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“I’m really excited that now, after three years in the industry we’re kind of coming to a point where Parade has become really ubiquitous: we’re celebrating one percent of the category; we’re celebrating a new [fund]raise that values Parade at $200 million,” Téllez told WWD. “This was an incredibly difficult category to break into,” but she added, “We built a really powerful foundation for growing the business on.”
That foundation includes $50 million of investor funds (Téllez declined to comment on the amount of the latest round); revenues that have grown by 200 percent, year-over-year; half a million customers; a new wholesale partnership with Urban Outfitters; the Femmy Awards’ “rising star award,” and a pop-up shop in New York City.
“We’ll always be about skin-contact clothes that are sparking self-expression,” Téllez said. “We call our product creative basics.” She also pointed out that Parade’s half million customers represent “one percent of our total audience in the U.S.”
“We’re really excited to now go omnichannel and kind of continue to acquire new customers; 80 percent of our customers are online,” she said, although she was tight-lipped about which retailers the brand is interested in partnering with.
Parade’s evolution might seem rapid — Téllez founded the brand online in 2019 — but it represents a larger shift in both the direct-to-consumer and intimate apparel industries as consumers increasingly rely on the internet to do their shopping.
In the lingerie world, innerwear start-ups from Kim Kardashian’s Skims and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty to ThirdLove and Sofia Vergara’s EBY brand have raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the space of a few years as they eagerly attempt to snag share from lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret.
At the same time, with the IPO market currently closed, a handful of digital innerwear darlings are rumored to be courting investors in the hopes of finding a buyer on the public market. Some brands, such as Lively, Cosabella, Organic Basics, Playful Promises and Spanx, have already found suitors. Blackstone bought a majority stake in Spanx in November 2021 for an undisclosed sum, valuing the shapewear brand at $1.2 billion.
In the case of Parade, Téllez told the crowd at this year’s Femmy Awards that she is excited to have landed “this incredible dream job.”
“I’m a first-generation Latina and I dropped out of school when I was 21, roughly three years ago to start Parade, really because I was so incredibly moved by the opportunity,” she said in her acceptance speech. “This category is the nexus of sex, gender, politics and style and I believe there was an opportunity to build a brand that celebrated women for who they are, today.”