Supply And Demand Reigns Supreme

As I walk across campus, something catches my eye; a glossy red sticker, plastered on a glimmering silver water bottle. In bold, italicized lettering the sticker reads, "Supreme." This is not an uncommon occurrence, as I frequently notice various t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts that rep the label predominately. The brand's notoriety begs the question, "What is Supreme and why is it so popular?"


After researching this phenomenon, I discovered what I believe to be the driving force of Supreme's success. Plain and simple, It's "limited edition" business model has skyrocketed this small skate brand into worldwide recognition. As demand for product rises, value off the product increases. However, supply of the product never meets the current demand. For a good reason. Supreme never restocks sold out products. Once it's sold out, it's gone.

Supreme products have never before been sold in a big-box retailer, and are only purchasable online, or at six brick and mortar stores in various cities globally. This unattainable aspect adds significantly to the brand's allure.

Everyone wants something they can't have.

But don't worry if you miss out on the season restock, Supreme is constantly available for purchase on online resell websites. Although, the price is hefty. A basic white tee can sell for twice the amount originally intended.

Founded in 1994, the brand thrived as an underground skate shop, catering to the skate culture of the 90's. Over the past few years, Supreme's audience has widened to encompass a broad range of customers, including Instagram celebs, celebrity stylists, and social media influencers, alike.

Unlike other luxury brand, Supreme exclusively utilizes social media to market each upcoming collection. Founder James Jebbia, was initially hesitant to advertise the brand, fearing overexposure. Jebbia wanted to keep the brand under wraps and well hidden from mainstream outlets. 

Supreme's lack of traditional advertising and editorial campaign circulation hasn't halted it's upwards trajectory, in fact, it continues to drive up sales. Supreme's high profile and exclusivity have made it a hot commodity. The brand has garnered a huge following of teens and young adults who worship each collection religiously, eagerly anticipating the next launch. 

Throughout the years, Supreme has collaborated with various companies, releasing limited edition collections. Most recently, Supreme aligned with leading luxury brand, Louis Vuitton. As a result of the partnership, LV's revenue doubled, increasing by a whopping 23% in 2017.

Supreme's "limited edition" business model and memorable branding strategies have lead to wild popularity that spans generations. I look forward to seeing what is next from the brand. 

Emma Mannal