Drips and Drops — with Zak Normandin of Dirty Lemon

#96. Dirty Lemon quenches thirst with direct-to-consumer beverages. We talk with co-founder Zak Normandin about how the company uprooted the antiquated beverage industry to rapidly develop products and communicate with customers via text message.…


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:…


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…


Money Grows on Trees — with Eliza Blank of The Sill

#87. The Sill reimagines how younger generations can interact with plants, buy plants and keep plants alive. We talk with founder Eliza Blank about growing a modern-day gardening center both online and offline. The Loose Threads Podcast features…


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…


“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…


Going Viral: A cautionary tale for consumer brands

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…


Is there a formula for viral products?

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…


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…


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…


Location, location, location: How brands built on geographic scarcity irreproducibility are defensible in a digital 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…


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…


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…


Kardashian Kryptonite: From selling out to stocking products

When Kylie Jenner launched Kylie Lip Kits—her first beauty product—in 2015, she made only 15,000 units, which sold out in 20 minutes and grossed around $1 million. In June 2017, her sister Kim Kardashian launched KKW Beauty with one product: Contour…


Beyond marketing: How Bonobos, Lush, Sephora and Nike are attempting to ingrain inclusive values into their business models

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…


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…


Popped Collars: Ralph Lauren popularized an aspirational, preppy style, but falls short of representing a way of life

“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 Pop & Suki: One Thing I Would Do

When Pop & Suki launched in the fall of 2016, it entered a category where shoppers already had plenty of options. But your product releases took a different direction, prioritizing individuality and personalization, rather than cookie-cutter items,…


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,…


Dear Netflix: One Thing I Would Do

As you continue to produce show after show and movie after movie, with hundreds more in the pipeline, you have an emerging opportunity that will not only grow Netflix revenue, but also deepen the relationship between your service and its…