How Brick-And-Mortar Stores And Beauty Are Building Chic Maternity Brand Hatch’s Business
A woman is pregnant for nine months, but chic maternity clothier Hatch intends to be lodged in her wardrobe and on her wish list much longer than that. Stores and beauty are big parts of its plan to remain relevant for her fourth trimester and beyond.
Started by Ariane Goldman in 2011, Hatch planted its first retail location six years later in New York and opened a second location in the Los Angeles neighborhood Brentwood last year. Six to eight additional locations are expected to roll out over the next three years. Hatch Mama, the beauty collection that entered Hatch’s brood a year ago as an affordable gateway to the brand, is on track to account for 8% to 10% of its parent company’s business.
“Both forays have been huge wins for us,” says Goldman. “Not only do we have a much bigger beauty strategy, but we’re opening stores to use brick-and-mortar spaces as places to unite women. Hatch is way more than a brand that sells stuff. It’s a brand for women who are on a whole new kind of adventure, and we’re a home base for them where they know they have a friend.”
In an apparel and beauty segment marked by direct-to-consumer brands throwing ideas at the wall to spur sales, Hatch has been notable for its gradual progress and singular focus on building loyal customers. Its celebrity clientele includes Kerry Washington, Jessica Alba, Meghan Markle, and makeup artist and Estée Lauder global beauty director Violette Serrat, the poster woman for the sort of effortless style that Hatch exudes. Roughly 25% of Hatch’s customers aren’t pregnant.
Hatch executed stores once it had a comfortable cash reserve to spend on construction, and Goldman had noticed it was selling two to three times the amount it regularly sold on its website at in-person events. The brand sold solely on its own website until two years ago, when it launched at Shopbop and Net-a-porter. Goldman sought distribution partners not to amass a huge wholesale operation, but to broaden its reach in a cost-effective manner.
“Everyone is saying retail is dead. I actually disagree, and I feel that, if you provide a fun adventure, retail can be very much alive.”
“I couldn’t pay for acquisition myself, so I wanted to use wholesale relationships to spread the word,” she explains. “It’s not cannibalizing my sales. Sales have been growing with them and on my online channel. It’s only helping with awareness. Obviously, you are exchanging margin for that awareness, and I have been cognizant to keep it a small percentage of our revenue.” Goldman shares Hatch’s wholesale component makes up 10% of its revenue.
Hatch isn’t moving away from its website, which saw sales almost double last year, being its primary revenue driver, but stores in select cities are another tactic to broaden its reach. Goldman has identified 10 markets for potential store expansion with communities of mothers and mothers-to-be that could be fits for Hatch. Among them are Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.
No matter where they are, Goldman is adamant Hatch stores offer compelling reasons for customers to visit. They have captivating in-store elements such as a cravings bar with pickles and ice cream, and extensive programming schedules packed with doulas, doctors and lactation consultants, to name a few of the experts on the calendar.
“Everyone is saying retail is dead. I actually disagree, and I feel that, if you provide a fun adventure, retail can be very much alive,” asserts Goldman. “The stores have forums and seminars, and we do mama yoga and music classes. We are bringing this beautiful culture to the commerce piece of it. People are coming back and sending their friends.”
“We take small risks before taking a little bit bigger risks. I have a wonderful audience and want to grow a company that’s built well from the ground up and is profitable.”
Hatch Mama isn’t available at retailers besides Hatch. The eight-piece range took almost two years to create, and Hatch raised $1.5 million from friends and family to fund it and retail locations. Hatch Mama had to be safe, look elegant and address common issues faced by women during pregnancy and after. Bestsellers are the sheet mask Belly Fix, Belly Oil, Nipple + Lip Rescue Balm, Down. Girl Soothing Leg + Foot Relief and Strength + Shine Daily Fortifying Hair Oil. Goldman says, “Having a $12 belly mask helps get our brand experience to people who might not be ready to spend $188 on a dress. It expands the conversation.”
Expanding the conversation is a goal across Hatch’s merchandise. Following Goldman’s earlier entrepreneurial venture TwoBirds, a bridesmaid dress brand, Hatch began with a dozen key items and a refined boho vibe. It was Goldman’s answer to Destination Maternity and A Pea in the Pod, concepts that didn’t resonate with her. She admits Hatch can be perceived as pricy, but emphasizes it has products for various budgets (beauty plays a significant role in its price diversification) and has options for different preferences. While Goldman favors loose silhouettes, Hatch extended into tighter designs as the Kardashians’ influence infiltrated maternity wear.
Hatch is currently raising a Series A funding round to support growth. If Goldman’s record is any indication, the money won’t be wasted on frivolous gambles. “We take small risks before taking a little bit bigger risks. I have a wonderful audience and want to grow a company that’s built well from the ground up and is profitable,” she says. “I want to be a beautiful household name in a way that matters.”