Massimiliano and Kim Kardashian West seem unlikely friends: He has 2,164 Instagram followers, she has 246 million. She makes tabloid headlines every time she leaves her Calabasas home; Tirocchi walks down the street in Montevideo, Uruguay as a brown-haired pedestrian when he leaves his Montevideo apartment. Both have built significant shapewear brands. Shapermint, Tirocchi’s direct-to-consumer marketplace, was worth $150 million, while Skims was comparable.$145 Million.
Tirocchi, 28, founded Shapermint in 2018, a year before Kardashian West launched her brand. He did not have any experience with paparazzi-friendly undergarments, but he studied purchase decisions data from the dropshipping business he started as an unmotivated student at Universidad ORT Uruguay. He realized that leggings and camisoles were the most in-demand items for shapewear, and he saw a $70 billion market opportunity.
The bootstrapped business employs 250 people today. All of them were previously remote workers. According to Tirocchi’s numbers, revenue grew by 73% between 2019 and 2020 through the sale of legacy brands Wacoal and Hanes, Maidenform, and Bali, as well as its own Shapermint offerings. A Skims bodysuit costs $68, but Shapermint’s Empetua version retails at $27.99. This has enabled the three-year-old company to capture 20% of the U.S. women’s shapewear market. With 4.4 million customers, the majority of them are young mothers, who account for a significant portion of all sales in the industry.
Tirocchi says that the company was able to grow from $0 million to $200 million in just two years due to customer acquisition. The core of the business has helped Tirocchi to increase sales to $250 million since its inception in 2018. “We’re reading data and using creativity to find out how to communicate.
Tirocchi attributes his success as Shapermint’s co-founder, chief marketing officer, and co-founder to his multi-national upbringing. His father was a diplomat in the governmental consulate in Italy. The 2021 Retail & Ecommerce Forbes 30 under 30 alum had to learn socially and focus on building friendships and entrepreneurship ventures outside of his classroom.
In 2012, he founded his first company, Bloglea, which is a network of 15 Spanish-language blogs that discuss topics such as family, cooking, and cars. He met Santiago Zabala, an Uruguayan business student, and Lucas Vera through his studies at Universidad ORT Uruguay. They came up with the idea of monetizing Bloglea via advertising. The cofounders made between $10,000 and $30,000 per month and looked at companies such as unicorn Warby Parker. They hoped to do for shapewear what Warby Parker did with eyeglasses. They applied the network model that they had developed with Bloglea to online commerce, calling Trafilea, dropping off products from bras to towels, and selling them through dedicated websites to customers all over the globe.
They noticed that Shapermint, a website for shapewear, was generating revenue for the company. They took feedback from customers and invested heavily in Facebook ads. They spent up to six figures per day and made it a priority to hire employees who would work exclusively for Shapermint. The company now spends more than $100,000 per day on Facebook advertising, reaching 6 million people through the platform.
We saw shapewear as an industry that was still untapped. Tirocchi says that although there are many competitors (Spanx being the most well-known), their prices are high and they don’t reach new audiences because they sell their product in a particular way. “Our approach is different, because we listen to our customers. We discovered that they did not want hundreds of products. They couldn’t find the right fit for them and it was too expensive.
Shapermint enjoyed its best year in 2020, but the industry as a whole was hit by the pandemic, Kristen ClassiZummo, NPD apparel industry analyst Kristen ClassiZummo reports. Overall sales decreased by 36% during this time, Kristen ClassiZummo, NPD apparel industry analyst Kristen ClassiZummo says. The top-selling products are changing, even though industry sales have rebounded to 2019 levels. People are now buying thongs, leggings, and waist cinchers, rather than corsets and corsets. They’re looking for versatile products that can be used in a work-from-home or leave-home lifestyle. Classic-Zummo says that dressing today isn’t about being more formal. It’s about looking polished. “Shapewear was born from this restrictive background. I think it’s empowering women today. This category is being dominated by women who are comfortable with their natural curves and rooted it in comfort.
In 2018, before the world learned that Kim Kardashian West enjoys loafing around her house in a corset, shapewear still had a large degree of shame associated with it. Shapewear was a way for women to conform to society’s beauty standards. It also imposed a certain amount of shame on them.
Kim Kardashian is not viewed as a threat to him, but rather as an ally. He says, “When celebrities push and sell a product it becomes more commonplace.” “Since she started, many more people have an interest in this category.”