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.


The Grinds: Disney and Muji launch immersive experiences, Aday grows “wear-testers” program, Peloton acquires Neurotic Media, WeWork debuts retail market

Disney brings Star Wars to Hollywood Studios and Muji opens more hotels, inviting visitors to live in their brands. What happened A little over a month after debuting Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios Park, Disney is bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s…


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…


Dear Triple Five Group: One Thing I Would Do

As Triple Five Group works toward the opening of American Dream Miami, you’re riding the success of your other mall properties, including Mall of America—a trailblazer in unifying theme parks with retail. Your new venture will be the biggest mall in…


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 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…


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…


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…


PrimeTime: Amazon is using 3D body scanning to collect data to grow its apparel business, halted its expansion in Seattle, added a children’s book subscription to Prime, launched a new private-label pet brand called Wag

The latest news on everything Amazon   As its apparel retail business grows, Amazon’s 3D body scanning department will collect data on how body size and shape changes over time. The company acquired a startup called Body Labs in 2017 that…


PrimeTime: Amazon will sell an Echo Dot for kids, raise its annual Prime membership fee, stream Thursday Night Football, double its credit line, sell Chico’s apparel; Amazon is attempting to win over HQ2 finalists and growing its retail business with profits from AWS and advertising; Private equity firms want to consolidate top Amazon sellers

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon will begin selling the Echo Dot Kids Edition in May 2018—a smaller device with a protective case, two-year warranty, and a year of the FreeTime Unlimited Family Plan, including child-oriented…


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,…


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…


Upgrades, Not Concessions: Inside the movie theaters rebranding their real estate and cinema experiences

Paradoxically, and despite the increasing relevance of experience-based consumerism, movie theaters are struggling in the face of the rising video streaming economy. Between 2016 and 2017, gross box office revenue declined from $11.38 billion to $11…


The Grinds: Nordstrom opens first standalone men’s store, LVMH launches luxury startup accelerator, Warby Parker must meet investors’ expectations, USV invests in livestream marketplace ShopShops

Nordstrom opens its first standalone men’s store, relying on data to cultivate its foray into New York City. What happened Nordstrom’s first standalone men’s store—and first store in New York—will open this Thursday in Manhattan. The store enters…


The Grinds: Build-A-Bear thrives—Toys R Us dies, Adore Me to open stores near Victoria’s Secret, New York City devises retail vacancy tax for landlords, Goop raises $50 million

Build-A-Bear thrives —Toys R Us dies. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Build-A-Bear has posted four consecutive years of profitability and remains debt free in an era when…


How to embed your company in the experience economy

As consumers increasingly spend on experiences, often at the expense of physical products, brands, retailers and real estate professionals must shift their priorities to stake out new relevance in this economy, whether they supplement an experience,…


Liveable Brands: Inside the companies that are entering the hospitality industry

Though many brands boast to be “lifestyle brands,” few are accomplishing the feat as successfully as the those taking on the hospitality industry. With their strong brand identities, West Elm, a furniture and home goods brand, and Equinox, a luxury…


Captive Retail: Inside the cruises and theme parks that are evolving retail to drive sales

As both destinations and experiences, Disney’s theme parks and cruise companies such as Starboard Cruise Services are focusing on experience-oriented retail. These companies often utilize radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands, which house…


Baggage Claim: Inside the airports and private aviation companies making air travel a shoppable and personalized event

Airports boast some of the most high density foot traffic each day—in 2017, an average of 213,668 flyers passed through London Heathrow each day, totalling 78 million over the course of the year. As mall foot traffic decreases, brands and retailers…


In Transit(ion): Inside the consumer brands that are capitalizing on the travel industry

As the experience economy grows—the travel and tourism industry now comprises one-tenth of global GDP—brands that sell travel-specific products are re-orienting themselves to be more than just consumer goods vendors. Whether a brand is building a…


The Grinds: Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté, Nordstrom family ends buyout effort, ThredUp wants to create a consignment ecosystem, Google launches new advertising program online with its AI assistant

Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté—a coveted and surprising addition to the beauty retailer that mixes high and low. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Ulta Beauty,…


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…


The Grinds: Best Buy, other retailers crack down on returns, Duty-free airport retail thrives, ASOS stands out with its product descriptions, West Elm sells experiences with local artists

Best Buy and other retailers are cracking down on the number and frequency of returns, but are risking their customer relationships. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Best…


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.  …


The Grinds: JCPenney leverages Sephora, Stitch Fix adapts its subscription model, Best Buy closes mobile phone stores, BuzzFeed and Walmart launch a product collaboration, Amazon warehouses embrace chaos

JCPenney continues to leverage Sephora for its turnaround efforts, but the minimal amount of control it has over its biggest growth driver is worrisome. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What…


The Grinds: Fast-fashion full-price sales fall, Amazon expands Amazon Go, Younique raises Coty’s profitability, Adidas’ Speedfactory innovates the supply chain, ABC Carpet & Home sells top floors as office space

Fast-fashion retailers are seeing falling full-price sales, led by H&M and more recently, Zara. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Analysts were already concerned with Zara’s…


Equinox’s foresight and the future of retail real estate

Today, consumers are spending more money on experiences rather than things. But despite this shift, the real estate industry’s main answer has been to fall back on its existing business model of renting out space—maybe this time to a restaurant…


Dear Rimowa: One Thing I Would Do

Rimowa is the most recognizable luggage brand on the planet, which makes it an incredibly exciting company to lead. However, it is also a heritage brand, and while it has both decades of legacy and excellence, it must also work to attract a new…


Dear Thor Equities: One Thing I Would Do

Retail, as you know, is going through a tumultuous time. While many older brands that fell asleep at the wheel are struggling and realigning their retail footprint, there is a new crop of digitally-native brands that are only just dipping their toes…


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…


Not So Small — with Jeff Hansen of Peter Manning

On the 52nd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the rapidly changing consumer economy, I talk with Jeff Hansen, a co-founder of Peter Manning, a menswear brand for not so tall guys. Jeff joined Peter, the company’s eponymous designer,…


2017 Year in Review: 8 Fundamental Shifts Reshaping the Consumer Economy

2017 was yet another transformative year for the consumer economy. There were a range of new developments and trends from the last few years that continued accelerating. What follows is a recap of 2017, along with some predictions and…


Malls give Apple special treatment. Is it paying off?

For the past few years, various government and media publications have pointed a spotlight on Apple's tax-minimization efforts, which allow it to park over $111 billion dollars offshore. The New York Times published another big piece this week…


The Rental Economy Report

The move towards sharing and using instead of direct ownership is often called the Sharing Economy. People are increasingly comfortable using items that others have used before. Specifically for younger populations, owning seems like an expensive…


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…


Rethinking the Purpose of a Store — with Alana Branston of Bulletin

Alana Branston is the kind of person who believes retail isn’t dead. After all, she used to work in a toy store. But on Episode 26 of the Loose Threads Podcast, Branston talked about co-founding Bulletin, a start-up that is rethinking retail by…


The Cross Country Opportunity — with Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen + Main

Kevin Lavelle has gone into business with everyone from NFL stars to the country’s largest retailers, all on the strength of his fabric. For the 23rd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. the founder and CEO of menswear company Mizzen + Main…


An Unexpected Journey to the Source — with Matt Scanlan of Naadam Cashmere

On the 21st episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Matt Scanlan, the founder of Naadam, a direct to consumer brand that is reinventing the cashmere supply chain. Matt…


Pushing Wood to the Absolute Limit — with Giancarlo Paternoster of Giancarlo Studio Furniture

On the 20th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Giancarlo Paternoster, the founder of Giancarlo Studio Furniture, a workshop that is pushing wood to the absolute limit.…


The Amorphous Evolution of Retail — with Rachel Shechtman of Story

On the 19th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, a company that has the point of view of a magazine, that changes like a gallery…


What’s happening with retail and fulfillment job growth?

There's a lot of commotion right now about the loss of retail jobs and the impending death of retail. While retail isn't dying—channels as foundational as physical stores don't "die"—legacy retailers are struggling. Retailers are going bankrupt and…


Getting Better, Not Just Bigger — with Steven Alan

On the 12th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Steven Alan, the founder of his eponymous brand that started as a retail store in 1994 and grew into the international empire it is today. We had an awesome talk about how Steven got…


Pioneering Wholesale in a Direct to Consumer World — with Garrett Leight

On the 10th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Garrett Leight, the founder of his eponymous optical brand. We had an awesome talk about the founding story of Garrett Leight; the path towards building a wholesale-first brand in a…


Buzzfeed Product Labs and the intersection of everything

The most interesting piece of news last week was that Buzzfeed is formally launching a commerce lab. Named Buzzfeed Product Lab, and led by Ben Kaufman, the former founder of Quirky, the goal is to bring the Buzzfeed mentality—and its massive…