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Case study: Heist

heist founder image

Who are Heist?

Toby Darbyshire founded Heist in late 2015 with the mission to build a better pair of tights for the millions of women wearing ill-fitting underwear every day. Today, Heist’s tights are regarded as some of the best in the market, and are available in different weights, waist styles and sizes – to fit any leg.

Where did it all start?

Over 12 months, the Heist team tested 196 sample tights with 67 women, before finally launching a signature design. Formulated with the help of a leading garment scientist, the tights have seamless waistbands, no gussets and use 5k spiral yarn to stay up without pinching, sagging or itching.

What’s the marketing approach?

Heist’s marketing strategy was initially digital-focused, concentrated on Facebook and Instagram. Increasingly the brand is embracing a more omnichannel approach, constantly experimenting to find new ways to expand its reach. Nowadays direct mail and OOH (across London transport) reinforce Heist’s digital marketing.

Heist product image

Tell us about customer relationships

As a Direct to Consumer company, customer service is key for Heist. The team proactively engages with customers to warn them when experiencing service problems such as late delivery. “We do that because, firstly it’s decent customer service, but also, Twitter is a pretty immediate feedback loop, so is Instagram, so is Trustpilot. There’s no hiding customer satisfaction, so we’re constantly checking all of these channels seeing where we’ve done something that doesn’t work and then trying to fix it”, explains Toby.

How is data used?

For Heist, one of the benefits of selling Direct to Consumer is the immediate feedback. The innovation team see a constant live feed of customer reviews, filtered by keywords and sentiment, that help make each batch cycle incrementally better than the last.

What is company culture like?

From the “Whatever you” advertising campaign to the company “objective to never objectify”, Heist’s commitment to inclusivity is refreshingly radical in the women’s underwear industry. Toby says: “For us, diversity isn’t so much a key value that we’re striving towards as much as a reflection of who we are as a group of people...

Tell us a fun fact

In 2017, Heist launched The Nude Project to capture the skin tones of women from around the world. Using images submitted by 100,000 women over two years, data scientists analysed Red-Green-Blue (RGB) codes to identify 1,000 unique skin tones. Heist’s garment designers then used Euclidian clustering to develop seven representative shades of nude to match any skin tone.


Our design process is structurally different to a traditional hierarchical brand, in that we do almost all of our development work with our customers.

Toby Darbyshire, Founder & CEO, Heist