How Skims is Stretching the Possibilities of Digital Marketing

Kim Kardashian’s Powerhouse Label is a Lesson in Balancing Brand Identity and Velocity Through Digital Channels

By Mark Wittmer

The rise of Skims has been astronomical. Just four years into its existence, the company was given a $4 billion dollar valuation in July of last year, which has since prompted plenty of speculation about if and when founder and creative director Kim Kardashian will take the brand public.

While no doubt this rise to success is in part attributable to Kardashian’s already well-established fame (which in turn is thanks in large part to her being a savvy businessperson), it is mostly a product of a deep understanding of what its customers want coupled with a fast-paced, engaging, and multichannel approach to digital marketing that drives demand and interaction. There’s plenty of celebrity brands, but none of them have come close to the success and popularity of Skims.

Here we’ll take a look at how Skims has leveraged personality, community, multifaceted digital strategy, and a high-velocity scarcity format to become the most talked-about shapewear and underwear brand today.


  1. The Power of Kim
  2. The Community Expands
  3. Doubling Down on Digital
  4. High Velocity and Exclusivity
Kim Kardashian via Instagram

The Power of Kim

Skims begins, of course, with Kim. Kardashian had already been massively successful in building her personal brand, and when she launched Skims in 2019 in partnership with CEO and co-owner Jens Grede, she strategically built on this personal basis. While her iconic and instantly recognizable look goes a long way in the brand’s marketing, just as important is its solutions-oriented mindset. Kardashian had always been open about her use of shapewear, and in founding the brand reflected that, despite its perks, she still wasn’t able to find one that was consistently comfortable, flattering, and size and color-inclusive. Skims was born from this problem as the founder explored ways to find a solution. Kim still tries out and approves every product herself for fit and comfort.

The Community Expands

A strong figurehead goes a long way, but a brand that centers on inclusivity and finding solutions for a diverse range of women needs to build a strong sense of community. One of the brand’s founding tenets was creating a broad range of sizes and colors so the same piece can work for almost all women of varying sizes, shapes, and skin tones. In addition to just being the right thing to do, this commitment to inclusivity showed a strategic identification of gaps in the market, as other leading shapewear brands tend to have fewer options.

The brand embodies this spirit of inclusivity with diverse casting for its numerous digital campaigns, celebrating a broad range of women who are diverse in size, color, age, and gender expression.

Shapewear from

Skims has also made strong use of one of the fashion industry’s most powerful tools for expanding brand equity through creative community and drawing in new customers: collaborations. The brand has wisely aligned itself more directly with luxury fashion through collaborations with Fendi – which reportedly sold out most of its stock in 24 hours and raked in $1 million in the one minute after its launch – and Swarovski. Skims also highlighted its commitment to supporting women and their bodies in its multi-year partnership deal with the WNBA signed in October 2023, becoming the league’s official underwear sponsor.

Doubling Down on Digital

Great product and a strong brand identity only matter if people can see them. Its approach to marketing communications is where Skims truly thrives, creating massive brand equity and engagement through its fast-paced, visually engaging, multi-channel approach.

Instagram functions as Skims’ digital home, where the brand consistently pumps out content to its 5.6 million followers. Thanks to its frequent drops and scarcity-minded approach (more on this later), Skims always has new products and restocks to keep its fans updated on, and it announces them through simply produced yet direct and energetic imagery that looks just as striking on a phone screen as it would on a billboard.

Skims is also big on email marketing, with about three emails going out to its many opt-in email subscribers each week featuring updates on product launches, restocks, activations, and collaborations, and feeding right back into the brand’s online retail platform.

While its reach is not as broad as the Instagram account, Skims also has a sizable presence on TikTok, with 1.2 million followers. Wisely leaning into the DIY, word-of-mouth approach that sets TikTok apart from the high-gloss world of Instagram, most of Skims’ views on the platform are generated through partnerships with mid-level influencers who try on and review the brand’s latest products. The brand’s sheer popularity and rapid production cycle also prompts plenty of unpaid reviews, earning the brand lots of free publicity that converts into real sales – an example of how the brand’s approach to meeting real customers where they’re at has genuine resonance.

High Velocity and Exclusivity

This rapid-fire and highly saturated approach to digital communications goes hand-in-hand with the brand’s rapid production and release cycle. Skims can post about so many new product launches and restocks because it has so many new product launches and restocks. 

Strategically following a format of scarcity marketing, Skims intentionally releases smaller amounts of product at a time, meaning many products quickly sell out. This scarcity drives hype and anticipation around new releases and restocks, and prompts customers who missed out to sign up for the newsletter to get updated on more availability, drawing new fans into the cycle and encouraging them to consistently keep a close eye on brand communications.

While much of this constant newness is in a way strategically contrived, it does also reflect a commitment to real innovation and anticipating trends. A key part of what resonates with customers are Skims’ custom developed exclusive fabrics. The brand showed impressive foresight and flexibility when, at the onset of the Covid pandemic, it launched a wide loungewear range.

Key Takeaways

Skims was off to a strong start with an iconic celebrity founder, an inclusive and solutions-forward brand concept, and strong product, but it is the brand’s approach to digital communication that is the largest factor in its success. By timing its production and releases to rapid-fire social media cycles, Skims has hit on a high-velocity creative rhythm that generates anticipatory hype – further stoked by strong visual content and engaging conversations – and keeps fans constantly coming back while drawing in new ones.