Loose Threads Podcast
One of Fast Company's 10 Best Business Podcasts
The Loose Threads Podcast explores the new consumer econcomy. 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.
On the 42nd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the rapidly changing consumer economy, I talk with Kyle Hency, a co-founder of Chubbies, a brand that started bringing back the short short that’s now trying to own the weekend. Kyle started the brand with three friends from Stanford, after admiring the short shorts their dads were wearing in the 80s.
On the 41st episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce, I talk with Andres Modak, a co-founder of Snowe, a company reinventing home essentials at a more affordable price point. Andreas and his co-founder and wife Rachel started the company after realizing the fragmentation and expense of setting up a home from scratch. There was little brand recognition, tons of discoverability problems, and it was easy to break the bank.
Moshe Laniado got into the swimsuit business to earn a little beer money. Eight years later, Laniado is the founder of Swimsuits for All, a company that focuses on swimwear for women of all different sizes. He discussed his company’s unique marketing campaign and business growth on the 40th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.
Jeff Johnson specializes in outerwear, but 2017 will see The Arrivals co-founder tackle a sometimes-intimidating frontier for online-first brands. The offline world. Johnson talked about the direction of his brand and how an architectural background informs his career in fashion on the 39th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. Alongside co-founder Kal Vepuri, already a successful investor, Johnson began developing The Arrivals in late 2013.
Eric Varady wants to make glasses for everyone. It doesn’t sound like such a grand idea, until you realize—as Varady did—that eyewear stores have spent years making glasses for people who aren’t real. “It’s kind of crazy that a store that might have 50 pairs of eyewear is somehow going to cater to anyone who walks in the door,” he said. “It’s kind of like stock eyewear is designed for some mythical person that doesn’t exist and never fits anyone correctly.”
Melissa Duren Conner is well versed in the language of PR, but one word she mentions more than almost any other is “learning.” “When we work with a brand it’s a partnership,” she said. “There’s a trust level in our expertise and what we know, but then the things we don’t know and are learning from our clients everyday.” Duren Conner talked about navigating the world of startups and e-commerce and identifying brands with stories to tell on the 37th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.
Alexa Buckley won’t be joining the ranks of Mark Zuckerberg or Matt Damon. After all, she neglected the path of these Harvard dropouts and actually graduated from the school. However, Buckley turned down a corporate position just a few days after commencement and began to work on the shoe company Margaux with co-founder Sarah Pierson, which Buckley discussed on the 36th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.
In the confusing world of men’s underwear and socks, Brian Berger would like to be your guide. “It all came to a head when my wife threw out all of my tattered underwear and socks, and I had to go to a department store,” Berger said on the 35th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. “When the sales guy said to me ‘Are you confused yet?’ I realized now was really the time when I needed to do this.”
James Ingram is not in the restaurant business. But as the CEO of Splashlight, an innovative photography and video provider, Ingram talked about the importance of “setting the table” on 34th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. “When you think of what a creative really has to go through, the less they have to focus on all the logistics or basically setting the table…you allow the creative to relax and to focus,” Ingram said. “It’s an obscure thought to be a hospitality-driven business but it’s served us well.
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.