Anatomie, the upscale casualwear brand, is looking to make a name for itself in the crowded athleisure category with clothing its CEO Kate Boyer describes as “Prada meets Lululemon.”
Founded in 2006, Anatomie – originally called Jet Set Style – has long marketed itself as “luxury wrinkle-free travel clothing” that is “made to fly.” However, when the pandemic hit and effectively put global travel on the fritz, the company was able to show off its versatility as an everyday casualwear brand.
The brand successfully appropriated its structured pants and tailored jackets designed for maximum comfort on an airplane for laying around the house, allowing Anatomie to get in front of new audiences while at the same time cashing in on the $113 billion athleisure market.
“Anatomie definitely has a huge connection with travel, but when travel ceased during COVID, we discovered to our benefit a world of just wearing it casually at home or at work,” Anatomie chief operating officer Thomas Dietrich told Insider.
Now, with travelers itching to get back on planes – many of which are newly vaccinated – the company is preparing itself for a lucrative 2021.
Casting a wide customer net
Anatomie is best-known for its pants, and makes roughly 70% of its sales through online channels. The remaining 30% derives from specialty stores and luxury retailers like Nieman Marcus. These bottoms include leggings and stretch denim ranging in price from $88 to $288, with a core demographic of “affluent, sophisticated, stylish” women aged 40 to 65, Boyer said.
In addition to its popular pants, Anatomie also sells tops, dresses, and jackets, all designed to be both comfortable and stylish – with a focus on taking the working woman straight from the plane to a business dinner or family engagement. However, Boyer said the pandemic ultimately served to introduce Anatomie to more women, as they sought out comfortable outfits while sequestered at home.
“It was really an opportunity to take even more wardrobe space in our customers and and target customers,” she said.
Still, Boyer doesn’t describe Anatomie as a direct competitor to Lululemon, but rather an “elevated version” of the activewear company. She noted that within Nieman Marcus stores, Anatomie is positioned between luxury outerwear company Moncler and a high-end cashmere pop-up.
Anatomie’s price range and quality of clothing also help it take away customers from pricier competitors, she said.
“A lot of the times the Brunello Cucinelli and Armani shoppers are trading down to Anatomie for something more comfortable, more sporty, more durable, and more low-maintenance,” she said. “Something that they don’t need to dry clean and iron. It’s fun for me because we’re able to compete with designer brands with athletic brands and everything in between.”
Merging athleisure and travel wear
According to Dietrich, while the business took a hit due to the coronavirus outbreak, the company still increased sales by 5% year over year in 2020. Anatomie originally forecasted sales to increase by 45% last year.
Part of this has to do with Anatomie’s brick-and-mortar distribution, which in addition to Nieman Marcus, is largely focused on travel market hot spots like golf clubs, cruise ships, and high-end hotels such as the Ritz Carlton and Canyon Ranch properties that each endured shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, with the recent revitalization of the travel industry, Dietrich said he anticipates business to significantly ramp back up, with sales projected to reach $25 million this year.
“Our slogan is designed to fly, which is both literal and a metaphor for the woman on the go,” Dietrich said. “It’s desk to dinner to plane to board meeting.”
He added that the pandemic allowed Anatomie to experiment with new ways to reach shoppers, including rolling out digital personal shopper services and leveraging influencers to hold Zoom events that involved promoting the brand. Once physical retail stores began to reopen, the company also launched a series of pop-up stores in areas like the Hamptons, Miami, and Palm Beach.
“It gives us an amazing growth opportunity after we have proven ourselves, especially the last year as we build momentum to become a lifestyle brand,” Boyer said. “We’re super excited about it, we’re an elevated casual concept that’s very timely and modern, well-made and sophisticated.”