For the uninitiated, Waistlab is a modern entrepreneurial success story.
Its founder, Alif Adam, who founded the Singapore-based company during his final year in Polytechnic in 2017, has long dedicated himself to cultivating a series of intimate slimming garments meant to empower the modern woman. To accomplish this mission, the 24-year-old Singaporean has since scoured through not one, not two, but eight different overseas suppliers, and undergone countless revisions to create the perfect waist trainer.
In the mere span of two years, Waistlab has launched three unique collections — Casual, Active and Taupe — while accruing a growing international fanbase. As of late October 2019, the company has announced international shipping to 18 destinations, including Australia, Japan, Korea, UK, and USA.
Beyond Body Positivity
While constrictive clothing or undergarments have long been criticised as symbols of repression and are frowned upon by many, the creations behind Waistlab are nothing of the invasive or restrictive sort. In fact, they speak volumes otherwise.
Waistlab’s carefully selected materials, such as latex that is lined with cotton, ensures a waist trainer that feels great to the touch and is comfortable to wear. With three iconic and versatile collections (Casual, Active and Taupe), the brand offers an eclectic range for women with different lifestyles. Tailored for mobility and breathability, garments from the collection are also meant to promote the right posture while suppressing appetite.
In other words, in an era bridled with incessant body positivity, Waistlab’s creations encourage women to take on an even more active lifestyle.
“It’s like a corset, except that it isn’t,” argues Alif. “Waist trainers are less invasive and aren’t as tight as corsets. The way it helps women lose weight and burn their belly fat over a longer time through the process of thermogenesis. And it requires consistency.”
Instagram and Transparency
Capitalising on Instagram as a vehement mode of expression, Waistlab’s Instagram feed mildly mirrors the likes of @Refinery29’s and is what one would call a creative playhouse. With close to ten thousand followers, content on the brand’s social media runs the gamut from professional shoots, images with recurring aesthetic, and inspirational quotes.
Transparency is an ethos that runs deep for the brand, and Alif has known to utilise Instagram to disseminate information or debunk myths.
“When it comes to waist trainers, we always go back to basics and we don’t overclaim. I think that’s one of the best things we do: we are transparent. We tell customers the truth,” explains Alif. “From Instagram, our customers know that our products are made in a textile-based factory in Shenzhen, China. Our customers also know that our products are not meant for everyone, and we have always encouraged our customers to book an appointment to try them on.”
A Reliance on Discounts
Just like other young brands, Waistlab once turned to discounting, up to 30%, to win customers. While discounting may fuel growth in the short-term, it comes at a cost — and for Waistlab, whose products were just beginning to enter the global market, discounting was poised to become a dangerous drug they were too reliant on.
Furthermore, discounting didn’t fit into Alif’s brand vision for Waistlab. Waistlab was creating high-quality waist trainers that helped women achieve their fitness and active goals. While Alif wanted his waist trainers to be accessible to everyone, he didn’t want to train his customers into waiting for the next sale or heavy discount.
The decision to stop discounting is never an easy one. But for Alif, the decision to do so in August 2019 was more than just a pragmatic leap of faith; it was meant to spiral the brand forward.
“Which was why before I made that decision, I got hoolah on board,” he adds.
hoolah helps make Waistlab waist trainers more affordable. For example, you can now split your Active Classic Waist Trainer (initially priced: S$85) purchase across 4 payments of $21.25 with no additional cost.
Doing Away with Discounts
Considering Waistlab’s leap into unchartered territory, one could predict a drop in sales figures in the coming months. But despite stopping discounts, Waistlab’s revenue stayed even, transactions went up slightly and profits were up.
“We were able to achieve this because of hoolah. Instead of waiting for a discount, we asked our customers to pay with hoolah and just pay 25% up front,” shared Alif.
More importantly, customers, especially the younger demographic, have been receptive to hoolah. “The feedback by our customers has been positive,” says Alif. “We have heard from them and how (hoolah) has helped them managed their expenses, and that is what we want to hear.”
Focusing on Brand, Growth, and Delivering Value
With the wind in their sails, Waistlab has increased the number of campaigns they run in a month. Middle-of-the-month campaigns, previously done with mixed success, are now a regular fixture. hoolah enables these campaigns by helping Waistlab’s customers manage cash-flow before payday — now, customers are able to pay the first instalment in the middle-of-the-month when cash is low and pay the next ones after pay-day.
“With hoolah, the number of sales we have across the month has been consistent. That’s when we realised that people do wait for their salary to purchase a waist trainer. And because of hoolah, they can purchase them anytime,” Alif explains. “ hoolah has also helped us with launching our ad campaigns in the middle of the month. We have been able to blast ads consistently on week two and week three of the month.”
Furthermore, rather than placing emphasis on remaining price competitive, Alif now has more time to focus on creating and delivering a great brand and even greater products.
“In every campaign that we do, we always have a promotional value and an emotional value. hoolah helms the promotional front of our campaigns, and we focus more on the emotional side of things. We get to focus on our branding, our marketing, and our customer service. And the best part? We no longer need to calculate and decide how much discounts we can afford to give this month.”