Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |

9 min read

Revealed: Display Advertising Strategies of 11 Fashion Startups

The new wave of fashion startups is revolutionizing the entire industry, and investors are taking notice.

Millions of dollars in venture capital are being funneled into fashion businesses that sell everything from underwear (Mack Weldon), to fully custom suits and shirts (Indochino and Blank Label), and even trendy “try-before-you-buy” prescription eyeglasses (Warby Parker).

CB Insights reports that fashion startup brands have gone from $25M in funding in 2010, to $235M in 2015.

And as you might know, where there’s an influx of cash, there’s Display advertising.

Today’s post breaks down the Display advertising strategies of 11 of the most talked about fashion startups out there.

1) Frank & Oak

Frank & Oak is a menswear brand that was founded in 2012. Their “Hunt Club” allows customer to choose a box of clothes every month and only keep the ones that they like. Frank & Oak has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple of years and has raised ~$20M in funding as of this post’s publication date.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend



Frank & Oak’s publishers of choice include (a popular men’s fashion blog), as well political news sites like, America’s Blog, and (Detroit News).

However, look closely at the trend lines next to each publisher. Dappered is the only site where’s they’ve spent consistently.

Did the news sites not give them the results they were looking for? More than likely.


Ad Creatives

Frank & Oak’s ad creatives are designed with really nice colors; pleasant greens, baby blues and light grey colors.These ads are great because the colors make them very fun to look at. The ads look clean and friendly, which makes you want to click.

Frank & Oak’s ad creatives feature images of their clothes or a male model wearing them.
The ad copy highlights either the affordability of their products (“Up to 65% off”) or their subscription model (“Refreshed Monthly” and “The Hunt Club”).


Landing Pages

Like most eCommerce sites, Frank & Oak uses gated landing pages.

What’s a gated landing page?

A gated landing page “locks down” the content until the user signs in with either their Facebook account, Google account, or gives up their email address.

You’ll see that the majority of eCommerce retailers opt for this style of landing page. While it’s annoying to users, it makes sure that the brand is able to keep in constant communication with the user, increasing the chances of repeated purchases.

Frank & Oak change their landing pages based on the current season, seasonal trends or any special sale they might be having.

Most of their landing pages are quite similar, and they often just have a few different pieces of copy above the login buttons and with a different background.

Here’s example #1 for a landing page for their summer sale:


Here’s example #2 for a landing page for their summer sale:


Notice that the only difference between the two is the background image.

Here’s a more general landing page that doesn’t advertise any particular collection or sale, but instead gives a brief explanation of their service and the benefits the prospect will get if they sign up:


2) Mack Weldon

Can you raise $5.9M just by selling socks, underwear and undershirts?

New York based fashion company Mack Weldon did.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Mack Weldon and most fashion brands allocate the majority of their ad spend to Google. Mack Weldon and many others are dipping their toes in the “Native Ad waters” by running small campaigns on Outbrain and Taboola, but few have taken the plunge.



Mack Weldon’s publishers are all over the place. Given that they’re selling socks and underwear, their offers likely work on a variety of different sites as long as they have a predominantly male demographic.


Ad Creatives

Mack Weldon’s most seen creatives include photos of their boxers and boxer-briefs.

Again, like Frank & Oak, the colors in the ads (the underwear) are pleasant and nice to look at.

The ad copy focuses on the benefit of paying for premium, nice underwear and includes the copy:

“Fabric Matters. You’ve never felt anything like this before.”

The “Love it or your first pair is on us” is simple guarantee copy that offers a prospect the ability to try it completely risk-free.

Landing Pages

Mack Weldon’s landing pages are simple, long-form pages that contain pictures of the product itself, details about the fabric (how they set themselves apart from competitors), and the company’s values. The pages are very clean, and all the photos look extremely professional.


3) Indochino

Indochino creates custom suits, shirts and accessories for men.

Indochino has raised ~$17.25M in funding.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Indochino is one of the few fashion companies that you’ll see that allocates a decent amount of spend to Native Ad networks like Outbrain and Taboola.



Indochino’s publishers of choice are mainly men’s fashion sites like, (also a favorite of Frank & Oak) and


Ad Creatives

Indochino’s ad creatives focus on the affordability of their suits.

Most of their ads include price in the copy.

However, you’ll also notice that one ad uses the headline, “Buys a custom suit. Gets promoted.”

This angle is a bit different as it doesn’t focus on the price, but rather the implied benefit of what could happen if you start wearing a custom suit, which is that you’ll be more successful.


Landing Pages

Indochino uses slick, clean long-form landing pages with lots of stylish photos of suits, male models in suits, and information about why their suits are so awesome.


4) Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a trendy brand of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. They are currently valued at $1.2B after raising $100M from T. Rowe Price and other investors. Warby Parker is currently moving into brick-and-mortar stores after seeing massive success online.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Warby Parker has begun to ramp up their spend on Display within the past couple of months. This likely has to do with the fact that they just raised another $100M a few months back.

So far, they have spent the most with Outbrain, one of the most popular Native Ad networks.


You can probably expect to see their ad spend skyrocket in the next couple of months as they put all that VC money to good use.


Most of Warby Parker’s publishers are fashion ( or celebrity gossip ( sites:


Ad Creatives

Warby Parker’s ad creatives are very cool, clean and modern looking.

They don’t use many images or bold colors.

They let the style of the glasses and the brand speak for themselves.


Landing Pages

Warby Parker uses long-form, clean landing pages (notice any patterns here?) that highlight the style and benefits of their product. Plus, they also let you know that part of your purchase goes to non-profits that help people who can’t afford eyeglasses. Pretty cool.


5) ModCloth

ModCloth is an online vintage and indie clothing store. ModCloth has raised ~$78.74M in funding over the past 7 years.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

ModCloth is one of the highest spenders in this list on Display advertising, mainly spending on the Google Display Network. However, this increase in spend is rather new. It looks like they had a huge push in November for their fall collection but have reduced their spend to more even levels.



ModCloth uses a different strategy for selecting publishers.

Instead of going for fashion blogs and large gossip mags like People, they mostly buy ads on viral content and quiz sites like PlayBuzz, Ranker and PressroomVIP.


Ad Creatives

ModCloth’s ad creatives are bold, bright and pleasant to look at. Like most female clothing brands, they prefer to advertise specific clothing items (fall shoes) or collections (clothes for plus sized women). Shoes seem to


Landing Pages

Unlike many other advertisers, ModCloth does not send traffic to long-form pages with information on the company, product and persuasive copy. Instead, they send traffic to landing pages that focus on specific products (depending on the ad creatives). This is more a traditional eCommerce product page that most people are used to seeing.


6) Gilt Groupe

Gilt Groupe calls themselves “an online shopping website that provides instant insider access to top designer labels.” They’ve raised ~$286M in funding and in 2011 acquired interior design company

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Gilt Groupe is one of the few fashion brands that has diversified their traffic sources. They are spending equally on the Google Display Network and Conversant, spending significantly on Direct Buys, and even testing out other networks like and TribalFusion.



Gilt Groupe’s publishers are all over the place. Considering the top publishers they spent on but that they’re no longer spending with, it’s likely these were not very good choices. It also looks like their Direct Buy with did not work very well.


Ad Creatives

All of Gilt Groupe’s ad creatives contain a specific amount that they are discounting their clothing. They also like to use the angle “Investment-worthy designer brands,” which is an interesting way to frame the fact that they are selling higher priced clothing


Landing Pages

Gilt also uses the traditional gated landing page for both their men’s and women’s collections.

Here’s the gate landing page for women’s clothing:


Here’s the landing page for men’s clothing:


7) Just Fab

Just Fab is a California based fashion retailer that gives customers personalized recommendations based on their style and fashion preferences $254M in funding. They also acquired ShoeDazzle, The Fab Shoes and Fabkids.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Just Fab spends a lot on Google. One interesting thing to note is that Just Fab also spends a fair amount on Adblade. We haven’t seen many eCommerce companies make use of Adblade yet.



Just Fab focuses on larger publishers like, (Disney), and sites targeted at women like World Lifestyle (celebrity gossip/viral content) and Woman Freebies (coupons).


Ad Creatives

Although Just Fab sells all sorts of women’s clothing, their ad creatives mostly contain boots and shoes. Their ad creatives also contain lots of bright colors, similar to the other female fashion retailers, as well as highlighting the deals and money people can save if they shop with Just Fab.


Landing Pages

Just Fab primarily uses two different styles of landing pages.

Their more general ads send traffic straight to their homepage, which is just a long page that explains how they work, shows a few product images and ultimately tries to get the visitor to click and start seeing more products.


Just Fab uses entire landing pages for seasonal sales.

For example, the page on the left below is for their Black Friday sale. The page on the right is for Just Fab’s “Bootsgiving” Thanksgiving sale.


8) Jack Erwin

Jack Erwin is a New York based shoe company. They describe themselves as retailers of “well-crafted, honestly priced men’s dress shoes.” Since 2013, Jack Erwin has raised $11.75M in funding.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Jack Erwin buys most of their ads on Outbrain and Taboola, two of the largest Native networks.



Most of Jack Erwin’s publishers are news sites, as those tend to be the publishers who monetize with Native Ad networks.


Ad Creatives

Jack Erwin uses the same copy with different images for their ads on Native networks. You can see that they use the “secret” angle commonly used by direct response marketers in markets like weight loss, finance and dating.


Landing Pages

Jack Erwin’s landing pages focus on the quality and crafting of their shoes. They set themselves apart from their competitors by trying to reiterate that although the shoes are affordable, they go through a very delicate process of being handcrafted.


9) zulily

zulily was launched in 2010 by Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon. They sell clothes, home decor, gifts and toys. In 2015, they were acquired by Liberty Interactive Corporation (QVC shopping network) by $2.4B in cash and stock. Much of their massive growth was propelled by Display advertising.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Zulily is BY FAR the biggest Display advertiser in the fashion and home decor space. Adbeat estimates that they’ve spent $25,815,040 over the past 6 months. Most of their ad spend has been allocated to Google, but they’ve tested pretty much every network under the sun.



zulily buys lots of traffic on very general sites catering to broad demographics. Examples include, and a Direct Buy on (Publishers Clearing House).


Ad Creatives

Zulily’s ad creatives tend to focus solely on one single product: dresses/tops.

They’re testing out a variety different dresses, color schemes and copy, albeit the common theme seems to be the “70% off” that is mentioned in each ad creative.


Landing Pages

zulily also uses gated landing pages similar to what you’ve already seen from the previous companies:


10) Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal is an online fashion retailer that specializes in vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. Nasty Gal is considered to be one of the fastest-growing online retailers in the USA. Since 2012, Nasty Gal has raised $65M in funding.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Despite their massive growth and influx of venture capital, Nasty Gal has not used Display as one of their main channels for customer acquisition. It appears they had a short period of high spending around August, but have not spent much since.


Nasty Gal’s publisher selection tends to be focused around viral content/entertainment sites ( and and beauty/fashion sites ( and


Ad Creatives


Landing Pages

Nasty Gal is similar to other eCommerce fashion companies in that they tend to use three different landing pages.

Landing page #1 is their landing page for a promotion Nasty Gal did with For Love & Lemons.


Landing page #2 is tied to the product shown in the ad creative. In this case, an ad creative that advertises their dresses sends traffic to a landing page with all their dresses.


Landing page #3 is their “what’s new” page. This landing page highlights all of their new products.

11) Chloe and Isabel

Chloe and Isabel is a bit different from the other advertisers in this round up, as they are not a pure online fashion retailer. Instead, they call themselves “a social commerce jewelry brand with a proprietary technology platform that powers sellers’ personal e-commerce experience.” However, they have raised $32.45M in funding since 2011.

Ad Networks & Ad Spend

Google, Google, Google.

(And a tiny bit of Bing)



Some interesting publisher choices. It looks like they had a brief period — one day to be exact — where they spent a non-trivial amount on but quickly cut it off.


Ad Creatives

Chloe and Isabel’s ad creatives vacillate between the money making aspect of the service and the originality of their jewelry. Instead of opting for showing the pieces by themselves, they only show pictures of attractive models wearing their jewelry.


Landing Pages

Landing page #1 is simply Chloe and Isabel’s homepage:


Landing page #2 is a page that gives more detailed information on how customers can become a part of Chloe and Isabel and start selling their jewelry:


Other Brands To Watch Out For

The companies featured in this blog post aren’t the only ones that have received a nice injection of VC money. Here are seven more companies that are making waves online but haven’t tested (or scaled) their Display advertising…yet.


Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *