Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Ra’el Cohen discusses the possibilities of 3D printing and why ThirdLove extends size inclusivity to its imagery.
Name: Ra’el Cohen
Title: chief creative officer
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
Industries that are able to leverage 3D printing have the ability to change the landscape of a typical supply chain by localizing what used to be an intricate network of global suppliers and manufacturers. The ability to produce on-demand decreases raw materials and finished goods liability, while at the same time giving the customer a higher level of personalization.
Balancing supply, demand, and inventory in apparel is incredibly complex. While 3D printing may not be leveraged as much in apparel, brands have seen success with Santoni knitting for seamless garments in intimate apparel, athletic wear and shoes. This technology can help simplify or eliminate more complex supply chains, by creating a vertical manufacturing process with fewer suppliers.
Do you consider yourself a typical consumer?
What’s typical these days? I’m not diehard one way or another when it comes to my shopping behavior. I mostly shop online but still love an in-store experience when a new season launches. There are a few brands and products that I consistently buy, but the majority of my purchases are driven by color, quality and aesthetics.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Quality, fit and consistency. I don’t love having my inbox inundated, and I don’t need massive collections of products that won’t last. I prefer quality over quantity, so brands that understand that get my business.
What’s your typical work uniform?
My work uniform depending on the season is jeans, a T-shirt or sweater, a leather jacket, and booties.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
Who’s your style icon?
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
We decided to photograph all styles on multiple body types. To win online, especially in bras, women want and need to see themselves represented. Launching 80 bra sizes two years ago was the first step, and the strategy to support it with our imagery was an important next step towards building one of the most size-inclusive intimate apparel brands in the world.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
ThirdLove’s culture is innovative, collaborative and philanthropic. We come to work knowing that the work we do makes a difference in women’s lives, and that’s incredibly gratifying.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
Pre-COVID-19, I would have said inclusivity. Post-COVID-19, retail will need to focus on mitigating inventory and better matching supply with demand.
What keeps you up at night?
Innovating quickly enough in an ever-changing industry that’s been impacted by the coronavirus.
What makes you most optimistic?
Although there will be long-lasting effects on retail due to COVID-19, it creates a real opportunity for online businesses like ours.
Tell us about your company’s latest service:
ThirdLove is known for our innovative Fit Finder, a tool that helps women find their perfect size without stepping foot in a physical store. In May, we are rolling out the initial test for a new results page for Fit Finder that shows multiple bra recommendations. This will help create a more robust shopping experience for our customers by offering a curated assortment of bras that fit her life.