Case study
How the Community Helps Sell Premium Knitwear
The lack of resources for marketing unexpectedly led the German brand t7berlin to find an effective promotion strategy. It not only brings in revenue and helps secure investments but also aligns perfectly with an ethical business approach, emphasizing responsible consumption and environmental stewardship.
The Challenge
In November 2019, Larisa Pitkevich fulfilled her long-standing dream and launched her 3D knitwear brand, t7berlin, just two weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown in Germany led to everything being closed, and life seemed to come to a standstill. Larisa explains, "Germans, in general, don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes, and here was an unknown brand. We had no turnover at all."
T7berlin's knitwear is designed for everyday wear, regardless of fashion trends, with a focus on quality and comfort, providing a "second skin" feel and durability. The production process uses only high-quality wool from leading European manufacturers, and all dyes and detergents are as natural as possible. Models are produced in limited quantities to prevent overproduction.
Having worked in the fashion industry for many years, Larisa is well aware of the environmental impact of the business. The issue extends beyond air pollution, as clothing made from synthetic fibers contributes to environmental pollution with microplastics released during wear and washing. About a third of all microplastics in the world come from synthetic clothing.
In the European Union, 10.9 million tons of textile products are discarded, with clothing and footwear accounting for 48.2%. Jackets and sweaters are the most discarded items.

T7berlin offers a premium product meant to be used for many years. However, are consumers ready to pay the founders' asking price of 120-200 euros for quality and environmental consciousness?
The Solution
Despite receiving a grant from the German government, all the money went into product development and manufacturing, leaving nothing for marketing and advertising. The team decided to focus on social media and community development, choosing Instagram as their platform of choice. Professional models were too expensive, so they enlisted friends and acquaintances for photo shoots, turning it into a professional endeavor with makeup included.
This unexpected approach turned out not only to be cost-effective but also successful. Debutant models started sharing photos on their social media, attracting followers to the brand. Positive reviews of the clothing led to the first purchases.
After friends, it was time to involve customers in photo shoots. Larisa explains, "We didn't have strict selection criteria. The main thing was for the person to be pleasant, smile, and share the values of our brand."

Larisa Pitkevich in the role of her brand's model

Larisa herself often serves as a model for her brand: "People see me as the face of the brand, they know my story, how it is not easy to run a business. They have a more tender attitude."
Perhaps that's why the crowdfunding campaign tried by t7berlin received responses mainly from loyal participants who enthusiastically spread the word and contributed money.
Another successful community development idea was collaboration with other entrepreneurs building their Instagram pages. Two couples, owners of a café and a children's educational center, have already become models.
The Result
The Instagram project is developing without any investment. The company spends only 300 euros per month on retargeting to support sales. The media's interest in the brand's environmental focus and creativity has resulted in free coverage, bringing attention to the products. For example, after a significant feature in Tagesspiegel, the store sold out within two days. Investors also took notice after another publication.
Larisa believes that anything with its face, concept, and differentiation from other brands is of interest to the press. She trusts that the focus on conscious buyers will continue to be beneficial.

According to statistics, 15% of people, when purchasing groceries and household chemicals, choose products that meet environmental standards. By 2030, this figure is expected to grow by approximately 30%.