After years of rapid growth, men’s lifestyle retailer Touch of Modern was starting to plateau.

It was 2017, five years after its launch. Sale were stagnating and the business hadn’t yet become profitable.

Egon Smola, Touch of Modern CEO

Egon Smola, Touch of Modern CEO

And so, the retailer hired Egon Smola in 2017 as chief operating officer to mature the business. His goal was to make Touch of Modern financially self sufficient and to focus on a path toward profitability over growth, Smola says. Touch of Modern is a members-only men’s lifestyle and accessory products retailer. It launches 300 new products each day, which have limited quantities.

By the end of 2017, Touch of Modern achieved profitability and maintained profitability through 2018 and the men’s retailer currently is profitable, Smola says. He credits three initiatives to achieving profitability: rethinking its advertising mix, becoming a “better retailer” and careful cost control.

In addition to profitability, this also has helped the retailer return to a state of growth. Its Q4 2018 was the best in the company’s history, and allowed it to compensate for the decline in previous months, Smola says. For 2019, sales are growing a low double-digit percentage, Smola says. After two years as chief operating officer, Smola became CEO in September 2019.

Touch of Modern rethinks its advertising spend

For advertising spend throughout the years, Touch of Modern had focused exclusively on digital ads, such as social media and search. However, after it added direct response TV ads, it realized that that channel worked well for the brand, Smola says.

touch of modern 2Touch of Modern evaluates the return on investment with TV ads just like any digital marketing ads, such as search engine marketing, and compares the cost of the ad versus the results.

“We find the combination of online and offline has a sizeable halo affect and makes each performance better,” Smola says.

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