Taylor Stitch specializes in high-quality men's and women's clothing for discerning consumers. Without visibility into their customers' preferences and interests, it was challenging to plan and execute a fully optimized email marketing program.
Taylor Stitch is a San Francisco-based clothing company for men and women with a sense of style — and a passion for quality fabric and construction. Customers can choose between purchasing ready-made clothing or crowdfunding new designs through a program called Workshop.
Mike Grasewicz, Director of Marketing at Taylor Stitch, joined the company two and a half years ago. In addition to email marketing, he oversees all things growth— or as he puts it, “putting the puzzle pieces together from a marketing perspective.”
Since Mike joined Taylor Stitch, the team has more than doubled. During that time, their e-mail list has accelerated at an even faster pace, skyrocketing to 10x its original size. Email has played a pivotal role in helping to grow the ecommerce side of the business, which is built on Shopify Plus and accounts for a substantial portion of company revenue.
Read on to see how Mike decided to convince Taylor Stitch to switch to Klaviyo — and how the company’s approach to email marketing at Taylor Stitch has evolved since then to maximize performance.
When Mike came on board at Taylor Stitch, he was ready to hit the ground running and turn email marketing into a revenue engine for the business.
But right from the start, he saw that MailChimp, the email marketing platform Taylor Stitch had in place, wasn’t an ideal fit for what he wanted to do.
Director of Marketing, Taylor Stitch
“I couldn’t see individual customer behavior or pull segments, and open rates weren’t tied into revenue,” he says. “It just seemed archaic.”
Without visibility into shopper behavior, Mike found that he was essentially sending emails in the dark without understanding purchase history or preferences.
“People have different purchasing behaviors,” Mike says. “We don’t want to send everyone the same set of emails. If you purchased once or twice a year in the past, we want to be cognizant of that. That customer probably doesn’t want to receive a ton of emails while others might. It’s really a balancing act.”
Taylor Stitch was looking for a way to better understand the people who were receiving and responding to their emails.
“Before we joined Klaviyo, data sat in different silos. Before you have the data and you understand what’s going on, you don’t really know what’s optimal,” Mike says. “At the time, I didn’t even realize the potential for segmentation yet. I just wanted a more holistic view of how our emails were performing and who our customers were.”
Before he committed to changing email platforms, though, he wanted to know it would be worth it.
“Switching to new software is a very time-consuming process for any business,” Mike says. “If Taylor Stitch was going to invest a lot of time into setting up an email backbone, I wanted to be sure the new platform would allow us to maximize our time spent on email marketing.”
Mike began his search for an email marketing platform that would provide the increased visibility he needed to kick Taylor Stitch’s email marketing into high gear.
“I started to scour the internet,” Mike says. While reading through responses on Quora, he noticed that Klaviyo had been mentioned several times.
“I did a lot of research,” he says, “and it started to seem like hey, Klaviyo may actually solve the disconnect between customer data and emails. It appeared to provide a more holistic view of what’s actually happening via email marketing.”
"If Taylor Stitch was going to invest a lot of time into setting up an email backbone, I wanted to be sure the new platform would allow us to maximize our time spent on email marketing.”
He also received validation from another source. “I have a tight-knit group of digital marketing friends, and a lot of them had made the switch to Klaviyo, including our officemates Huckberry,” Mike says. “That made me feel like we were on the right track.” In the meantime, he had been laying the groundwork to grow Taylor Stitch’s email list aggressively.
“Our light box was rather bland before, so we tried out a full-bleed branded light box,” he says. “One of our company’s core strengths has always been the diverse and beautiful photographs shot by our creative director and co-founder, Michael Armenta. Using those images to help create an end-to-end brand experience was the first step in accelerating our list growth.”
Building customer segments
With a rapidly growing email list, Taylor Stitch was even more determined to understand the optimal email cadence and targeting to drive sales.
With Klaviyo up and running, Mike decided to start experimenting.
He used the segment builder to divide up his master list in January 2017 into groups for different email campaigns, methodically recording his results throughout the month.
He started by identifying and weeding out Taylor Stitch’s less engaged email subscribers.
“A lot of people just stop opening emails,” Mike says. “They might as well have unsubscribed, but they’re still on your list. And sending emails to people like that yielded super-low click rates, super-low open rates, and not a lot of revenue.”
For one test, he sent out an email related to Workshop, the crowdfunding arm of Taylor Stitch. He sent it to two different segments that would help him better understand questions around email cadence and customer behavior. “The first send went to a highly engaged segment: people who had actively browsed our site or opened more than three emails in the past 180 days,” he says. “The second went to the rest of our list, which was double the size.”
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The differences between the two segments were startling.
“The active segment was the clear winner,” he says. “40% open, 3% click-through, 36 purchases.”
Meanwhile, the other segment didn’t perform quite as well.
“11% open rate. 0.5% click-through. Zero purchases,” he says. “Zero revenue.”
By using Klaviyo on a regular basis to divide up his master email list into groups with shared behaviors, Taylor Stitch was able to start sending more relevant messages — and stop sending to people who weren’t interested.
With this strategy and the higher open rates that came with it, Taylor Stitch showed ESPs that they were sending messages that people wanted, telegraphing the kind of sender reputation that improves overall deliverability. The approach also strengthened subscriber connection to the Taylor Stitch brand, as user behavior came to dictate which emails they would receive.
Taylor Stitch continues to build out and test different types of segments, including ones that get even more precisely targeted.
“For example, in the final hours of the window for crowdfunding a shirt from a specific collection, we sent the same email to two different segments,” Mike says.
Group A: Customers who had opened at least one email related to that collection
Group B: Customers who had opened three or more emails in the last 180 days
The Twist: While engaged, Group B customers had never opened an email from this specific collection
The results were striking.
60% increase in revenue per recipient
40-50 segments per month
60% decrease in unsubscribes
The first group — the subscribers who had opened at least one related email — trounced the second group, generating a 4x higher open rate, 3x higher CTR, and a whopping 9x more purchases.
After running test after test and seeing similar results, Taylor Stitch scaled their approach and now uses it to build out highly targeted audiences on a regular basis.
“When we send emails now,” he says, “we start with a simple but pivotal question: Who actually is going to be excited about this garment?”
And according to Mike, that’s just a starting point for building out a targeted segment.
“Our list of questions goes on: Have you viewed one of these garments? Have you viewed other garments from previous collections that would be similar to this one?” he says. “Or were you added to the list in the past 90 days? If that’s the case, we don’t have much insight yet into what type of clothes you may be in the market for and need to first gauge interest.”
Since Taylor Stitch now builds roughly 40-50 detailed segments a month within Klaviyo, they run through these questions quite a few times. Some of those segments are used for identifying groups of subscribers to email, while others are used to retroactively understand customer behavior.
“We take an hour at the beginning of the month and an hour in the middle of the month to make all these segments,” he says. “The segments may look extremely complicated at first glance, but when you dig in, it’s the same logic-based idea for each product.”
With this level of specificity in targeting, Taylor Stitch email subscribers receive emails that are directly reflective of their interests.
“It’s some of the most productive hours we spend each month,” Mike says.”It’s led to an increase of almost 60% in revenue per recipient. And with Klaviyo’s segmenting capability, I’m able to hindsight each week’s strategy and see if there was something we missed or could have improved on.”
This targeting strategy has had a dramatic impact on Taylor Stitch’s email marketing program.
“In January and February of this year, we sent just 50% of the emails we sent in November and December of 2016,” Mike says. “The difference is that we sent them to more targeted segments.”
Did slashing the volume of emails by 50% — and switching to a more targeted email strategy — decrease the amount of traffic email drove to the Taylor Stitch website?
“We sent half the number of emails and drove the same amount of traffic to the site. So what that proved to me was segmentation is huge,” Mike says.
With more targeted email sends came another bonus: unsubscribes plummeted by 60%.
“Email accounts for a large percentage of our revenue,” Mike says. “We’re making segments that are dynamic, which allow us to hone in on sending emails to the right people without having an in-house data science team.”
But even with this success, there’s always room for improvement.
“When you can connect email open rates to revenue and you can segment, it’s like becoming smarter overnight.”
“With each segment, there’s always a chance to keep learning and changing the segments,” he says. And it’s worth it, with revenue per recipient going hand in hand with what they learn.
“Email marketing is a big driver for our business,” he says. “It will always be a big driver for our business.” Mike credits his success with Klaviyo to both the platform and the personalized attention from his dedicated Klaviyo account manager, Zach Wooster.
“It comes back to the product, and the people behind the product,” he says. “Zach is always accessible, whether it was for educational purposes, answering one-off requests, and reaching out with new findings. He’s basically become a friend throughout our time with Klaviyo and we wouldn’t have fully utilized the platform’s capabilities without his help.”
“Taylor Stitch is a model Klaviyo customer,” Zach says. “Over the past year, Mike and I have worked together to brainstorm the best dynamic customer segments and flows for his audience based on email engagement, browsing behavior, profile age, and purchase history. His dedication to sending targeted emails has fueled the growth of a loyal subscriber base who are genuinely excited to receive their Taylor Stitch emails.”
Mike has already started making headway on the next big challenges.
Having greatly reduced the number of non-targeted emails Taylor Stitch sends out, their next step is to identify opportunities to strategically increase the total number of precisely targeted emails.
“We need to scale what we’re doing right now,” he says, “which is a much harder question to answer. That’s the next frontier facing us. If we can increase the amount of emails we send and keep the same engagement levels, then we’re going to be far better off, both now and in the future.”
Taylor Stitch is also working to determine how to best introduce new customers to the company’s flagship Workshop process.
“Our Workshop is a unique brand experience that takes a certain amount of understanding. Knowing when to first introduce this concept to customers is another aspect that we’re always testing and Klaviyo’s capabilities make it rather painless.”
However, Mike is confident about being able to answer both of these questions.
“Klaviyo gives us a lot of the data to make better decisions,” he says. “When you can connect email open rates to revenue and you can segment, it’s like becoming smarter overnight.”