Brandy Melville doesn’t do any traditional advertising. Storefronts carry discreet signage. The brand’s popularity is fed almost exclusively through social media buzz. It has 2.2 million followers on its main Instagram account, 65,000 followers onTwitter (TWTR), 218,000 “likes” on Facebook (FB), and a robust board on Pinterest.
The popularity of Brandy, as it’s affectionately known, is noteworthy given the recent poor showing of other teen stores. Delia’s (DLIA) said it will file for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 5. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) will have closed 60 stores by the end of this year, andAéropostale (ARO) is shuttering 120 stores in the U.S. and Canada. “To me, the DNA of these brands has not evolved,” says teen trends forecaster Sarah Owen of WGSN in New York. “The junior girl consumes information faster than estimated, and product and brand images seem to be from 10 years ago.”
Brandy Melville doesn’t have those problems, and by setting trends, not chasing them, it’s winning over the coveted teen demographic. American teens spend an average of almost $3,000 annually—21 percent of that on clothing, followed by 20 percent on food, according to the latest Taking Stock With Teens survey from research company Piper Jaffray (PJC). The report shows Brandy Melville gaining favor among teen girls, especially online.