The short version
- Today we're launching a new company called Loose Threads Intel. Our membership gives you the ultimate toolkit to get ahead in the new consumer economy—going beyond the daily drumbeat of news, hype and noise. We take a liberal arts approach, analyzing the intersection of fashion, apparel, beauty, CPG and hospitality. For brands and retailers, we deliver the operational insights and market intelligence you need to drive long-lasting growth. For investors, we ensure you focus on what matters most, find the right deals, and give your portfolio companies the operating edge they need to reach their intended outcomes. Our single focus is helping you discover, digest and harness all of the chaos and uncertainty in the consumer economy so your business can reach its full potential. Learn more.
- We're launching a new newsletter called Ripcord. Every week it will highlight one timely and important insight about the new consumer economy. Sign up.
- We're expanding our team, looking for the best, brightest and most passionate thinkers to help build Loose Threads into a destination for leaders across these rapidly evolving industries. Learn more.
- Loose Threads and the Loose Threads Podcast aren't going anywhere. They're only getting better.
The longer version
The Loose Threads story begins in 2015 after I spent a year building a menswear line called Gioventu New York. When I started the brand with Charlie, my design partner, I had some business chops but little domain-specific expertise. When this happens, reading everything I can and rolling up my sleeves is the only way I know how to deepen my knowledge. But when I went looking for reading material, I found nothing that was relevant for building fashion brands in the modern age. There was little to read that was written after the internet transformed retail.
I had a feeling that I wasn't the only person looking for guidance. Over Gioventu's first year, Charlie and I talked to dozens of people who were in the early stages of building direct to consumer brands. As we ran around New York's Garment District, we learned some of the more painful lessons that everyone does when they're building a physical goods business. I wondered if we could help our peers mitigate some risk and save some money if they could avoid the same mistakes we did.
With this realization, I started the first version of Loose Threads in the summer of 2015. Charlie suggested the name. I spent $10 on a Wordpress site. While the goal was mostly karmic in nature, it was also therapeutic; we used it as a writing tool to think through our own business processes and look for improvements.
During the first six months of the blog's existence, I wrote a dozen playbooks about launching and scaling fashion brands, focusing on everything from sampling and production to ecommerce and cash flow management. Loose Threads started attracting a large audience of people who were in the early stages of building their brands. It was nice to see that our lessons were valuable to many people around the world.
At the beginning of 2016, it became clear that there were a number of topics—such as Amazon’s fashion ambitions, the explosion of direct to consumer brands, fast fashion’s dominance and the shifting retail landscape—that warranted a deeper level of analysis and understanding than they were receiving. My operational experience from running a menswear line created a practical lens that allowed me to bring some much-needed depth and nuance to an increasingly complex landscape.
Soon after this shift in focus, Loose Threads started attracting an audience of executives, founders and investors who were deeply engaged in the space. The blog took off, as my analysis kept improving and the discussions around it kept expanding. The focus also widened, from strictly fashion to the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce. An increasingly diverse set of leaders continued to tune in.
I was listening to a lot of podcasts in early 2016 and realized there was an opportunity to launch a podcast that harnessed the same ethos as my blog. There were founders and executives across the industry building fascinating companies, but there wasn't a space to let them tell their story in their own words, while also diving into the strategy behind their fast-growing businesses. Almost 40 episodes later, I'm proud to have turned the Loose Threads Podcast into an ever-expanding catalog of who's building the future of the consumer economy. Fast Company recently named it one of their 10 Great Business Podcasts. Each episode continues to lift the veil on the opportunities and challenges of building companies in these unpredictable but exciting times.
Around the time I started the podcast, I began spending my days running customer insights at a well-funded startup that helps brands and retailers reorient their businesses for the mobile age. I worked closely with the sales team, where we would go meet with companies of all different sizes, including multi million and billion dollar brands and retailers. As part of the job, I met with over 100 companies over the course of a year. I spoke with founders and executives about the opportunities and challenges they were dealing with on an ongoing basis.
Over the past year, I wrote two longform series on the blog: The Scale Series and Building Bulletproof Brands. The former focused on how brands scale successfully and unsuccessfully in the fashion industry, while the latter focused on how the internet has both destroyed the traditional competitive advantages of consumer goods brands while also creating new ones. These two series set me on the path to deeply understand the importance of prioritizing long-lasting growth for every player in the ecosystem.
As I talked to dozens of leaders on the podcast, met with them during the day, and studied the sector at night, it became increasingly clear that the consumer economy has changed more in the last fifteen years than in the previous century. The entire ecosystem—brands, retailers, investors, real estate developers, tech companies and vendors—needed a new vehicle that helped them navigate the future. A few months ago, I decided that this should be the next chapter of Loose Threads.
Our new company is Loose Threads Intel, which provides the strategic frameworks, actionable insights and peer-to-peer learning you need to drive long-lasting growth in the new consumer economy. For brands and retailers, we deliver operational insights and market intelligence to help you scale and survive. For investors, we help you focus on what matters most, find the right deals, and give your portfolio companies the operating edge they need to reach their intended outcomes.
Loose Threads Intel is not an intellectual quest. Our single focus is helping you discover, digest and harness all of the chaos and uncertainty in the consumer economy so your business can reach its full potential. We will be successful only by making our members even more successful, a challenge and opportunity we are beyond excited to take on.
Please reach out if you would like to work together. I look forward to hearing from you.