The Top 10 Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Brands to Follow 2024‍

The Top 10 Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Brands to Follow 2024‍

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

February 22, 2024

Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands are everywhere. In the UK, DTC commerce soared from 5% to 27% in 2023.

They are reshaping consumer shopping behaviours in e-commerce. According to Salesforce, 64% of global shoppers now prefer to buy directly from the brand website.

Some of our favourite brands are creatively adopting e-commerce through influencer collaborations, scarcity strategies, and a commitment to sustainability.

Discover the top 10 DTC brands in 2024, like Unbottled, Zapato Feroz, Papier, and Scuffers. Explore their unique strategies and features defining DTC's success.

1. What Is a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Brand? 

A Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brand directly sells its products to customers online, skipping intermediaries such as wholesalers and retailers. This approach allows them to manage the customer experience, collect data directly from shoppers, and increase profits.

Successful DTC brands often expand their distribution to become omnichannel brands. Casper, for instance, partnered with major sleep chains to stock their mattresses. Similarly, brands like Cabaïa, Unbottled, and Glossier expanded by venturing into physical retail and establishing brick-and-mortar stores.

2. 10 winning strategies from top DTC brands to adopt right now  

2.1 Cabaïa - Environmental engagement & personalisation

Cabaïa's website

Cabaïa is a French accessories brand established in 2015 in Paris by Bastien Valensi and Emilien Foiret. The brand specialises in the sale of hats, socks, and luggage items such as backpacks.

Winning strategy: The brand incorporates environmental and animal-friendly principles, with plans to create 100% eco-friendly bags in the future. Cabaïa actively engages customers through surveys, and social media communities, and aims to foster loyalty by involving customers in the company's life.

The plus: Cabaïa offers personalisation options with different pocket (front, side, bottle) designs and showcases a strong commitment to animal welfare. In collaboration with SPA, they donated €1 for every purchase made online or in-store from Feb 7-14, totalling over €17,000 for the cause.

2.2 Helssy hair - Natural hair care through UGC and education

Helssy Hair's website

Helssy Hair, founded by Héloïse Dreux, emerged from her journey to embrace natural hair care after years of using damaging hair straighteners. She shared hair care tips on social media, sparking interest and leading to the creation of the Helssy Hair e-commerce store in 2021. The brand focuses on providing quality, natural hair care products for various hair types. 

Winning strategy: The brand employs a marketing strategy that revolves around UGC and educational content by Héloïse shared on various social media platforms, particularly through short-form video content.

The plus: A cool free e-book full of tips to take care of your hair! 

2.3 Papier - Creative community focus 

Papier's website

Papier is a British online e-commerce brand established in 2015, specialising in personalised stationery. They sell customisable wedding invitations, notebooks, and notecards, operating in the UK, US, and Australia. The company has received recognition at the British Wedding Awards and UK Wedding Awards. Papier raised $4 million in series A funding in 2017 and $11 million in series B funding in 2019. 

Winning strategy: Papier fills a market gap by offering quality, tasteful, and affordable personalised stationery, and utilising creative partnerships with design influencers and brands such as the V&A, Matthew Williamson, and Disney. The brand also engages customers through personalised email communication, discounts, and perks. It created a community around paper lovers, journaling and daily planning. They organise events and workshops to foster a stronger connection with their audience.

The plus: The Fold, their online magazine that gives tips and artists spotlight! 

2.4 Scuffers - Streetwear with limited-edition exclusivity and influencer collaborations

Scuffers's website

Established in 2018 by Madrid entrepreneurs Jaime Cruz and Javier López, Scuffers is a leading streetwear brand that generated 2.5 million euros in revenue in 2022. Focused on hoodies, T-shirts, and knitwear, the brand has garnered considerable popularity, particularly for its exclusive limited-edition releases. Embodying a blend of Madrid street culture and global streetwear trends, Scuffers has made a mark in the fashion scene.

Winning strategy: Scuffers forges authentic influencer connections by sending apparel to friends and supporters pre-launch. This approach generates viral TikTok content (#scuffers 30.8M views, #scuffershaul 20.9M views) and builds a strong 311k Instagram following. Recognised by influencers, artists, and celebrities, Scuffers' limited-edition exclusivity adds to its appeal.

The plus: The pop-ups, featuring DJ sets, after-parties, and exclusive limited editions, offer a highly anticipated and cool shopping experience.

2.5 Unbottled - Transparent & humorous marketing

Unbottled's website

The French brand Unbottled addresses plastic waste in cosmetics. Their solid products, like shower gels and shampoos, come in FSC-certified cardboard, eliminating single-use plastic. Formulations are free from harmful chemicals, 90% natural, and biodegradable. Vegan, pH-neutral, and made in France, these products suit all skin and hair types.

Winning strategy: The brand's dedication extends to its marketing strategy, focusing on transparency and sustainability in its communication. It's not fear-based marketing but rather centred around education and humour.

The plus: A B corp-certified company! Their product bundles and their email marketing strategy (including their order tracking email) are top-notch! 

2.6 Zapato Feroz - Demand-driven scarcity strategy

Zapato Feroz's website

Established by Laura Garcia and Héctor Nebot, Zapato Feroz offers natural, comfortable shoes for children's early steps, with a focus on natural foot development. Expanding their range to include kids and adults, they provide footwear that respects the whole family's feet. Crafted with materials like natural leather and microfiber, Zapato Feroz prioritises comfort and durability.

Winning strategy: Last year, over 70,000 parents endured virtual queues of up to eight or nine hours to purchase Zapato Feroz shoes. With a scarcity strategy and limited production, Zapato Feroz generates high demand and long wait times for its exclusive, limited-edition designs.

Zapato Feroz's sales calendar

The plus: Their YouTube channel where Laura Garcia answers questions and shows in detail all the upcoming designs and their sales reminders that you can add to your calendar directly on the website homepage! 

2.7 Saye - Sustainable style fusion

Saye's website


Saye, founded in Barcelona, is a sustainable footwear brand selling vegan and eco-friendly materials shoes 100% produced in Portugal. The brand emerged through a successful Kickstarter campaign, launching 7,000 pairs of sneakers and becoming Spain's most funded fashion project on the platform.

Winning strategy: Saye seamlessly blends a vintage/retro style with sustainability in their entire collection, staying true to their identity. Additionally, they use Facebook Ads, and organic campaigns, and collaborate with global micro-influencers who align with their style, ethics, and eco-conscious values.

@carlanicieza A bit of Asmr unboxing the Cactus shoes from @sayebrand - exited for the tomato plant card! #asmr #unboxing #sneakers ♬ Rising In Love - Alan Watts & VoiceMessage

The plus: For every pair sold, Saye funds the growth of two trees, contributing to reforestation efforts in collaboration with the NGO We Forest. 

2.8 Serious tissues - Eco-friendly marketing

Serious Tissues's website

Serious Tissues, a UK-based toilet paper brand, prioritises sustainability and local production. Their tissue is exclusively crafted from 100% recycled paper, sourced from diverse materials that would otherwise contribute to landfill waste. The brand has expanded its range to include laundry detergent and facial tissues. Additionally, the tissue rolls are not individually wrapped, and their product is free from plastic, dyes, perfumes, and unnecessary chemicals.

Winning Strategy: Serious Tissues aligns its brand identity with sustainability in every marketing action. In their inaugural TV campaign, the minimal environmental impact, created by a small team, reduced the production footprint by 5-10 times compared to the average London shoot. This effort earned them Sky Media's £1 million Grand Prix Sky Zero Footprint Fund.

The Plus: With every roll sold, the brand plants a tree, actively contributing to reforestation. Additionally, they offer a loyalty program where points earned can be transformed into discounts, enhancing customer engagement.

2.9 Clothes Doctor - Sustainable customer’s education 

Clothes Doctor's website

Clothes Doctor is an eco-friendly clothing care brand that encourages responsible garment care to combat clothing waste. They offer eco-friendly detergents, tools, and a clothes repair service. Guided by principles of natural ingredients, reducing waste, and being made in Britain, Clothes Doctor is dedicated to extending the lifespan of cherished clothes.

Winning strategy: Clothes Doctor focuses a lot on customer education on their social media and blog. Their content strategy is focused on tutorials and UGC with unboxing videos. The lesson? Show how your product can be a game changer. 

The plus: Sustainable packing made of 100% aluminium with a compostable label!

2.10 Kite Beauty - The power of UGC and PR

Kite Beauty's website

Kite Beauty sells easy-to-use concealer pods directly to people with “busy lifestyles and tiny purses” that are on the move. They offer a range of skin tones and have a handy online quiz to help customers pick the right shade.

Winning strategy: Kite Beauty keeps things simple by focusing on one product and saving money on advertising. Instead, they focus a lot on UGC and PR! It's not clear if they'll sell other beauty items, but they're following the success of other online brands. The lesson? Make sure your main product is great before thinking about expanding.

The plus: Free shipping on every order & Subscription available! 

As we wrap up our exploration of top DTC brands in 2024, a diverse mix of strategies emerges. The rise of DTC commerce highlights a shift towards direct connections and personalised experiences.

From Scuffers to Cabaïa, each brand showcases unique approaches, from simplicity to sustainability and exclusivity. 

Now, it's over to you: which brands stood out, and whose strategies are you keen to adopt? With DTC brands reshaping the retail landscape, the possibilities are exciting. Which brands will influence your path, and what strategies will define your brand's journey? 

The DTC wave is dynamic, and the opportunities are boundless for those ready to ride it.

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