There are not many businesses which started in 2012 and ten years later have sales north of $10b. Even fewer with valuations of $15b, and fewer still exporting to over 220 countries.

Amber Turner models Shein
Amber Turner wearing Shein

Maybe you hadn’t heard of Shein? Neither had I until a few days ago.

Nothing is normal these days, least of all in the world of fast-fashion. In May ’21 Shein was the top shopping app on Android and Apple in the US. Want a T-shirt, blouse, denim or beachwear? Look no further. Almost everything is priced below $10. 

The core target is female, mobile Gen-Z, a demographic with high purchase frequency. It’s also a demographic fully attuned to buying online.

The pandemic certainly helped Shein. Sales doubled in 2020 as shoppers were restricted from malls and the high street.

Based in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Shein’s USP is a 3 day design to production lead time, fully integrated supply chain and not surprisingly advanced AI. They’re also pretty hot at marketing with a strong of celebrity endorsers from Carla Moreau to Amber Turner.

The snappy supply chain allows Shein to adapt to local tastes, like these dresses promoted in the Middle East over Ramadan.

Shein middle east Ramadan collection

Will Shein keep up its punishing pace? Only time will tell but the folks at Amazon are certainly watching closely.