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Anine Bing was an Instagram hit pretty much straight off the bat. An early adopter when the social platform launched in 2010, the Danish influencer-turned-designer’s effortless ability to marry timeless simplicity with a rock’n’roll edge proved a winning combination. In 2012, she and her husband, Nicolai Nielsen, launched their first collection, consisting of 15 timeless pieces, from their Los Angeles home. Fast-forward six years (and 629,000 Instagram followers), Bing has just secured a $15 million Series A (funding for start-ups) investment, from key investors Index Ventures, Greycroft Partners and Felix Capital. She has opened nine bricks-and-mortar stores, with the 10th opening in London’s Mayfair this week.
The brand has a cult lingerie following – doubling its collection last year to include the under-$200 silk camis and lace bralettes favoured by Kendall Jenner – plus its signature studded boots (as seen on Gigi Hadid). “It’s the versatility of each piece that sets the brand apart,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-Porter, who has retailed Anine Bing since March 2017. “The modern shopper is less defined now – she wants fashion that can be worn day or night. Each of Bing’s collections has a strong fashion identity whilst being completely wearable for every woman.”
Bing’s success goes beyond her ability to tap into the modern woman’s multifaceted wardrobe of classics plus key seasonal pieces. She adopted a see-now, buy-now model long before Burberry – posting monthly collections to both the brand and Bing’s Instagram accounts. If Bing was pictured wearing something, her fans could wear it too. A shorter production lead time, combined with a strong e-commerce, marketing and social media strategy has cemented Anine Bing as a community-driven success. And as the brand approaches its seventh year, Bing stays true to the platform that helped her launch her eponymous label; utilising all of the latest Instagram roll outs, from swipe-to-shop, to shoppable posts.
“We were ahead of the curve in that way,” Bing tells Vogue ahead of her London launch, “and with how to promote things and build a brand on Instagram. I think the investors saw that as an innovative way of working and it really appealed to them; they actually approached us.”
To top it all off, she still manages her own account. That alone would make for a busy life, more so when coupled with running the business, alongside her husband, and being a mother of two. Her children, Benjamin and Bianca, are five and seven, respectively. “We’re still learning and it’s really hard,” she says of finding a personal and professional balance. “The key is to love what you do.”
The early days were harder still, when Bing and her husband did everything from marketing and design, to customer service and packing orders. But over the past two years the company has tripled its employee base to 60 – appointing chief operating officer, Annika Meller; chief financial officer, Paul Courell; and vice president of e-commerce and growth, Jacob Rokeach – and doubled its revenue year-on-year (forecast to do the same in 2019.)
Beyond driving international growth and expanding their retail footprint, Bing plans to use the $15 million funding she secured in September to strengthen their denim offering. Jeans, she explains, were a catalyst for launching the brand six years ago: “I had around 100 pairs of jeans, but I couldn’t find the right style.” Although it’s a challenging category – the perfect wash, the stretch in the fabric, the placement of pockets and fit – she wants to get it right. “There’s no better feeling out there than when you find the perfect pair of jeans. You can wear them with a simple white T-shirt and a blazer and feel confident. I want to create more of that feeling for my customers.”
What else can we expect? It’s all very hush-hush; but if this year is anything to go by, things will not be slowing down anytime soon. In 2018 alone, the brand collaborated with Janessa Leone hats and Scandinavian brand Gina Tricot, launched its children’s wear offering with Bing Kids and opened three stores, in New York, London and LA. “Plans tend to move so quickly but we’re working on some big things for 2019,” says Bing. That includes at least five new stores worldwide, as well as new (yet-to-be-announced) collaborations, partnerships and product categories. Now that she has taken on kidswear with aplomb, will the future include branching into menswear, Vogue asks? “Not on the agenda for now, but never say never!”