Power Suits — with Eleanor Turner of Argent

#72. Argent makes smart workwear for women. We talk with co-founder Eleanor Turner about creating function-driven and aesthetically-minded womenswear—traits that men’s clothing has prioritized for decades—and building a community that empowers…


Actors, like brands, rise and fall based on performance

As more businesses strive to be defensible, competitive and long-lasting, the vast majority nevertheless lose relevance, fall prey to better-managed copycats, or fail to evolve to meet changing consumer needs—evidence that a brand’s status is never…


The Grinds: Bulletin opens its third New York store, Aesop expands its retail footprint, Shopify moves offline, Walmart will sell Harry’s razors

1) Bulletin is opening its third New York store, continuing its quest to champion women in business. Bulletin, which began as an online magazine in 2014 featuring digitally-native women-led brands, will open its third flagship store in the historic…


Agency — with Tony King of King and Partners

#71. King & Partners is a creative and technology agency that works with leading brands. We talk with founder Tony King about his long career in helping brands embrace ecommerce and what it’s like working with a new crop of brands while maintaining…


Disney World: How Disney used entertainment and hospitality to build an ecosystem, both online and offline

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Kick, Push: Skateboarding’s missionaries and brands led with the sport’s core values, using products to develop a community and culture

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Digitized: Away and Goop aim to be digital-first “lifestyle brands,” but they are still just product companies

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


The Grinds: Instagram launches in-app payments, Sephora opens its second Studio, Online returns are hurting landlords, Birchbox sells a majority stake to one of its investors

Instagram launches in-app payments for select brands, which could substantially increase its share of commerce. What happened For the in-app payments, an extension of Facebook Payments, Instagram allows users to create a profile that includes their…


Culture drivers: A framework for brands that create culture

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Dear Fenty Beauty: One Thing I Would Do

Fenty sprung onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere—a brand built on inclusivity, with an unprecedentedly wide assortment of SKUs for people of all different skin colors. Filling this long-time void in the market, Rihanna and your team created one…


The Grinds: Instacart may suffer from Walmart-Amazon food wars, Meghan Markle takes influencer marketing offline, Brookfield Ventures invests in tech-driven startups, Kering adapts to a changing luxury industry

In Walmart and Amazon’s food wars, Instacart may be the collateral damage. What happened Walmart continues to rev up its grocery operations at home and abroad. This week, the company announced that it will merge its grocery chain Asda with…


Dear GREATS: One Thing I Would Do

While GREATS is very much a blank canvas, both in terms of the products and the brand, it’s less clear how this can serve new and existing customers—how they can make this blank canvas their own. Bridging this gap will help the brand grow in more…


The Grinds: Toy retailers seek gains from Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, Fraud-detecting services vet online shoppers, The Wing ushers in a new era of retail real estate, Beauty buffs and sneakerheads form social channels

Big toy retailers like Hasbro and Mattel and independent toy stores hope to gain market share from Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, but Amazon and its competitors may beat them to it. What happened In the wake of Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, toy manufacturers…


How to capitalize on the intersection of commerce and culture in an on-demand world

Despite the prowess of the experience economy, even the brands, retailers and real estate professionals involved in the music, entertainment and sports industries are up against vast changes affecting their foot traffic and sales. Paradoxically,…


Dear Entireworld: One Thing I Would Do

Building a traditional basics brand today is a somewhat futile quest, riddled with endless products and price deflation. The way to make it work, then, is to build a basics brand by not building a basics brand. The current manifestation of…


It takes decades to build a meaningful brand—and minutes to destroy it

In a previous edition of The Filter, we presented the concept that Brand and The Brand are two different entities. We defined Brand as “the accumulation of all of a company’s actions to make something meaningful and memorable” and we defined The…


Dear Glossier: One Thing I Would Do

In relationship terms, if most brands are parents, their customers are children—a relationship that, at its core, is one-sided. Glossier has cultivated a brand-customer relationship more like that of two friends on equal footing—a dialogue. The…


How to Navigate the Off-Price Epidemic

As the off-price market continues to grow despite the improving economy, many brands and retailers are falling into a trap, selling more off-price products to compete in the consumer economy, and lowering their margins in the process. This Playbook,…


Dear Goop: One Thing I Would Do

Goop sits among a special class of brands that have used the celebrity and values of their founders—authenticity, honesty, humility and a dose of luxury—to cultivate a passionate audience. What smartly started as a media play is evolving into a…


The difference between Brand and The Brand, and why neither are defensible

“The brand is defensible” is a phrase increasingly muttered across the consumer landscape. The challenge with a statement like this is that “brand” usually lacks a definition, further perpetuating an important misunderstanding: people are mixing up…


The uncertain road from a single product to lasting brand

A single-product company that desires to become a brand needs to diversify its products over time to maintain interest and evolve with the market. But few single-product based companies have been able to build lasting brands with a wide assortment…


Facebook is the ultimate middleman. Will brands cut it out?

“Cutting out the middleman” is a phrase thrown around endlessly across the consumer industry, often without much thought. Particularly catalyzed by the direct-to-consumer and digitally-native brand boom, the concept transformed from a boring…


Feet First — with Alexa Buckley of Margaux

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…


Back to Basics — with Brian Berger of Mack Weldon

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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


Pushing Wood to the Absolute Limit — with Giancarlo Paternoster of Giancarlo Studio Furniture

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.…


Saying a Lot with a Little — with Matt Orley of Orley

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…


Data and Details — with Seph Skerritt of Proper Cloth

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…


Getting Better, Not Just Bigger — with Steven Alan

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…


Focusing on the Rules of Business, Not the Glamour — with Vishaal Melwani of Combatant Gentlemen

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…


Pioneering Wholesale in a Direct to Consumer World — with Garrett Leight

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…


By Hand, Not by Machine — with Tull Price of FEIT

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…


Building the Future of Clothing and Unlocking Social Mobility — with Abe Burmeister of Outlier

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…