Decoding Oh Polly's Social-First Brand's Viral £113M Success

Decoding Oh Polly's Social-First Brand's Viral £113M Success

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

March 25, 2024

Oh Polly has taken the fashion world by storm. Founded in 2015, the DTC brand has become synonymous with trendy, stylish dresses designed to turn heads. 

According to Retail Gazette, Oh Polly's revenue skyrocketed to a record-breaking £113 million by April 2023

Oh Polly's success story goes beyond eye-catching designs. They strategically use TikTok to become a viral sensation, generating massive user engagement and impressive sales growth. 

This article explores the secrets of Oh Polly's social media success, and how they built a community.

1. Oh Polly has cracked the code on User-Generated Content (UGC) and influencer marketing

In 2019, Oh Polly was recognised as the UK's 5th most actively engaged clothing retail brand on social media. Oh Polly's social media has over 9 million followers worldwide. 

They understood quickly the great potential of UGC and the virality power of the TikTok platform

Oh Polly's marketing strategy focuses on leveraging authentic content created by influencers and everyday customers. This approach resonates deeply with today's consumers, who crave authenticity over traditional advertising.

After all, a whopping 56% of consumers say the types of content they most want to see from brands are user-generated photos and videos.

The hashtag #ohpolly, has garnered more than 2.4 billion views on TikTok and over 50K posts and more than 250k posts on Instagram

UGC like unboxing videos, try-on hauls showcasing their latest styles, and even outfit inspiration featuring trendy themes resonate deeply with their audience. This focus on UGC helped them boost sales and build trust with their followers. 

Taking community building a step further, Oh Polly understands the power of collaboration.

They partner regularly with relevant influencers like Denise Mercedes or Madeleine White and brands who embody the Oh Polly style and resonate with their target audience. 

@madeleine_white This is the most perfect little mermaid dress I’ve ever put on my body 🧜🏻‍♀️ coming soon @Oh Polly #ohpolly ♬ Wannabe x Best Friend remix - Malibu Babie

For example, their collaboration with the fashion doll line Bratz captured a youthful, nostalgic vibe that resonated with fans of the early 2000s "Y2K" aesthetic.

Additionally, their collection with Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu, a popular contestant from the reality show Love Island, capitalised on the reality star's immense social media following and fashion influence. The limited collections, featuring embellished dresses and daring necklines, sold out instantly! 

2. The Oh Polly Girl aesthetic phenomenon

The TikTok community thrives on aesthetics, embracing even the most niche trends. The lifespan of these trends is often unpredictable, as evidenced by the whirlwind of seasonal trends, film-inspired aesthetics (Hi Barbie!), and cultural moments that defined 2023.

Prime examples are the “- girl” trends like “clean girl”, ‘that girl” or the “cottagecore” aesthetics. However, one newcomer stood out: the "Oh Polly Girl".

This trend represents the ultimate party girl, with her love for dresses, heels, and glitter. 

Oh Polly's success on TikTok exemplifies the art of capitalising on trends to cultivate a vibrant brand community. They recognised that it's not just about selling dresses but about creating a lifestyle that deeply resonates with their target audience.

3. Boosting brand engagement: Experiential marketing with pop-up stores and fashion shows

Oh Polly takes its brand beyond social media by hosting regular events such as pop-up stores in key locations like Los Angeles and Liverpool.

They also organise fashion shows, creating an exclusive atmosphere and anticipation for their collections. These activities strengthen the brand's connection with its audience and generate a lot of social media interest.

One of their TikTok about their 2024 fashion show got viewed more than 22M times and received 2.4M likes! 

4. A sustainable future? Addressing fast-fashion concerns

Oh Polly's success comes amidst ongoing conversations about the environmental and ethical implications of fast fashion. The industry is known for its reliance on mass production, often with concerns about labour practices and the environmental impact of textile production.

Oh Polly has taken some initial steps towards sustainability. 

Here's a breakdown of their initiatives:

  • Carbon-free deliveries: Oh Polly partnered with Packfleet to offer carbon-free deliveries in London. This initiative reduces their environmental footprint within the city.
  • ZOA clothing rental service: This collaboration allows customers to rent Oh Polly dresses for specific occasions, promoting a more sustainable approach to fashion consumption.
  • Charity: Since 2016, they have donated a total of £953,869.05. 
  • TENCEL™ Modal: This more sustainable fabric made from wood pulp appears in select Oh Polly collections, offering a lower environmental impact option for consumers.
  • Clothing donation system: Oh Polly offers a way for customers to donate pre-loved clothes for a discount code, in collaboration with The Salvation Army. 
  • Sustainable packaging: Oh Polly's mailing bags are made from 50% recycled materials and use FSC card boxes, promoting responsible sourcing and recycling.

However, there's still room for improvement. Moving forward, Oh Polly could focus on increasing transparency in their supply chain or extending the use of sustainable fabrics across their collections. 

Oh Polly's meteoric rise isn't just about trendy dresses, it's about cracking the social media code. They turned followers into brand ambassadors, using TikTok to fuel a UGC goldmine that skyrocketed their revenue. 

Can they keep the party going while navigating the tricky world of sustainable fashion? Only time will tell, but one thing's for sure: Oh Polly's a masterclass in social-first branding.

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