The Grinds: Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, Masse monetizes moms, Peloton threatens SoulCycle, Wayfair acquires new customers

Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, bringing the shoppability of Instagram offline. What happened Facebook will debut pop-ups at nine Macy’s department stores for the holiday season. In operation until February 2019, the pop-ups will feature more…


Artistic License — with Tze Chun of Uprise Art

#95. Uprise Art revolutionizes art collecting and discovery for the digital age. We talk with founder Tze Chun about how she built an online-first gallery that connects emerging artists with collectors. The Loose Threads Podcast features in-depth…


What’s the goal of CDG, Comme des Garçons first D2C brand?

Last week Comme des Garçons launched CDGCDGCDG.com, the ecommerce site for its first direct-to-consumer-only label CDG. (When the brand was first announced, it was called CDGCDGCDG, now shortened to CDG.) Comme built itself as an 17-label brand…


The Grinds: Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance, Dollar stores look to urban markets for expansion, Influencers become investors, Glossier opens flagship

Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance in an attempt to differentiate from other digital-first men’s health brands. What happened Dollar Shave Club, the direct-to-consumer subscription razor brand founded in 2011, is expanding to a new category:…


Global Roots — with Carmen Tal of Moroccanoil

#94. Moroccanoil took a single product and gave it a global footprint. We talk with co-founder Carmen Tal about how she popularized oil-based hair care through traditional distribution methods after making a discovery of her own. The Loose Threads…


The Grinds: Sweetgreen aims for $1 billion valuation; Shopify courts larger vendors; Banana Republic launches Cos Bar shop-in-shop; End Clothing, The Line invent the new department store

Sweetgreen aims to become a $1 billion salad empire, but will have to scale sustainably to maintain its image. What happened Sweetgreen, the fast-casual salad chain founded in 2007, has grown to approximately 90 locations across California,…


The Grinds: Pinterest strives to make pins more shoppable, Sunday Riley receives criticism for fake reviews, RSE Ventures is creating an empire, Patagonia gets political

Pinterest strives to make pins more shoppable, and its advertising business more profitable. What happened Pinterest users that click on a home- or style-related pin—that is, an image with a description and link to the original online source, the…


The Grinds: Harry’s debuts women’s razor brand, Shopify embraces customer service—for vendors, Walmart acquires Bare Necessities, Sephora extends the Museum of Ice Cream’s lifeline

Harry’s debuts women’s razor brand, Flamingo, in the quest to diversify its holding company and cater to female customers. What happened Harry’s, the direct-to-consumer subscription disposable razor brand that launched in 2011, debuted a women’s…


The Grinds: Walgreens partners with Birchbox, Grocery stores rethink their blueprints, Rotarity merges the rental model with streetwear, Netflix purchases studio

Walgreens refreshes its beauty aisle with Birchbox partnership, but it’s not the only mass retailer to embrace cosmetics. What happened Walgreens is launching a pilot partnership program with the online subscription beauty service Birchbox both…


PrimeTime: Amazon 4-star opens, AmazonBasics introduces private-label mattress, Amazon drives and takes advantage of growing smart speaker market, Amazon-native beauty brands are top performers

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon has expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint once again with Amazon 4-star, a physical store in New York City that features top-selling, new or trending products on its site. The store…


The Grinds: Brands diversify ad spend; Nordstrom launches influencer-driven, private-label brand; Gap will debut men’s activewear brand; Bumble goes into beauty

Billboards, stickers and other non-traditional ads grow in popularity as more brands diversify. What happened “Out of home” advertising—billboards, ads on public transportation and in other public venues like sports stadiums—now comprise 7% of…


Glossy: ‘A warning sign’: Why Henri Bendel lost its way in the changing retail world

Press commentary on the closure of legacy retailer Henri Bendel.


Reviewing Rimowa’s Revitalization

The origins of Rimowa, the luxury luggage brand, trace back to 1889 when the company was called Görtz & Morszeck after its two founders. The name Rimowa came about at the turn of the century and has held ever since. The brand debuted its signature…


Kylie Cosmetics’ shift to Ulta and the online-only growth ceiling

There’s no mystery as to why Ulta wants to sell Kylie’s products. She created one of the fastest growing beauty brands with very wide appeal and exposure, and her products sit at an accessible price point, aligning with Ulta’s audience. The deal…


The Grinds: Starbucks attempts to win over Italy, Ritual fails to live up to transparency claims, Mattel launches film division, Instagram may launch a separate shopping app

Starbucks attempts to win over Italy, opening a roastery in Milan. What happened Thirty-five years ago—long before becoming Starbucks’ CEO—Howard Schultz, then a marketing director for the brand, visited Milan and returned transfixed by the idea of…


Roasted — with Kara Cohen of Dripkit

#86. Dripkit makes artisan drip coffee that's accessible both at home and on the go. We talk with co-founder Kara Cohen about how her company is filling the void between instant coffee and retail coffee without sacrificing quality for convenience.…


“The product speaks for itself”

The idea of a product speaking for itself—and The Row following this creed—falls apart upon closer inspection. The purest form of letting “clothes speak for themselves” would be to just put the clothes on a rack on the street in Soho and let them…


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…


Playbook: 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…