, and Goldman is projecting 40-50% growth this year.
Goldman discussed how Hatch has grown its community using education-focused events, even during pandemic-forced store closures. Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Using events to build a community
“When I started Hatch, I wanted to bring products into people’s hands so that they can feel good about themselves. I never imagined that, over the years, through the evolution of the brand and the layers of building a beauty business and the retail experience, that community would be such a big factor in the beauty of Hatch as a brand. And our retail stores had extra space downstairs that enabled us to host these in-person events with education, doulas, prenatal talks, miscarriage discussions — all really wonderful ways for women to connect with each other. And they would come in the doors and not necessarily walk out with a shopping bag, but they would walk out with a smile on their face that allowed them to talk about the brand and feel like Hatch really had their back. And that is what Hatch has become: more of a meaningful brand that provides solutions — not only through products, but also through community and education. Before Covid, we were already starting to digitize the events, so that we could expose women outside of New York and L.A. to this wonderful education and the relationship we had with these educators. But [the pandemic] just sped up the fact that we wanted to really bring our community — international, national, every woman — access to the wonderful information that we’re providing them. And so we digitized the events over Covid. We’re seeing over 2,000 RSVPs per event, and we’re able to get into the households of all these wonderful moms-to-be; in their own homes, they now have a trusted circle of people that are discussing questions that they have. And nothing has been more rewarding in building this brand than knowing that we can be that resource to these women. We’re going to go back to in-person events, as I believe strongly in connection and getting together with other women. But the digital aspect of this has been a huge moment for us. And I really think it’s going to drive us into the future.”
“I built the business brick-by-brick for the first six years; I didn’t get any incoming funding. I value myself as a brand builder, but I like to build brands from the ground up — so it’s a grassroots [approach, centered on] good products that people need. And I really traveled the product across the country for the first five years, doing trunk shows and meeting with people; I wanted to be on the ground so that women could pay it forward, girlfriend to girlfriend, talking about what they loved about Hatch, and really spread the word that way. We had PR, but at the time, I didn’t have any money to celebrity seed. So it was really organic, because we were the only player on the block. And our stuff is really great. So celebrities naturally came to us when they were doing appearances, and it paid it forward that way. And I see all these wonderful endorsements happening with celebrities now, but for me, the celebrity isn’t necessarily the way to win with Hatch. I think the customer today is a little bit smarter than that. I think the amount of content we’re getting through social media is just so abundant that a celebrity might have one moment, but it only lasts for that moment. So how do you really make an impact? And I think collaborations with other companies that have credibility and validity in their categories has been a huge win for us. We collaborated with J.Crew, and we have a wonderful line at a lower price point with Target called The Nines by Hatch, which has been a wonderful way for us to reach more women at a more affordable price point. And working with other retailers in other categories has been an extraordinary way for us to get out there and have people understand us, from a brand awareness standpoint. And I stand by collaborations, 100%.”
“Obviously maternity is a finite period of time in a woman’s journey. And at [our launch], 10 years ago, it was a very male-oriented investor community. And so, for me, proving to the world that I had a concept that worked [was key]. And so, for the first six years, pounding the pavement and really building this from the ground up was my proof of concept – so that when I did go to market and know that it was time to step on the gas and accelerate this thing, I had proof of concept in my hands. I could say, ‘No matter what you say to me, Investor A, B or C, I’ve got this. And look at how we’re growing, and look at how people need us. They want us. And I have an incoming freshmen class every year of customers. I’ve got all of these points handled. So invest in me, because this is something that’s working.’ And we have a phenomenal round of investors. And we’ve been able to grow beautifully year over year. And it’s only really the beginning for Hatch, even though we’re 10 years in.”