Interview: CUUP's Abby Morgan on Making eCommerce Personal
The DTC womenswear brand co-founder and CMO talks about throwing out old playbooks and building community.
Welcome to Direct-to-Conversation, a recurring interview feature from DTC Magazine. These conversations highlight insights, advice, and innovation strategies from leading thinkers in the DTC, eCommerce, and retail space. Our most recent interview was with John Sherwin, the founder and CEO of Hydrant, the sustainability-focused DTC wellness brand.
In this Direct-to-Conversation, we catch up with Abby Morgan, the co-founder and CMO of CUUP, the DTC personalized womenswear brand.
DTC Magazine: I'm curious about how CUUP went from being a concept to an actual product. What was the eureka moment?
Abby Morgan: There wasn’t one eureka moment as these are the most complex garments out there so it took many eureka moments to fully bring it to life. My co-founder, Lauren Caris Cohan, and I found out we had been wearing the wrong size bra - and the minimal, attractive, supportive bra we were looking for did not exist in the market. We had an innate curiosity around challenging current trends and creating a product that looked and felt like nothing else in the category. Our co-founders Kearnon and Chrisden saw there was an opportunity to fundamentally change the way bras are actually made and create a new type of bra for the modern woman.
We founded CUUP with a lofty goal: To fundamentally change the bra industry by offering bras that women actually want to wear – attractive, unlined and minimal bras, in sizes that are functional and reflective of the modern population.
Truly educating the consumer on how your bra should look, feel and support is fundamental to the business.
DTC: Part of what separates CUUP is the high level of personalization involved. How do you convince consumers to invest in the process?
AM: Historically, bra companies have squeezed the female form into 13 standard sizes. We aim to educate our consumer from the very first touchpoint that women don’t fit into this century-old sizing system. We didn’t simply revise this outdated scale, we threw it out entirely, making our measurements on real women’s bodies. We meticulously scaled our silhouettes, making sure that the women who need more support don’t have to settle for any less style.
We proudly offer 40 bra sizes, 6 underwear sizes, and more sizes in development. Truly educating the consumer on how your bra should look, feel and support is fundamental to the business. Our Fit Therapists, led by Director of Fit, Tania Garcia - paired with our online Fit Quiz and educational tools shared on our website & Social Media, demonstrate the complexities and personal nature of how each individual may want to feel in her CUUP bra.
We will always offer the one-on-one experience of Fit Sessions. We have offered Virtual sessions since launch, but prior to the pandemic, we also hosted daily fit sessions in our SoHo office.
DTC: What have you learned about consumer habits over the course of this difficult past year?
AM: We have learned that the CUUP woman needs support and community more than ever. We have continued to see steady sales from new customers and customer retention.
Our products are foundational to life, even in quarantine. We feel lucky to support and foster community through social media, our editorial platform BodyTalk, close work with CUUP Community, content partners, gifting, one-on-one clienteling and ongoing efforts in the changing landscape of the pandemic.
Our strategy is not about going viral or getting the most likes.
DTC: Social media is obviously ground zero for a lot of problematic beauty standards. How does CUUP navigate those waters?
AM: With our social media presence, particularly Instagram’s visual focus, we aim to make women feel seen, heard and valued. Our strategy is not about going viral or getting the most likes. CUUP aims to create a paradigm shift in the gaze that reigns over the lingerie industry. We push boundaries by uncovering unusual subjects, ranging in age, size and background. We are shifting the narrative away from the Eurocentric male gaze and handing it back to the women it belongs to. We say that “Sensuality is Self-Defined” and continue to work towards holding space for all women.
In a post-pandemic reality, we are approaching a new frontier of retail.
DTC: What advice would you have for somebody who's interested in creating a deeply personal product?
AM: Listen to your consumer. Engage them in new ways digitally. Hire experts in their respective fields to lean on deep knowledge of consumer needs across a range of backgrounds, ever-changing behavior in the current landscape, and a focus on clienteling. In a post-pandemic reality, we are approaching a new frontier of retail. Each consumer will be coming to digital and physical storefronts with a different experience. We have to cater to their varying needs both with the physical product and holistic experience.