2021's Top 10 Shopify Brands: Key Lessons
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. The Brand: Gymshark
  2. The Brand: Jeffree Star Cosmetics
  3. The Brand: Pela Case
  4. The Brand: Hi-Smile
  5. The Brand: Fashion Nova
  6. The Brand: MVMT
  7. The Brand: Hawkers
  8. The Brand: Allbirds
  9. The Brand: Leesa
  10. The Brand: Chubbies

When it comes to online retail, Shopify brands have taken center stage. They've transformed the way we shop, offering everything from trendy gym wear to eco-friendly phone cases. Each of these brands has a unique story behind their success. So, let's dive into the top 10 Shopify brands of 2021 and uncover the key lessons they have to offer.

The Brand: Gymshark

First up on our list of Shopify brands is Gymshark. This UK-based fitness apparel and accessories brand was started by a 19-year-old in his mom’s garage. Now, it's one of the leading players in its industry. What's the secret behind Gymshark's success? Here are some insights:

  • Unique product design: Gymshark's apparels are not just designed for comfort, but also for boosting performance. They've got a clear understanding of their customers' needs and design products accordingly. This has helped them stand out in the crowded fitness market.
  • Strong community: Gymshark has built a strong online community. They engage with their customers through fitness challenges, workout plans, and more. This has not only helped them retain customers but also attract new ones.
  • Effective use of influencer marketing: Gymshark has smartly leveraged social media influencers to promote their products. They've partnered with fitness trainers and athletes who share the same values as their brand. This has helped them reach a wider audience and increase their sales.

So, if you're starting your own Shopify brand, take a leaf out of Gymshark's book. Focus on understanding your customer's needs, build a strong community, and use effective marketing strategies. This will help you carve your own space in the market.

The Brand: Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Next up is Jeffree Star Cosmetics, a Shopify brand that has taken the cosmetics industry by storm. Known for their vibrant and high-quality products, this brand is a big hit among makeup enthusiasts. But, what sets them apart? Here are the key takeaways:

  • Uniqueness: Jeffree Star Cosmetics is known for its unique and bold colors. They dare to be different and that's what their customers love about them. They've created a niche for themselves in the cosmetics market.
  • Quality: Despite the bold colors and unique products, Jeffree Star Cosmetics never compromises on quality. Their products are vegan and cruelty-free, which is a big plus in today's eco-conscious world.
  • Authenticity: The brand's founder, Jeffree Star, is a well-known personality in the beauty industry. His authentic and transparent approach towards his brand has helped build trust with his audience.

So, what's the lesson here for budding Shopify brands? Be unique, focus on quality, and stay true to your brand. This will help you win over your customers and stand out in the market.

The Brand: Pela Case

Let's move on to another fascinating Shopify brand, Pela Case. This brand has managed to carve out a distinct niche in the phone accessories market. But how? Here are some of its key strategies:

  • Eco-friendliness: In a world increasingly concerned about the environment, Pela Case has established itself as a brand committed to sustainability. Their phone cases are 100% compostable — a unique selling point that attracts a lot of customers.
  • Problem-solving: Pela Case doesn't just sell phone cases; it sells solutions to a problem. By focusing on reducing plastic waste, they appeal to customers who are looking for ways to live more sustainably.
  • Community-building: Pela Case has built a strong community around their brand. They engage their followers on social media, share user-generated content, and often collaborate with influencers and other Shopify brands to increase their reach.

So, if you're planning to launch your own Shopify brand, take a page out of Pela Case's book. Focus on solving a problem, and build a community around your brand. And remember, in today's world, being eco-friendly can give you an edge over your competitors.

The Brand: Hi-Smile

Next on our list of top Shopify brands is Hi-Smile. This brand has taken the teeth whitening industry by storm. But what's their secret? Let's take a look:

  • Targeted marketing: Hi-Smile has done an excellent job of identifying its target audience and tailoring its marketing efforts accordingly. They've used social media to reach their young, image-conscious audience, with remarkable success.
  • Affordability: Teeth whitening can be an expensive process, but Hi-Smile has made it accessible to a wider audience. How? By offering a more affordable alternative to professional treatments, without compromising on quality.
  • Influencer partnerships: Hi-Smile has leveraged the power of influencer marketing to boost its brand awareness. They've partnered with celebrities and influencers who align with their brand, helping them reach millions of potential customers.

So, what can you learn from Hi-Smile's success? Understand your target market, make your product affordable without sacrificing quality, and don't be afraid to partner with influencers. These lessons can help you make your mark in the crowded marketplace of Shopify brands.

The Brand: Fashion Nova

When discussing Shopify brands that have made a splash, it's impossible to skip over Fashion Nova. This online clothing retailer has become a top choice for trendy, affordable fashion. Let's dissect their formula for success:

  • Fast-fashion model: Fashion Nova has used the fast-fashion model to its advantage. They quickly produce clothes that mirror the latest celebrity styles and trends, keeping their collection fresh and sought-after.
  • Wide range of sizes: One of the things that sets Fashion Nova apart from many other Shopify brands is their commitment to inclusivity. They offer a wide range of sizes, ensuring that everyone can find clothes that fit and flatter.
  • Effective use of social media: Fashion Nova is a brand that truly understands the power of social media. They use platforms like Instagram to showcase their latest collections, highlight customer reviews, and interact with their followers.

Here are your takeaways from Fashion Nova's playbook: Stay current with the latest trends, embrace inclusivity, and harness the power of social media. Implement these strategies, and you'll be well on your way to establishing a successful Shopify brand.

The Brand: MVMT

Next on our list of noteworthy Shopify brands is MVMT. This company revolutionized the watch industry with its direct-to-consumer model and minimalist designs. Let's break down what makes MVMT tick:

  • Quality Product: MVMT carved out a niche for itself by offering high-quality watches at an affordable price. This created a unique value proposition that set them apart from other Shopify brands in the watch industry.
  • Direct-to-Consumer: By selling directly to consumers, MVMT cuts out the middleman. This approach allows them to maintain control over their brand, customer experience, and, importantly, pricing.
  • Storytelling: MVMT isn't just selling watches; they're selling a lifestyle. With every product, they tell a story of ambition and adventure, which resonates with their target audience.

Here's what you can learn from MVMT: Prioritize product quality, consider a direct-to-consumer model, and don't underestimate the power of a compelling brand story. Incorporating these key lessons into your own business strategy could give your Shopify brand a significant boost.

The Brand: Hawkers

Switching lanes to eyewear, let's take a look at another standout Shopify brand: Hawkers. Known for their stylish sunglasses and disruptive marketing strategies, Hawkers is a brand that truly knows how to shine.

  • Disruptive Marketing: Hawkers made a name for themselves by challenging the status quo. They launched their brand with an aggressive social media campaign, proving that traditional advertising routes aren't the only way to make a splash.
  • Customer Engagement: Hawkers doesn't just sell to customers, they engage with them. They regularly interact with their audience on social media, creating a sense of community around their brand.
  • Product Variety: Offering a wide range of styles and designs, Hawkers ensures that there's something for everyone. This approach caters to a wider audience and increases the chances of repeat purchases.

So, what's the takeaway from Hawkers' success? Don't be afraid to break the mold with your marketing efforts, engage directly with your audience, and offer a wide array of products to appeal to a larger customer base. These strategies can help your Shopify brand reach new heights.

The Brand: Allbirds

Next on our list of top Shopify brands is Allbirds, a company that has taken the footwear industry by storm. Known for their eco-friendly shoes, Allbirds has found a unique niche that resonates with consumers worldwide.

  • Eco-friendly: Allbirds is committed to sustainability. Their shoes are made from natural materials, and they're always looking for new ways to reduce their environmental footprint. This commitment is not just good for the planet, it also distinguishes them from competitors.
  • Comfort and Style: Allbirds shoes are not just eco-friendly, they're also supremely comfortable and stylish. They've successfully combined form and function in a way that has earned them a loyal customer base.
  • Brand Storytelling: Allbirds excels in telling their brand story. They effectively communicate their mission and values, creating a strong emotional connection with their customers.

So what can we learn from Allbirds? Being environmentally conscious can set you apart from the competition. Consider ways to incorporate sustainability into your products or business practices. Also, never underestimate the power of a well-told brand story. It can forge a deep connection with your customers and elevate your Shopify brand to new levels.

The Brand: Leesa

Another remarkable example of successful Shopify brands is Leesa. This brand has completely transformed the mattress industry by offering high-quality, comfortable mattresses that are shipped right to your door.

  • Online-First Approach: Leesa has leveraged the power of online shopping to disrupt the traditional mattress industry. By selling primarily online, they have been able to reach a wider audience and simplify the mattress buying process.
  • Quality Products: Leesa's mattresses are designed for comfort and support, using layers of foam that adapt to your body. This commitment to quality has helped them build trust and loyalty among their customers.
  • Social Impact: Leesa is not just about selling mattresses. They also have a strong focus on giving back. For every ten mattresses sold, they donate one to a shelter. This commitment to social impact enhances their brand image and appeals to socially conscious consumers.

What lessons can we learn from Leesa? First, don't be afraid to challenge traditional business models. By choosing an online-first approach, Leesa was able to simplify the customer experience and reach a larger market. Second, quality matters. Make sure your product delivers on its promises. And finally, consider the impact your business can have beyond profits. Social responsibility can make your Shopify brand stand out and resonate with your customers on a deeper level.

The Brand: Chubbies

Finishing off our list of top Shopify brands is Chubbies, an apparel brand that has made a name for itself with its distinctive, fun, and vibrant shorts for men.

  • Niche Market: Chubbies identified a unique gap in the market — fun, comfortable shorts for men. This specificity allowed them to stand out in the crowded apparel market.
  • Brand Personality: Chubbies is loud, proud, and unapologetic about what they offer. They've created a consistent and appealing brand personality that resonates with their target audience.
  • Engaging Content: Chubbies knows how to engage its audience. Their use of humor, lively visuals, and relatable content across their social media platforms keeps their followers entertained and coming back for more.

What can we glean from Chubbies' success? It's clear that having a well-defined target market can really pay off. Also, don't underestimate the power of a strong, consistent brand personality. It's an effective way to connect with your customers and differentiate your Shopify brand. Lastly, engaging content is key. It's not simply about selling a product, but creating an enjoyable experience that keeps your audience engaged and eager to come back.

If you're inspired by the success of 2021's top Shopify brands and want to learn more about creating a strong brand identity, check out Karen Oldhoven's workshop, 'Create Your Brand Inside & Out.' This workshop will provide you with the necessary insights and tools to help you build a memorable and authentic brand that stands out in today's competitive market.