Design Theory: How Boys Lie Turned Into a Coveted Loungewear Brand

Boys Lie founders Tori Robinson and Leah O’Malley took a risk in 2020 when they decided to nix their failing beauty brand and transition over to apparel. In just a year, their chancy venture has paid off, as their cheeky loungewear styles have created a considerable following among customers and celebrities alike.

Robinson and O’Malley teamed in 2019 after they both went through serious breakups with their boyfriends, who happened to be best friends. According to the founders, they coined the phrase “Boys Lie” as “words of encouragement and endearment” to make each other feel better and decided to turn the mantra into a brand as a way to spread positivity.

They launched that year as a beauty brand with five makeup products, yet found the venture challenging and unsuccessful. In an uncertain move, they decided to leverage their popular merchandise collection of hoodies and sweatpants and pivot the company into a completely new direction as solely a loungewear brand.

“Even though we were losing money, we took a risk and started gifting people like influencers and celebrities in the hopes that they would wear the merch,” Robinson said about the transition. “We never paid anyone to post, so when they did the [Boys Lie] name started to get out there and people were like, ‘Where can I get that hoodie?’ So we decided to basically switch our entire business plan and just go solely clothing.”

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The decision proved to be successful, as the brand has developed a celebrity following that includes Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Halsey and many others who have worn the brand’s loungewear pieces designed with cheeky graphics and sayings that are meant to empower the wearer.

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“We’re selling an experience and building a community around people who are learning how to heal,” Robinson said about the message behind the brand’s offerings. “There’s a strong significance to that because when you wear our brand, you’re essentially wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

To create higher demand and treat the items as “collectible goods,” Boys Lie follows the drop model, releasing new collections roughly every month. Boys Lie, like many athleisure brands, benefited from the pandemic’s loungewear trend and saw significant growth during quarantine despite dealing with production delays.

Boys Lie brought in $5 million in revenue in 2020, up from $600,000 during its launch year. The founders project the brand will generate $10 million to $15 million this year as they continue to grow the brand with more drops, new product categories and collaborations.

The brand is embarking on its first collaboration this month with Forbes, which included the founders on its “30 Under 30” list this year. Robinson and O’Malley said they became close with the magazine’s sales team after the recognition and made them custom Boys Lie hoodies, which sparked interest in the two collaborating on a loungewear collection.

The Forbes x Boys Lie collection includes T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and shorts that feature the Forbes and Boys Lie logos. The collection, which ranges in price from $32 to $135, will be available starting July 30 on the Boys Lie and Forbes store websites.

“The day that we got on the ‘30 Under 30’ list I cried the whole morning,” O’Malley said. “It was such a huge accomplishment, so to be able to do a collaboration with them — especially their first clothing collaboration — is a huge honor.”

Going forward, Robinson and O’Malley have sights on turning Boys Lie into a lifestyle brand that offers products outside of apparel. The brand has already experimented in the home goods category — offering a pillow and vase that feature the brand’s cupid logo — and plan to launch more products in the category while continuing their apparel drops.

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