The average pair of jeans using 1500 gallons of water while the average pair of DL1961 jeans uses less than 10 gallons. The brand also uses a vertically integrated, self-powered facility with botanic fibers, organic and certified cotton, clean dyes and energy efficient machinery to preserve resources.
Zahra Ahmed grew up in the denim industry and initially integrated into DL1961 as VP of Marketing and E-Commerce at DL1961, managing the e-commerce platforms in addition to overseeing the company’s marketing strategy. She worked alongside her mother as CEO until this past March as she took over as CEO of DL1961.
Over the last ten months Ahmed has been able to grow the brand even more through innovation and new strategies. Below, she shares the top three things she has learned since taking over as CEO.
Define Brand Message
Even though DL1961 is family business, when Ahmed started at the company she was coming in as an outsider. “I knew who we were but from a viewpoint of a consumer and hearing my parents talk about it so it was very important for me to do a deep dive into who we were from a business and marketing perspective, and determine how we wanted to evolve,” says Ahmed. “Since we started in 2008, the company has been rooted in innovation from a product standpoint and it was important to me to make sure we brought that over to our identity.
“We defined our company mission for the first time in ten years: DL1961 is changing the way denim is made to lesson our impact on the planet for future generations. Sustainability is not a trend for us, as a vertically integrated company it is as the base of how we think about product and how we communicate ourselves to the customer. For me, it’s taking that message and leveraging social media and digitally native marketing to reach the largest possible engaged audience.”
“I have been told multiple times when questioning something, that ‘this is how it’s done’. For me, that’s just not good enough. Despite being a traditional brand from the sales and distribution outlook, I rather not simply take the obvious approach,” explains Ahmed.
In today’s retail environment, she advises every brand and retailer to rethink their model to better serve the consumer needs while having the flexibility in what things are thought to be essential for success.
While collaborations are not new to DL1961, Ahmed advanced the scale and strategy to the Marianna Hewitt capsule which was very different from their past collaborations. “We took a holistic approach that was digital first, but in combination with in store events at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, where we were able to interact with customers at many different levels. Having content that lived on social media and layering that with media content, department store digital platforms, and in store displays that were all designed in one tone and message to maximize impact, and of course sales,” shares Ahmed.