Built around a strong aesthetic, purpose and community, everyday underwear brand Cou Cou is reimagining women's lingerie
Launched in summer 2021, Cou Cou was born from the realisation that there’s an immense gap between ‘sexy’ lingerie and daily, fast-fashion pants. Where men might have a drawer of premium Calvins, many women save one drawer for their lingerie and another for everyday underwear from the likes of M&S, Target, H&M or Amazon. “I just became aware of this dichotomy between our lingerie and our daily underwear and more importantly how that represented how I’ve always felt as a woman – which was needing to choose between either feeling beautiful or comfortable,” explains founder Rose Colcord.
“Our generation of women are looking for a brand that represents their values and who they are.”Rose Colcord - Founder, Cou Cou
Colcord set Cou Cou up as an alternative to the aesthetic and ethos of major underwear brands – many of whom are failing to cater to a generation of consumers that value conscious consumption, inclusivity and transparency, and are experiencing declining shares as a direct result. “Our generation of women are looking for a brand that represents their values and who they are, and not older brands that defined those toxic narratives - they simply aren’t resonating anymore,” she tells AUFI.
Cou Cou is one of a number of burgeoning brands, set up by young founders with a clear purpose, a strong aesthetic and an established social media presence. Colcord describes the business as a way of bringing people together around common values, and creating a platform to inspire them. As such, social media has been key for Cou Cou’s development and growth.
Rather than relying on digital marketing or paid ads, Colcord has prioritised the community on Instagram – a place she describes as “my canvas for painting the walls of Cou Cou”. Before the brand had even launched its first product, Colcord had built a natural following on the platform with a moodboard page of lifestyle images, quotes and book extracts. When the brand did enter the market, it had a ready-made online presence as well as a clear philosophy that Colcord credits with some of Cou Cou’s early success.
This hands-on approach from the founder has given the brand the kind of voice that legacy underwear brands would find challenging to replicate. “As much as [legacy underwear brands] are trying – which I really respect to some degree – you know their nature and who they are; It wasn’t born and it’s not being built from the needs of an authentic place,” she says.
“I think a big part of Cou Cou, and why it’s resonating, is because I know the Cou Cou girl best because I am her. It’s like just talking with friends.“I still do all the social media, all the newsletters, I still write every piece of writing you see on the website or social media. It’s still 100% coming from this one voice of mind behind the brand.
“If you as a founder have a strong vision for the brand and the brand voice then there’s no more important thing to do than make sure you’re communicating that.”
“That’s really important. I think sometimes founders think ‘I shouldn’t be doing the social media or I shouldn’t be doing the newsletters because they just think there are more important things to do but I think that, if you as a founder have a strong vision for the brand and the brand voice then there’s no more important thing to do than make sure you’re communicating that.
“With Cou Cou, as much as I’m now passionate about underwear, I always say it could have been candles, hair ties or something else, but the product came to symbolise a message, a philosophy, and a vision of the world that I felt wasn’t being shared as a possibility,” she continues. “It’s not just about the underwear or the intimates, it’s really about them being honest tools that inspire you to live your life in a certain way – so that when you choose your Cou Cous, you’re choosing a mindset, a philosophy and a way of being.”
The brand is now building community and inspiration beyond social media, with a number of in-person events – that Colcord says are critical in developing the business from a longevity standpoint – as well as Cou Cou Talks: a new content platform, focused on sharing the business’s philosophy. Her hope is that the discussion series brings people into the Cou Cou world, offering inspiration, food for thought and a deeper understanding of life as a woman.
“With Cou Cou, as much as I’m now passionate about underwear, I always say it could have been candles, hair ties or something else, but the product came to symbolise a message, a philosophy, and a vision of the world that I felt wasn’t being shared as a possibility.”
“Be really clear in your vision and your why, not just why for yourself but why for the world - why does the world need this?,” says Colcord. “It seems like a big question, but it’s really important to reflect on because that’s what’s going to inspire you on the days that it’s really hard. I’m so grateful and it’s been really amazing how Cou Cou has grown so quickly, it’s also a lot of work and commitment. There are days when you don’t enjoy it, but it’s the purpose for people other than yourself that is going to continue your passion.”
And her advice for fellow founders? Successful brands aren’t built off the back of perfection. “You can look at Cou Cou now and think, ‘It’s so consistent and the branding is so good’, but it’s evolved over time,” she explains. “I think people like seeing the evolution of a brand from one year to another, and seeing how it changes and is refined. Don’t worry about it being perfect; done is better than perfect.”