When Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah founded their women’s clothing and accessories company Cuyana, they chose not to sell their products on Amazon, one of the top apparel retailers in the U.S. Instead, they are using Instagram, as well as their own website, to drive sales. That strategy, the co-founders said, allows them to control how products are presented to customers from the moment they begin browsing online to when they receive a package.
Amazon accounts for about half of all ecommerce in the U.S. and offers merchants a chance to reach millions of potential customers for their products. It sold more than $9 billion of apparel and shoes in 2017, according to the research firm One Click Retail. But a growing number of apparel companies are bypassing Amazon, saying they find it easier to make their brands stand out on Instagram than on the retailer’s giant marketplace.