Pivoting the Pro Shop — with Nik Bando of Bogeybox

Pivoting the Pro Shop — with Nik Bando of Bogeybox

There are a few different places you could kick off the Bogeybox story. Sure, it makes sense to start on the golf course, where founder Nik Bando fell in love with a sport closely associated with fashion, even though it doesn’t require a specific uniform. But a more appropriate place might be under Bando’s desk at the marketing and advertising firm where he worked in 2015. It was here, Bando explained on the 33rd episode of the Loose Threads podcast, that his subscription box service for golfers began.

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Reinventing Plus Size from the Ground Up — with Nadia Boujarwah of Dia&Co 

Reinventing Plus Size from the Ground Up — with Nadia Boujarwah of Dia&Co 

Nadia Boujarwah co-founded the styling service Dia&Co in 2014, but the idea for the company began with an experience Boujarwah had while growing up. "I have distinct and formative memories of what it felt like to shop in larger sizes. I think the plus-size industry overall has been anchored in a more mature customer for a long time. So shopping in that category as a young adult was particularly difficult,” she said. “What I realized was that I had has these experiences that felt so personal to me, but in reality, they were identical experiences [to] women around the world.”

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Could localized manufacturing be the solution to endless markdowns?

Could localized manufacturing be the solution to endless markdowns?

Today, two seemingly different questions are top of mind for many physical goods brands: 1) How do we end the catastrophic parade of endless sales and markdowns?; and 2) Is there a way to bring back domestic manufacturing in some capacity? But are these two questions linked? 

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Leather, Data and Grit — with Evan Fript of Paul Evans

Leather, Data and Grit — with Evan Fript of Paul Evans

For Evan Fript, creating Paul Evans was a carefully planned escape from the world of finance. Always doing capital markets-focused work and equity capital markets… I hated working in banking and finance,” Fript said on the 31st episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. "I saw the success of Bonobos, Warby Parker and the direct-to-consumer business model and started doing some research about the footwear industry.”

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Word of mouth without a network effect is not a competitive advantage

Word of mouth without a network effect is not a competitive advantage

In Building Bulletproof Brands, a Loose Threads series about how the internet destroyed traditional moats for physical goods brands but also created new ones, I wrote about how the power of word of mouth is not what many think. As new physical goods startups launch and raise money every week, many are keen to mention a company’s “unparalleled growth via word of mouth” or "IRL virality" as evidence that the company has some special sauce. Many also see word of mouth as a substitution for paid customer acquisition, at least early on.  

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Renting Out Your Underutilized Clothing — with Lona Alia of Style Lend

Renting Out Your Underutilized Clothing — with Lona Alia of Style Lend

After traveling to a base camp on the slopes of Mount Everest, Lona Alia had an epiphany about how the fundamentals of the fashion industry.  “I traveled with only one piece of luggage, which was very small, for four months,” Alia said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I was able to rent something in these places I went to because I was going from one climate to the next and one continent to the next.” A former model, Alia has spent a career immersed in the industry she’s now changing. She is now the founder of Style Lend, a peer-to-peer online marketplace for women to rent high-end clothing, which she discussed on the 30th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.

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Making Dumb Clothing Smart — with Janett Martinez of Loomia

Making Dumb Clothing Smart  — with Janett Martinez of Loomia

If you take the apparel industry and strip away all of the noise, you’ll find a company called Loomia trying reinvent the very foundation of how industry interacts with technology. And you’ll find Loomia CEO Janett Martinez detailing her vision for the future of clothing, which she discussed on the 29th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.

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An Umbrella Obsession — with Dave Kahng of Davek

An Umbrella Obsession — with Dave Kahng of Davek

“One simple motion, eight arms extend themselves synchronously, it’s a surprisingly complex mechanism.” David Kahng talks about umbrellas the way a scientist might talk about the advanced robotics of the Hubble space telescope. But this attention to detail and focus on engineering is exactly why Kahng co-founded Davek, a brand rethinking umbrellas from the ground up, which he discussed on the 28th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.

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Challenging Unrealistic Standards of Beauty — with Carrie Hammer

Challenging Unrealistic Standards of Beauty — with Carrie Hammer

When you listen to Carrie Hammer talk about everything that came before Role Models Not Runway Models, it’s easy to see why she known for so much more than just designing clothes. On the 27th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, Hammer talked about building her eponymous clothing line and how it led her to create a movement with larger and more socially conscious aims. It’s not a story that begins with her Forbes 30 Under 30 selection or a profile in Entrepreneur Magazine, but back when Hammer was a young woman disheartened with a career in advertising. 

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Building Bulletproof Brands — Part III: How networks and tokens could reshape the economics of physical goods brands

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part III: How networks and tokens could reshape the economics of physical goods brands

Part I of this series looked at the changing landscape of brand longevity and how the traditional formulas that used to make brands defensible are now obsolete. Part II proposed a new formula that harnesses networks as the only defensible moat for physical goods brands. Now, Part III looks at how brands can 1) use branded tokens and network-based incentives to grow; 2) how these mechanisms reshape customer acquisition and unit economics, and 3) what these changes mean for companies and investors.

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Rethinking the Purpose of a Store — with Alana Branston of Bulletin

Rethinking the Purpose of a Store — with Alana Branston of Bulletin

Alana Branston is the kind of person who believes retail isn’t dead. After all, she used to work in a toy store. But on Episode 26 of the Loose Threads Podcast, Branston talked about co-founding Bulletin, a start-up that is rethinking retail by providing emerging brands with turnkey storefronts and brick-and-mortar locations where they can reach audiences offline. 

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Building Bulletproof Brands — Part II: Networks are the strongest moats for consumer goods brands

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part II: Networks are the strongest moats for consumer goods brands

Part I explored how the internet fundamentally changed the playbook for building durable physical goods brands. Before the internet, mastering product, brand, distribution—signified as (product + brand + distribution)—was enough to make a brand defensible, specifically in the apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories and furniture space. Additionally, a small set of brands, usually in the luxury space, built their companies on (product + brand + distribution) x community. Companies that built communities are more defensible than ones that didn't, but keeping these communities intact and enviable is unscalable.

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Performance & Perspective — with Yehua Yang of Pivotte

Performance & Perspective — with Yehua Yang of Pivotte

The women behind Pivotte started their clothing company with a simple realization: Performance apparel that flies in the workplace doesn’t need to be exclusively for men. Pivotte is here to do more than just bring gender equality to fashion. But co-founder Yehua Yang, who spoke on the 25th episode of The Loose Threads Podcast, said that she and co-founder Evelyn Frison struggled to find outfits that complemented their active lifestyle. 

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Building Bulletproof Brands — Part I: Why don't brands last like they used to?

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part I: Why don't brands last like they used to?

How does one build a brand that lasts for centuries? Today, in the consumer goods space—specifically in apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories, and furniture—it's an especially challenging quandary given the ferocious speed at which Amazon and fast fashion giants like Zara and H&M are growing, while other legacy physical goods brands are struggling. The internet reorientated the playing field for brand durability and is now forcing both upstarts and incumbents to think about brand in an entirely new way.  
 

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When the Social Mission Comes First — with Olivia Wright of Rallier

When the Social Mission Comes First — with Olivia Wright of Rallier

Olivia Wright wants to bring social responsibility to contemporary fashion.It’s easier said than done, with companies like Toms allowing consumers to make philanthropic purchases at an inexpensive price point. But Wright’s mission has always been two-fold, and she spoke about the brand's journey on the 24th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. It all began while watching a movie. 

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The Cross Country Opportunity — with Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen + Main

The Cross Country Opportunity — with Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen + Main

Kevin Lavelle has gone into business with everyone from NFL stars to the country’s largest retailers, all on the strength of his fabric. For the 23rd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. the founder and CEO of menswear company Mizzen + Main discussed his clothing line’s revolutionary union of advanced performance fabrics with traditional men’s apparel. It has brought athletic wear into the workplace and it’s a story that begins with Lavelle getting laughed out of the building at his very first trade show.

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Dusting off the Luggage Industry — with Josh Udashkin of Raden

Dusting off the Luggage Industry — with Josh Udashkin of Raden

By his own admission, Josh Udashkin is not a samurai packer. The 33-year old Montreal native always checked a bag when traveling with footwear company Aldo, where Udashkin worked before founding the smart luggage company Raden in 2015. On the 22nd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, Udashkin talk about how the genesis for Raden came from something he noticed on the luggage carousel during business trips. “It was shocking not being able to recognize any products,” Udashkin said. “It’s something that bridges the function and fashion gap. I just [didn’t] see the next brand of the future for people of my generation.”

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Mickey Drexler and the death of a supply-driven world

Mickey Drexler and the death of a supply-driven world

J.Crew’s Mickey Drexler Confesses: I Underestimated How Tech Would Upend Retail read the headline of a big feature in the Wall Street Journal, which ricocheted around the retail and technology world last week. The piece highlighted J.Crew's struggles under Drexler's leadership, which has resulted in ten consecutive quarters of falling sales. Yet the struggles of J.Crew, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel and many others goes beyond the simple explanation that they missed the impact of technology or a specific trend.

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Improving the Loose Threads Podcast

Improving the Loose Threads Podcast

The Loose Threads Podcast is just over a year old. Since then, I've had over twenty amazing conversations with founders, journalists and writers about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce. What started off as an informal and infrequent experiment has turned into a professionally recorded and edited show that improves every week. 
But there's always more work to do. 

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An Unexpected Journey to the Source — with Matt Scanlan of Naadam Cashmere

An Unexpected Journey to the Source  — with Matt Scanlan of Naadam Cashmere

On the 21st episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Matt Scanlan, the founder of Naadam, a direct to consumer brand that is reinventing the cashmere supply chain. Matt started Naadam on a chance encounter in Mongolia, which led him down a rabbit hole of launching an NGO, then a cashmere yarn company, and finally the digitally-native business that Naadam is known for today. 

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