Playbook: How to approach virality as a consumer brand

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


What is the difference between popularity and virality?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Everyone is spending more on marketing than they admit

Some startups such as Casper, Harry’s and Hims have or are spending money on advertising like established holding companies such as Unilever, P&G, Nestle do. They plow a massive percent of operating expenses into marketing and sell equity to do so.…


Kiddie Cup — with Miki Berardelli of Kidbox

#82. Kidbox personalizes shopping for kids. We talk with CEO Miki Berardelli about how the company is improving kids’ and parents’ lives with its try-before-you-buy model, evolving offerings and social mission. The Loose Threads Podcast features…


The fallacy of ecommerce’s infinite shelf space

There is a common refrain that the beauty of ecommerce is the idea of infinite shelf space—that there can be an unlimited number of products for sale on the internet because there are no limits to the size of the shelf. This premise is one of the…


Netflix will soon sell a majority of its own creations. Will retailers follow suit?

Companies, like people, often experience FOMO—they want to be the opposite of what they are, and sometimes with good reason. One of the most interesting but under-the-radar inversions is between creators (brands or creatives) and distributors…


PrimeTime: Amazon sets record with Prime Day, expands advertising business; Whole Foods expands delivery service through Prime Now, Counterfeit brands hurt smaller vendors on Amazon, Best Buy differentiates itself with in-home advisors, Walmart plans to launch streaming service

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon now holds 49% of the ecommerce market, miles away from eBay’s 6.6% and Walmart’s 3.7%. The company exercised this muscle on July 16-17 for Prime Day, which saw 54% more sales in the first four…


Circle of Life — with Ariane Goldman of HATCH

#79. HATCH is a maternity brand that serves women before, during and after pregnancy. We talk with founder Ariane Goldman about creating apparel that celebrates fashion and comfort equally and how HATCH is forging a community for women in its retail…


Less is more: How companies are controlling supply while maximizing demand in a digital and physical world

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Real is Rare: Manufactured product scarcity in the diamond and luxury market

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Dear Comme des Garçons: One Thing I Would Do

Comme des Garçons has pioneered a new model of creation and ownership over the almost 50 years of its existence, fostering a thriving horizontal ecosystem of brands and retail stores. No other company has the breadth and the depth that Comme does,…


Organic Growth — with Holly McWhorter of PLANT Apothecary

#78. PLANT Apothecary is a fully organic skincare brand that has a big focus on environmental friendliness and bold design. We talk with co-founder Holly McWhorter about her research-minded process and how she’s scaling a company that nurtures her…


The Grinds: Nike debuts training pop-up, Rimowa tries out direct-to-consumer, YouTube reacts to IGTV, SoulCycle embraces media

Nike’s training pop-up gives customers the tools to “Just Do It.” What happened Nike Plus members and those with the Nike Training Club app can now visit a training pop-up in Los Angeles until mid-August and workout with professional athletes.…


Soft and Soulful — with Michelle Toney and Stephanie Cleary of Morrow Soft Goods

#77. Morrow Soft Goods makes luxury textiles and soft products for the home. We talk with co-founders Michelle Toney and Stephanie Cleary about building a brand that marries high-end materials with design that has a soul. The Loose Threads Podcast…


Money has flowed into digitally-native brands. When will it flow out?

As heavily-funded brands, Honest Company and Harry’s were once thought to be the new guard of digitally-native retail, along with many other companies that have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital. But what has become of…


PrimeTime: Amazon inks deal to stream the English Premier League, extends 10% Whole Foods discount for Prime members, rebrands its membership program, debuts the Fire TV Cube; Sears expands its auto partnership with Amazon; Mastercard seeks to integrate payment system into Google and Amazon voice assistants

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon inked a deal with the English Premier League, giving the platform exclusive rights to stream soccer on Prime Video. This means that, starting in 2019, UK-based Prime members can watch the 20…


Full Circle — with Jeff Denby of The Renewal Workshop

#75. The Renewal Workshop partners with apparel brands to recycle and resell surplus inventory and damaged products. We talk with co-founder Jeff Denby about building a circular business model, as well as the factory and the technology necessary to…


How to promote and indoctrinate inclusivity into your brand

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


The Grinds: Reformation inks wholesale deal with Nordstrom, H&M opens off-price store Afound, J.Crew plans a fall relaunch, Rent the Runway introduces maternity

Reformation expands its brick-and-mortar footprint with a new wholesale deal at Nordstrom. What happened Reformation, which sells eco-conscious clothing online and at its 11 stores, will sell at Nordstrom, both on the department store’s site and at…


Fenty Beauty versus Mattel: The difference between launching with inclusivity and adding it later

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Dear Away: One Thing I Would Do

Away has built an impressive toolkit to help today’s travelers, no matter where they’re going or how they’re getting there. Your mission to improve the travel experience and its innumerable encumbrances has sparked a new group of consumers who turn…


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

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…