Observations of a bagaholic: 6 digital marketing tactics of start-up bag brands

From left to right: the Cuyana small structured tote bag, Unitude Bambi Crossbody Bag (Cream), and Dagne Dover Landon carryall

I have a confession to make – I have been obsessing over bags these days. I spent hours scrolling Instagram and Pinterest in search of the perfect work bag, one that would allow me to transition from a day-time job to the evening activities seamlessly. In the process, I came across several cool start-up bags brands that market their products very well. The following are five tactics that they use. So yes, I am broke now.


1. Co-create content with their fans

It is no surprise that these fashionable brands curate mind-blowingly-beautiful content on their website and social media pages. I, for one, have been drooling all over my phone. However, one thing that strikes me is how they managed to get numerous customers to publish posts and create a cult following on Instagram.

They do this by creating dedicated hashtags. For example, for Cuyana it’s #MyCuyana. For Unitude it’s #UnitudeStyle. They also incentivise high-quality posts by re-posting it on their own social media page and website.

It does take some effort to build up the momentum, but once done, it has a multiplier effect. Also, user-generated posts are an excellent reference for other potential customers as they can see the products without the marketing filters.

2. Engage influencers to gain credibility

One thing Cuyana does exceptionally well is partnering up with KOLs. The brand identifies influential customers in the market and invests in converting them into their brand advocates. This tactic allows the brand to gain an audience with a new segment and serves as social proof.

For example, Cuyana gifted Kelsey O’Brien, author of the popular blog Blondes & Bagels, a black classic structured tote when they saw her doing a review on their stone-coloured version. Kelsey went on to do a series of review videos on Cuyana, which I binge-watched as an avid fan of Cuyana. I ended up getting a tote bag myself.

3. Retarget customers who visited their websites on Facebook and Instagram

Most people, like me, aren’t ready to purchase a bag after they see and ad or visit your site. They usually take their sweet time and go through a process of deliberation.

Brands like Unitude and Bellroy retarget these customers by displaying Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads. By posting ads to people already considering purchasing the product, the conversion rate can dramatically increase. I, for one, succumbed to one of the Unitude ads, and bought the Chocolate Brown Bambi Crossbody bag.

4. Send reminders to customers with items in their shopping cart

People very often go shopping, add items to their cart, and then forget about it. Brands can target these customers by sending them reminders. They sometimes do it using a phased approach – after one day, after a week, and even the next month, with a promo code to go along with it. The eDM on the left is from Everlane to remind me about a backpack I have been eyeing.

The above is just one example of automated emails, which allow businesses to send targeted content to their customers, at the right time, according to the customer’s buying journey. Other examples include eDMs for onboarding, engagement, and conversion.

5. Launch a referral campaign

One of the best tactics in growth hacking, referral marketing creates a virtuous growth cycle with its trust factor, focused segmentation, and extensive reach.

Almost all brands I come across employ referral marketing. Here’s an example by Unitude. The brand offers an incentive to both the referrer and the referee. Once the referee takes up the offer, he or she will likely refer someone else for the discount, creating a network effect.

6. Provide exceptional customer service

Purchasing luxury goods online can be scary. For one thing, customers may have doubts about the business. Is it a legit business? For another, how can they be sure about the quality of a product when they have not seen it in person? Who can they talk to when there is no face-to-face customer service?

I also went through the same thought process. Nevertheless, I was thoroughly impressed by Unitude’s chatbot when I received their “thank-you-for-your-order” text on Facebook Messenger. Besides, I could track the order easily using Messenger. When I got worried over the shipping status, I texted customer service, who responded within a day. Of course, Unitude gave me a discount on my next purchase.

Another brand that offers exceptional customer service is Cuyana. A month ago, I bought their structured tote bag and embossed my initials on it. Unfortunately, while the bag was exquisite, Cuyana made a typo in the monogram. After a long wait for my shopping, I was pretty disappointed, and I emailed Cuyana about it. The brand apologised profusely, and eventually gave me sufficient merchandise credits to buy another bag, hassle-free. I went on and bought a few more items over and above the offered credits. Now, I would recommend the brand or the bag to anyone in a heartbeat.


All in all, while I did spend a fair amount of money and time scouring the internet for bags, I introduced a few marketing tactics – and a few lovely bags – to my repertoire. It’s a good deal. I hope you had as much fun as I did reading this article, and got something out of it.

#confessions-of-a-bagaholic #digitalmarketing #socialmarketing #growthhacking

2 thoughts on “Observations of a bagaholic: 6 digital marketing tactics of start-up bag brands

  1. The service of Cuyana and Unitude sounds great!!

    1. Yes, they are. Their bags too! Check them out.

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