Glossy: How Kendra Scott became a $1 billion business built on direct retail

Press commentary on brands' navigation between wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels.


Ringleader — with Bouchra Ezzahraoui of AUrate

#84. AUrate is creating a new gold standard for accessible and direct-to-consumer fine jewelry. We talk with co-founder Bouchra Ezzahraoui about building an international supply chain that aims to change the way and frequency that women buy…


Nike, Disney and the shift to a direct-to-consumer business

While the emergency of direct-to-consumer brands has been well—if not overly—chronicled, people have paid less attention to wholesale-driven businesses shifting to direct-to-consumer. These changes are occurring across many industries, but consumer…


Is virality always in opposition to longevity?

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…


Glossy: How Nordstrom changed its merchandising strategy for the DTC brand era

Press commentary on partnerships between direct-to-consumer brands and traditional wholesale retailers.


Does Amazon understand customer experience more than most brands?

More than 50% of product searches now begin on Amazon. This week we wrote about how the company has won over consumers' wallets by prioritizing convenience and functionality over design—and what other brands should do about it.


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,…


Do DNVBs exist anymore? Revisiting the buzzword

Andy Dunn coined the term DNVB—digitally-native vertical brand—in 2016. The clearest possible reading of the addition of the word “vertical” is that it means “control,” akin to the idea of vertical integration, in which a company controls various…


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.…


Trading up or down: Ulta Beauty and Stitch Fix appeal to ever-growing consumer markets by giving customers a choice

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…


Trick or Treat — with Gabby Slome of Ollie

#74. Ollie delivers human-grade pet food straight to dog bowls. We talk with co-founder Gabby Slome about how she and her team created a nutritious alternative to the dog food already on the market and how the company is expanding to serve a growing…


The Grinds: JAB expands its food and beverage empire, The NFL and Nike team up with Fanatics, Tiffany & Co. revives its retail, SoulCycle makes U-turn from IPO

JAB expands its food and beverage empire with Pret a Manger while Nestlé sheds U.S. candy brands. What happened JAB Holding Company, which owns food and beverage brands including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Panera Bread Co., Keurig Green Mountain and…


Joy Bomb — with Natalie Mackey of Winky Lux

#73. Winky Lux is a quickly growing beauty brand built around accessible and fun products. We talk with co-founder Natalie Mackey, who started the company after realizing the mass market opportunity around drugstore-priced cosmetics that embody…


The Grinds: Comme des Garçons names direct-to-consumer brand, Walmart and eBay personalize shopping, Saks and Barneys strive to stay relevant, Target adds new digital beauty services

Comme des Garçons launches CDG, taking on a new challenge: direct-to-consumer ecommerce. What happened In the lead up to the launch of CDG in July, Comme des Garçons is launching CDG Breaking News this May as a capsule collection teaser. The CDG…


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…


Kidproof — with Rachel Blumenthal of Rockets of Awesome

#69. Rockets of Awesome creates modern children’s clothes, conveniently delivered to busy parents. We talk with Founder and CEO Rachel Blumenthal, who started the company after running a previous business that made mothers’ lives easier, and has…


Is Debt Divine or Disastrous?

While debt has proved problematic for bigger companies, it can also be a savior for smaller ones. In the direct-to-consumer horse race, brands are trying to scale faster than their competitors—most companies have turned to selling equity in exchange…


The Grinds: Walmart plans to redesign site, Click-to-buy morphs into click-to-buy-and-make, b8ta expands “retail as a service,” Domino’s delivers to customers en route

Walmart is making its website more sleek, but where does that leave Jet? What happened Walmart, which continues to devote more resources to its ecommerce operation, plans to debut a resigned website that spotlights its higher-end brands and…


Playbook: 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,…


Game-Day Retail: Inside the sports brands and venues that are providing the products and services fans already want

Today, a number of brands and retailers are entering the sports industry, disrupting long-term economic models to make it easier for fans to rep their team spirit. Rep the Squad, for example, is using a rental subscription model to provide fans…


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…


What can the direct-to-consumer explosion learn from the farm-to-table movement?

In the mid-2000s, the farm-to-table movement transformed the food industry. Though the food industry is often ahead of others because it sells products that people physically consume, the consumer goods space—fashion, apparel, beauty, CPG and…


Blazers of Glory — with Jack Carlson of Rowing Blazers

#63. Rowing Blazers brings all the quirks of a blazer to life, quickly growing into a Supreme-meets-Brooks Brothers lifestyle brand. We talk with Founder Jack Carlson, about how the company sprung out of his rowing career and his years-long quest to…


The Grinds: Target opens small-format stores, BuzzFeed adds new beauty and style vertical, JAB Holding Company conquers coffee, Glossier launches new pop-up

Target is the latest mass retailer to open small-format stores, whose focus on private label could help it provide even more differentiated products. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.  …


Playbook: 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,…


Basics brands are commodities. Why do people keep building them?

The hidden secret of most businesses is that the more boring the business, the better the business—the flashier, the worse. This heuristic is especially true in the consumer goods landscape, where brands run the hazard of seeking attention over…


Hyper-Value — with Ryan Babenzien of GREATS

#56. GREATS is the first digitally-native footwear brand that is hyper-focused on bringing extreme value to the sneaker market. We talk with Founder Ryan Babenzien about how GREATS has prioritized quality and simplicity and flourished into a booming…


The Gold Standard — with Karen Young of Oui Shave

#55. Oui Shave is a direct-to-consumer shaving brand for women. We talk with Founder Karen Young who started the company after she grew tired of using products built for men. Notably, Karen started with the product, working to bring the best…


From Down Under — with Jonathan Shokrian of MeUndies

On the 48th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce, I talk with Jonathan Shokrian, the founder of MeUndies, one of the early direct to consumer subscription brands that is injecting some…


Sleepless Nights — with Ariel Kaye of Parachute Home

On the 46th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce, I talk with Ariel Kaye, the founder of Parachute home, a direct to consumer brand bringing a new lifestyle to the home. Ariel founded…


Direct to consumer brands vs. commodities: who will prevail?

A few weeks ago, Dave Ambrose tweeted out the above image showing an Away suitcase and an Amazon Basics replica side-by-side. The Away bag costs $295 and the Amazon Basics one is $89.99. Away is one of the current darlings of the direct to consumer…


Angularity and Optionality — with Jeff Johnson of The Arrivals

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…


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…


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…


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…


Keys To The Closet — with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Fitz

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…


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…


Amazon is a catalyst, not a middleman, in a direct to consumer world

This May, Amazon is holding a summit for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, according to Bloomberg. The goal is to convince CPG brands to rethink everything from manufacturing to packaging for the ecommerce-driven world we live in. Producing…


At the whim of a buyer

People have been selling things since the beginning of time. A transaction between two people or businesses is nothing new. More recently, the nature, context and demands of the transaction have changed. Deals can be more complex, take longer, and…


“Cutting out the middleman”

If I had to pick one phrase that best sums up the current state of ecommerce startups, “cutting out the middleman” would be it. Almost no other phrase has been uttered so much while simultaneously being the founding pillar of so many soon-to-be…