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How unspun delivers bespoke denim with automation

By Hannah Herman · April 18, 2022
Unspun's CTA Kevin Kevin Martin in the company's office.

Unspun is a clothing brand that manufactures custom-designed jeans, on-demand. Their goal is to disrupt the waste cycle in the apparel industry, where clothing is produced in bulk, shipped to stores, and then—if it doesn't sell—hauled away and often burned. It's such a revolutionary concept, in fact, that TIME named unspun one of the coolest inventions of 2021.

"We want to show that it's possible to produce only when it's necessary—and wrap it in a really cool customer experience," says co-founder and CTO Kevin Martin. 

With its emphasis on a high-touch, personalized customer experience, unspun may seem an unlikely company to champion automation. But they've found that automating processes allows them to devote more time and energy to the personal touches that delight their customers.

Personalized denim, delivered

Every single pair of jeans that unspun crafts is bespoke—made-to-measure for the person who ordered them. No two pairs are ever the same.

"We have no standard sizes. On the inside of the jeans when you get them, it says 'size' and then your name," says Kevin. "We actually don't even have a men's or women's category. We just make jeans for people."

To create this bespoke customer experience, unspun leverages Apple's FaceID depth-sensor technology, which gives customers the ability to capture a 3D body scan from home and submit those measurements to unspun from their phones. And when customers communicate with the unspun team, they talk to real designers and denim experts like Tori and Frank. 

"We've really tried to make the experience feel incredibly personal," Kevin says. 

Scaling the unscalable

From the beginning, Kevin and his co-founders Beth Esponette and Walden Lam knew they would need to connect a lot of tools and workflows to create and scale such a personalized customer experience. 

"We needed to automate this process that feels unique, one-to-one, personal, and not scalable—and do that at scale," he recalls. "Part of our innovation is that the manufacturing world and the customer-facing world have been very different. They didn't interact. How do you connect the buy button with a factory moving?"

The solution came from a seemingly unexpected source: automation. 

Powering a bespoke experience on the back end

With Zapier, the unspun team can consistently deliver that seamless, personalized customer experience. From getting measurements and purchasing a product to moving information to the fit engine, creating an order in the tracking system, and adding things to a spreadsheet—Zapier keeps every step of the process moving. 

Whenever a customer fills out a form on the unspun website, sends the team an email, or starts a live chat, for example, Zapier sends custom notifications to the right team members. These notifications mean that customers can get one-on-one attention, fast—without ever falling through the cracks.

Unspun's order management and feedback processes also run on Zapier. When a customer places an order in Shopify or pays through PayPal, Zapier adds events to calendars, tasks to Asana, details in Notion, and data to Excel, so the unspun team can fulfill the order. And when customers offer their thoughts through unspun's customer feedback form, Zapier manages a combination of internal tracking and notifications while also advancing communication with the customer. 

Building—and maintaining—customer excitement

But Zapier does more than just make life easier for the unspun team; it also helps unspun deliver the highly personalized experience that's key to the brand.

"We talk a lot about this excitement graph. People get really excited when they buy, then it dwindles over time while they wait, and then they get their jeans and it spikes up," says Kevin. 

"With Zapier, we're adding more peak excitement moments, and making sure customers feel like they're really connected to us during those times."

For example, Zapier gives customers insight into every step of the creation of their jeans through automated notifications. They know the moment their jeans go into production, when they come off the production floor, and when they've shipped. 

Then, a few days after the jeans arrive, customers hear from the unspun team with reminders on how to break the jeans in, asking how things feel, and reminding them that if they aren't completely happy yet, unspun always covers adjustments for free.

"At each of those points, we're both trying to blow people's minds with how incredible custom jeans feel when you try them on the first time, but also with how unique and personal an experience the process of having them made is," Kevin notes. And without Zapier, these moments wouldn't happen. 

Automation for everyone

We've instilled into the whole team that if you're doing something repetitive, there's probably a Zap for that

Kevin Martin, co-founder and CTO of unspun

Today, Zapier is a core part of unspun's internal philosophy. Since May 2020, the company has automated over 100,000 tasks. And while Kevin is in charge of everything tech at unspun, everyone on the team knows automation is available to them.

"We'll have a fashion grad that helps produce pants with zero software background. They're focused on the actual design," he said. "But they're looking for efficiencies in their process and will reach out asking for help setting up an automated workflow that will save them time."

To Kevin, automation means that everyone at unspun has more time to devote to the personalized experience that sets them apart from other clothing companies.

"We've instilled into the whole team that if you're doing something repetitive, there's probably a Zap for that." 

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'