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Loose Threads Podcast
One of Fast Company's 10 Best Business Podcasts
The Loose Threads Podcast explores the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce. Hosted by Richie Siegel, the founder of Loose Threads, each episode features an in-depth conversation with one guest about their founding story and how it fits in to the current state of the industry. Guests come from all different backgrounds, spanning the consumer goods, fashion, retail and technology industries. The unifying thread is always the rapid change facing the industry and how entrepreneurs are responding. You can listen to the podcast on any player of your choice, in addition to on LooseThreads.com. View past and upcoming episodes below, where you can also submit questions to upcoming guests.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
On the 20th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Giancarlo Paternoster, the founder of Giancarlo Studio Furniture, a workshop that is pushing wood to the absolute limit. Studio Furniture, like Couture in the fashion world, is the highest possible form of art. Pieces are made in small, if not entirely unique, quantities, and are comprised of the best materials. Giancarlo and I grew up together and he’s ascended to the top of his craft in a rapidly short amount of time. He’s driven to excel past any inherent limits to produce work that few others would dare to see through.
On the 19th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, a company that has the point of view of a magazine, that changes like a gallery and sells things like a store. Story is headquartered in a 2000 sqft store in Chelsea, Manhattan, and runs themed installations that change every few months. These installations feature everything from experiences to products to talks and events, acting as a lab that is merging the best of offline retail with the benefits of online media and commerce.
On the 18th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Andrew Lipovsky, the founder of Eponym, a company that designs, manufactures and sells eyewear for a range of fashion and apparel brands. Luxottica is the omnipresent name in the eyewear space, which many know from the now infamous 60 Minutes special on the company’s dominance. But Eponym set out to build a vertical eyewear license focused on brands that the big guy ignored. It’s a really interesting story about new players entering an age-old space, and how the internet has opened up the surface area for competition no matter how big a company’s monopoly seems to be.
On the 17th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Amanda Curtis, a co-founder of Nineteenth Amendment. Her company is leveling the playing field for independent designers by streamlining everything from production to infrastructure. Emerging designers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to funding their business, securing competitive pricing for production, and integrating technology to help scale. Luckily, this is Nineteenth Amendment’s focus and the company has helped hundreds of designers grow.
On the 16th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, the founder of Fitz, a company that starts by helping people organize their closets. From there, it recommends new products and services and helps people donate and resell old clothing all while learning more and more about its customers.
On the 15th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Matt Orley, a co-founder of Orley, a knitwear brand based in New York City that Matt runs along with his wife Sam and his brother Alex. It’s less common for brands to start with knitwear, since it’s much harder to produce and often has a steeper learning curve than cut and sew garments. But Orley intentionally started this way, primarily because it allowed them to realize the brand with a limited number of pieces, and then grow from there. We had a great talk about the founding story of the brand, how its grown and evolved over the last five years, and how the internet and the direct to consumer market is changing everything.
On the 14th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Seph Skerritt, the founder of Proper Cloth, a company using tons of data and technology to make customized men's apparel affordable and accessible. Proper Cloth is one of those companies that has both the technical and creative chops needed to thrive today. My talk with Seph focused on the attention to data and detail that makes Proper Cloth what it is and the journey from what some considered a stupid idea to the ever expanding company that exists today. It was really cool to hear about the persistence across all aspects of the business that got Proper Cloth to its current state, and Seph’s determination to power through every new obstacle, be it technical, logistical or creative.
On the 13th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Stephen Ango, a co-founder of Lumi. Stephan’s company is simplifying the process of designing and producing all sorts of packaging, with a focus on digitally native brands. Packaging is what I would consider a visible yet invisible industries. It something people see everywhere but often know very little about. Stephen and I had an awesome talk about everything from the founding story behind Lumi to the company’s quest to be a packaging company that eventually sells less packaging. And it was great to dive into how Stephen’s design background informed Lumi as it exists today and how some parts of the industry that people find boring are sometimes the most interesting.
On the 12th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Steven Alan, the founder of his eponymous brand that started as a retail store in 1994 and grew into the international empire it is today. We had an awesome talk about how Steven got started; how he grew the brand over the last two decades, adding stores, a showroom and many different verticals along the way; how the his customers have evolved over time; how direct to consumer brands are changing the landscape; what is was like selling on Amazon in the early days of its fashion play; why the brand entered into the optical market; and how 2017 is the year of reinvention.
On the 11th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Vishaal Melwani, CEO and co-founder of Combatant Gentleman, about the brand's founding; how the team decided to build a suiting essentials brand meant to scale; how they incorporated technology into the company from the ground up; why they decided to vertically integrate to an extreme degree; how the brand approaches its own retail and relevant partnerships; how its products are priced affordably while still being produced ethnically; what opportunities are on the horizon for the brand; and what have been some of the most exciting parts of the journey to build a global apparel brand.
On the 10th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Garrett Leight, the founder of his eponymous optical brand. We had an awesome talk about the founding story of Garrett Leight; the path towards building a wholesale-first brand in a direct-to-consumer world; the process behind designing eye-ware; how the optical market has evolved; how the brand approached its initial distribution strategy; how the brand has stayed in tact as its scaled; the role retail plays for a wholesale-first brand; and Garret's predictions on the potential of Snap Spectacles.
On the 9th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Marc Bain, the fashion reporter at Quartz, about his path to covering the fashion industry, which included working for a fashion brand in New York; how he found his reporting beats and how the storylines often intersect; the similarities and differences between food and fashion; how the blockchain might impact the fashion industry; the current state of affairs in the fashion industry; how luxury brands will continue to scale globally; how luxury brands are approaching Amazon; how brands are handling sizing online; how Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) are approaching retail; and how malls are being revitalized.
On the 8th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Tull Price, the founder of FEIT. The episode covers the evolution of Tull's career that led him to start FEIT; why Tull is mostly interested in making the best products from the best materials over making money, bucking many trends that ushered in mass production and globalization; the process for building FEIT products and how it differs from a traditional footwear design process; why FEIT sells mostly direct to customers and the importance of retail stores; how FEIT has built immensely strong relationships with the craftsmen who make its products and why this is crucial for the brand's success; and where the name FEIT comes from.
On the seventh episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Abe Burmeister, one of the founders of Outlier, a New York label that set out to build the future of clothing. What started as a brand aimed as casual urbanists who used bicycles as their primary method of transportation has morphed into a highly experimental, technical and refined menswear label.
On the sixth episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Chris Morton, the founder of Lyst, the fashion platform that acts as a shopping street on the internet. We talked about how Lyst was started; where the fashion industry is going; the underutilized value of returns; where Amazon is taking over; the powers and pitfalls of in-store fulfillment; the opportunities for mixing data and human-driven curation; and what luxury brands need to do to build digital cultures.
On the 5th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Ben Alun-Jones, CEO and co-founder of UNMADE, a fascinating fashion tech company based in London. UNMADE is building a platform that brings legacy knitwear machines into the 21st century, and reimagining the supply chain along the way.
On the fourth episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Doug Hand of HBA, LLP about navigating the complexities of the fashion industry. We discussed Doug's journey to become a leading fashion lawyer; the reactivity of the law; how IP protection operates in the fashion industry and where to pick your IP battles; the balance between speaking legalese and speaking creatively; the funny occurrence of designers losing the rights to their own name when they depart a namesake brand; and the looming environmental issues the fashion industry is slowly coping with.
Nadia Boujarwah — Dia & Co
Dia&Co is a company bringing choice, quality and style to the plus size market, one that is traditionally ignored and underserved. The company employs stylists and a subscription box model to give shoppers control over their outfits.
Evan Fript — Paul Evans
Paul Evants is a direct to consumer footwear company producing small batches of handmade luxury men’s footwear in Naples, Italy.
James Ingram — Splashlight
Splashlight is a leading visual content creation company with a unique combination of methodologies, creative services and turnkey technologies geared towards e-commerce and social media.
Brian Berger — Mack Weldon
Mack Weldon is reinventing men's basics. Smart design. Performance fabrics. Super easy customer experience.
Alexa Buckley — Margaux
Margaux makes modern shoes for the modern woman: Ballerina flats handcrafted of Italian leather, and designed for the perfect fit.
Jeff Johnson — The Arrivals
The Arrivals is an NYC based outerwear brand founded in the pursuit of balanced design, construction and functionality.
Andrés Modak — SNOWE
SNOWE creates the highest-quality home essentials, thoughtfully-designed for whatever life brings.
Moshe Laniado — Swimsuits For All
Swimsuits For All is an online retailer for women's swimwear, specializing in sizes 4 and up.
Eric Varady — Topology Eyewear
Topology Eyewear has reinvented made-to-measure eyewear for the modern age, and are making it available to everyone.
Dan Widmaier — Bolt Threads
Bolt Threads is harnessing proteins found in nature to create fibers and fabrics with both practical and revolutionary uses, starting with spider silk.