The Fast or Frivolous 2018 Playbook: How to build a brand that stands the test of time

Fast or Frivolous? How consumer brands are evolving, accelerating and evaporating, our flagship report from 2017, charted the rapid changes—but also continuity—that the internet brought to the consumer economy. Pre-internet, the playbook…


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…


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…


Will the internet push consumer product margins to zero?

The internet opened the ecommerce floodgates, offering consumers exponentially more options. But with increased competition, retailers are attempting to gain market share in the short term by reducing prices—as their margins race toward zero.


PrimeTime: Amazon’s private-label apparel brands grow, but don’t sell, “Online Stores” business decelerates; Amazon launches new benefits for Business Prime, debuts two private-label home goods brands; Walmart opens tech-driven store to compete with Amazon

The latest news on everything Amazon   Apparel brands account for 88% of Amazon’s private labels, but only 1% of private-label sales, according to a report by Jungle Scout, an Amazon Product Finder and Research Tool. Largely womenswear,…


PrimeTime: Amazon expands brick-and-mortar footprint, erases Instacart branding at Whole Foods, receives criticism for its Vine program

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon now operates approximately 629 brick-and-mortar stores, which includes Amazon Books, Amazon Go, Whole Foods and Treasure Trucks. The Whole Foods acquisition alone added 480 retail locations to…


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: 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…


Altruistic commerce or commercial altruism? The benefits and limitations of philanthrocapitalism

In today’s hyper-globalized and -politicized world, more consumer product companies are seeking to align with initiatives that ameliorate society and the world, either at inception or later in their life cycle. Whether environmental sustainability,…


Marketing a social mission: The complexities of Nike and Citibank’s socially-minded campaigns

In today’s hyper-globalized and -politicized world, more consumer product companies are seeking to align with initiatives that ameliorate society and the world, either at inception or later in their life cycle. Whether environmental sustainability,…


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…


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.…


Grab Bag — with Melissa Mash of Dagne Dover

#81. Dagne Dover creates bags and accessories that stand the test of morning commutes, happy hours and overseas flights. We talk with co-founder and CEO Melissa Mash about building a brand—and a mentality—that doesn't compromise on performance or…


Singin’ in the Rain — with Jackie De Jesu of SHHHOWERCAP

#80. SHHHOWERCAP is not your grandma’s shower cap. We talk with founder Jackie De Jesu about reinventing an antiquated product for use both in and out of the shower—a cross between fashion-forward headwear and waterproof functionality. The Loose…


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…


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,…


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…


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…


Pillow Talk — with Ashley Merrill of Lunya

#76. Lunya makes luxury sleepwear that puts equal emphasis on function and aesthetics. We talk with founder Ashley Merrill about how her business is breathing new life into a frequently forgotten, but everyday apparel category. The Loose Threads…


All for one or one for all? How brands and retailers are embracing inclusivity

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…


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…


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…


The many sides to plus-size: Good American, Reformation and Dia & Co.’s attempts to reach an underserved market

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…


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…


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…


All-Inclusive — with Fran Dunaway of TomboyX

#70. TomboyX makes underwear and other essential products for everyone, regardless of gender, size, geography or economic status. We talk with Fran Dunaway, who founded the company with her partner Naomi after struggling to find a brand that spoke…


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…


Dear Reformation: One Thing I Would Do

It’s been exciting to watch Reformation’s rise, which has proved that high-quality, tasteful clothing can be made and marketed with sustainability at the forefront. Few companies can claim this, let alone at Reformation’s scale. But what comes next?…


PrimeTime: Amazon.com lockers at Whole Foods lead to more short-term grocery visits; Amazon may have its sights set on Toys R Us real estate; Executives leave Whole Foods; Whole Foods lays off regional marketing staff; Majority of Amazon shoppers don’t notice ads

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon.com lockers, which are installed at over 75 Whole Foods locations, allow Amazon customers to pick up their packages in a secure location. This leading to more short-term visits and impulse…


Dear Chubbies: One Thing I Would Do

Chubbies has, from the beginning, been all about the weekend. This focus has powered the brand’s success to date, creating a thriving cadre of men (and some women) who have strong and positive feelings about a company that makes short shorts. But as…


Playbook: How to Work With Celebrities and Their Brands

Collaborating and partnering with celebrities is one of the fastest-growing marketing tactics and can be a great way to jumpstart or rejuvenate a brand. But as with other tactics, its success depends on a brand’s ability to align this partnership…


Playbook: How to Build a Celebrity Brand

As more celebrities build their own brands, the ones that succeed solve real problems and play off of the founders’ DNA. There are a number of ways to approach building a celebrity brand, and this playbook puts forth recommendations and questions…


Dear Stitch Fix: One Thing I Would Do

Watching Stitch Fix scale, fueled by a modest amount of venture capital and a major dose of revenue, has been exciting—and rare. You’ve built a real business that merges the best of shopping, styling and personalization to solve actual customer…


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…


Courier: Emily Weiss: Glossier’s architect of content, community and commerce

Press commentary on Glossier's explosive growth in the beauty and cosmetics space. Read the full article.