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How a company finances itself is often the biggest driver of its evolution, growth and possible failure. A bootstrapped brand, funded out-of-pocket intentionally or because of investor disinterest, is positioned for more sustainable growth in the long term—not to mention that their founders retain greater autonomy over the brand’s growth and do not have to produce returns for investors in the expected seven to ten years. Lower funding also means more attainable valuations, which help brands retain optionality for scaling purposes and makes them attractive acquisitions down the line. On the flip side, brands that have raised a large amount of capital—from Harry’s $475 million to the Honest Company’s $503 million—are forced down alternate suboptimal paths and often considered unappealing acquirees. Case studies include Dollar Shave Club, Goop, Harry’s, Hims, Michael Kors, The Honest Company, Tuft & Needle and Vineyard Vines.

Fast or Frivolous 2018 is both a follow-up to our flagship report—a continued exploration of what 19 of the brands featured last year and others have faced over the course of 2018—and now an ongoing annual survey of the consumer brand landscape. This section accompanies:

See the Insight Collection to glean more lessons from 2018’s consumer developments and how 19 brands navigated these changes.

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