LA retail brand Entireworld survives during pandemic, but not without challenges

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Since the pandemic hit, many notable design empires have filed for bankruptcy, including the luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus and the affordable discount chain JCPenney. From high end to low end, designers and department stores are struggling to sell clothes to customers who are no longer going out.

But the brand Entireworld , focusing on basics, is selling out regularly. The LA-based line is capitalizing on the ethos of the pandemic: If you look good, you feel good.

“We didn’t pivot to the pandemic or anything. But yeah, the idea was to kind of make your nicest pair of sweatpants,” says Entireworld founder Scott Sternberg.

The company also sells directly to customers. "I wanted to create something that was a really wonderfully-made product with a lot of value in it. ... And not just sweatpants. We make everything. But kind of making easy clothes feel really covetable. And to do that in a way where the price would really align with what the product is, you have to go direct,” he says. 

Entireworld is focused on basics, including t-shirts, sweaters, sweatpants. They’re still making sales while other retail stores have shut down during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Entireworld.

But that doesn’t mean their future is a guaranteed success. The company has faced issues in the past few months, even with their direct-to-customer sales strategy. 

“Market uncertainty, that’s really scary when you have any business. And I think what’s really compelling about this pandemic, within the moment of it, of course it’s a complete shift in how we spend money. … But beyond the pandemic, it feels like there will be a shift in values. Consumer values, just how we go through life, and where we put our dollars,” says Sternberg.

He says sales are great, but his company is a young startup that’s working into a mass luxury price point. “We rely on investors, we rely on outside capital. And that dried up right at the beginning of the pandemic, at least hopefully temporarily. So I had to lay off some people as well. … Makes things more challenging.” 

He says the pandemic has made him focus on how to reach people digitally, and there’s a lot of opportunity there. 

“I think we’ll get back to it and soldier on, pandemic or otherwise,” Sternberg says.

— Written by Amy Ta, produced by Jenna Kagel