Lingerie Wars, Obesity and Bankruptcy, Slowly then Suddenly!

👠👙💸 I’m fascinated with this line “Gradually then suddenly”, from the article of Tim O’Reilly who uses it to describe technological change. It basically stresses that all sudden change – although it appears sudden – is often an accumulation of smaller events that were happening for many years. 

I like to think it’s applicable to most aspects of life, society and business. Think about getting obese. Gain just 2 kilo’s every year and after 10 years, you can’t run up the stairs anymore. Or pay more attention to your iPhone then your girlfriend. Do it long enough and she’ll dump your tweeting ass. 

For me it explains really well, that you have to keep paying attention to trends, habits and economic forces, that appear to be small –  but overtime can ensure a sudden change that you didn’t see coming. Take for example the #flyingshame trend or the slow rise of voice interfaces. Easy to dismiss now as fads – Alexa set the timer to 10 minutes -, but in a couple years can be big in unexpected ways. 

A great example on how this works in business is the rough weather lingerie company Victoria’s Secret appears to be in. Not a market that I would think is very dynamic, underwear is just underwear right.

For years Victoria’s Secret has been the leading company in the US lingerie market (worth $7 Billion in total). But a growing portion of woman is getting tired of trying to look like a ripped naughty housemaid with a rock hard sixpack. And are looking for more comfortable underwear and natural looks. 

Add to this the rise of more “body positive” underwear start-ups like ThirdLoveChroma and Adore Me who sell comfortable, inclusive and directly online to their clients. And all of a sudden your sales are falling and your closing shops left and right. 

Slowly. Then suddenly. 

PS: Good job ladies! If I were you, I would quit wearing those uncomfortable high heels too!