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The Data Platform DTC Disruptors Need: Lessons From True Classic

The Data Platform DTC Disruptors Need: Lessons From True Classic


Launched in 2019, True Classic took a regular item of clothing and turned it into an ‘elevated basics’ line of products that in 4 short years have grossed over $250 million in revenue. As a DTC company owner, you might be looking for tips from True Classic’s playbook to reach even a sliver of their wild success. 

You’re in luck.

On April 10th, 2024, Triple Whale hosted the DTC event of the year in New York City! We had many amazing speakers at The Whalies, but one of our favorites had to be the self-proclaimed “partial Product Manager of Triple Whale”, Christina Springer Owen. 

Christina is the Director of Marketing Science & Analytics at True Classic, and she presented an informative talk about why setting your data strategy up for success will make everything about running a successful business easier.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the nuggets of wisdom Christina shared on The Whalies stage!

The Data Chaos DTC Business Owners Want to Avoid

Christina outlined how a poorly-managed data platform means executive decision makers can’t make the right decisions, because they don’t have access to the right information. As the company gets bigger and bigger, more and more integrations get pulled in, data is simply everywhere, and platforms aren’t talking to each other.

This Data Chaos erodes intellectual curiosity, and employees are penalized with the task of manually wrangling data if they want to answer any complex questions. The Data Chaos will also slowly erode your company culture, as everyone is frustrated and unmotivated.

The solution? A data platform that’s stable, agile, and lives in one logical location. First thing you must do is warehouse your own data. This step cannot be skipped. 

Then, you have to physically lock the Finance Team and Data Team together in a room until they are able to walk out with a common understanding and core alignment on what your KPIs are. Finally, you connect all of your reports, visualizations, and analyses to the same metrics layer across all teams. This will have a huge impact on your data strategy over time. 

About True Classic’s Data Strategy

True Classic built their own data warehouse, from the ground up. They take all of their source data from Shopify, Amazon, brick-and-mortar retail, and more, ingest it in Fivetran (an automated data pipeline tool) and store it in BigQuery.  

Next, True Classic created a data model with common logical tables (like Orders, Customers, etc), all based on common business logic. Since True Classic is highly-focused on profitability, the KPIs get right down to how profitable everything is. The Profit & Loss statement and visuals are all connected to that layer.

By creating this data stack in-house, True Classic has dashboards that are highly customizable. Every day, the question you’re going to ask about your business will be different. The only information you know is what you see on the screen. If your data stack is highly agile and stable, you’re able to build much more customizable visualizations. 

Three Key Pillars of a Stable Data Platform

  1. Centralization

All data sources are centralized into a single platform. KPI definitions are thoughtfully-defined, aligned, and pre-calculated. When data sources are centralized, you decide how your business defines KPIs - not your vendors. 

  1. Consistency

When data is centralized, it creates consistency. Since KPIs are pre-calculated, data will align accurately across all your reports. Changing a definition at the source changes it everywhere else, too. 

  1. Accessibility

In a stable data platform, data models are made widely available to every team member. This is the antidote to Data Chaos; it helps reclaim your team’s energy by lifting the mental load of constant skepticism. Intellectual curiosity is empowered again!  

Efficiency of a Stable Data Platform for Ecommerce

Once you ensure you have a stable data platform, the next step is to ensure you can efficiently pull information from it. To make a stable platform great, it needs to be flexible, agile, self-service, and fast. 


As disruptors, DTC business owners like True Classic are constantly pushing themselves to come up with new and better ways to solve the (often endless) problems that come with the territory. The data platform news to be able to keep up with new solutions. True Classic solves this by creating dashboards that can answer similar questions in many different ways.


Business strategists need the ability to answer highly-specialized questions quickly, and the best way to get this done is to have self-service tools. You can’t just lean on one or two data guys in the department to pull the answers for you - everyone on the team should have the ability to answer questions quickly and efficiently using self-service tools. Building pivotable dashboards is a great way to achieve this. 


Data needs to be ready with the answers even before you ask the questions. Real-time data is critical for daily decision making, and every year is a summary of 365 days of gametime decisions. A stable data platform needs to be equipped with the ability to gain quick insights! 

How Stability and Agility Enabled True Classic to Own Cyber Month

True Classic doesn’t just do Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM), they make it the biggest month of the year. In a typical year, they’re spending a lot of money on ads during this period, and they’re in the weeds every day looking for ways to improve things. So, this past Cyber Month, they went in with a completely different strategy. 

The goal was to make more profit somehow. They recalled a time when Meta went down (sorry, should have tossed in a trigger warning, here…) and dialed in to investigate what happened during the downtime. Since True Classic spends over 70% of their total ad spend on Meta, they were able to look at the period when Meta went dark to determine if the company is truly dependent on clickthrough from Meta ads or if there wasn’t really much of an impact. 

Comparing the sales performance of the previous two years, they discovered that nothing really happened to their revenue during that period, it stayed flat. So, naturally, they took a gamble.

They were spending quite a bit on the days before Cyber Week, but as BFCM started, they cut their spend by three quarters to see what would happen. The result? Contribution margin went through the roof, because they weren’t blowing a ton of money on advertising. They raked in millions more dollars in profit than they would have otherwise, and therefore scaled the revenue.

The only reason they were able to do this and be confident was because they had the data to back up the decision. They weren’t flying blind, they had the data available to ask relevant questions and make better decisions. 

This brings us to the last thing a great data platform can do: it can inspire cultural change. When answering questions like this is easy, intellectual curiosity will flourish in an organization. A lot of people skip this step altogether, but it’s one of the most critical decisions you can make. It can impact everything about your business and how you’re able to strategize, and it makes it possible to completely modify your BFCM plans while eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day. 

You might be thinking that you don’t have the same assets as a $250 million dollar brand like True Classic (and very few actually do). Well, if you can’t afford Christina, you can afford us. 

A Stable Data Platform Already Exists: Triple Whale

True Classic has been using Triple Whale for a few years now, but Christina has been using the new version of Triple Whale since December 2023; as of April 2024, she says that it works similarly to the system she built in-house. 

When Christina started working with Triple Whale “3.0”, it was integrating AI, chat, and forecasting logic, but we still needed to build the consolidated layer. We did that. 🫡

The new version of Triple Whale draws all of your integrations into one place, and creates the data consolidation required for a stable, fast, and agile data platform. And the better news is, it’s getting smarter every day. 

Curious? Sign up for our waitlist here.

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