Macy’s should look at staffing as a profit center, not a cost center

As Macy’s looks to course correct after growing to over 175 million square feet of retail space and experiencing several years of falling sales, it’s reassessing its lower-performing stores and trying to reinvigorate it’s higher-performing ones.…


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: 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: Macy’s and Revolve institutionalize influencer marketing, Re:Store merges affordable retail space with coworking, SoulCycle goes live, Ulta partners with men’s grooming brand Oars + Alps

Macy’s and Revolve graduate their influencer marketing strategies into more institutionalized forms. What happened Influencer marketing continues to blossom—in 2018, 84% of advertisers noted that influencers were included in their marketing…


Kylie Cosmetics and the value paradox of celebrity brands

Forbes recently put Kylie Jenner—member of the Kardashian clan and founder of Kylie Cosmetics, one of the fastest growing beauty brands ever—on the cover of its America’s Women Billionaires issue. The feature, which came with an…


The Grinds: JCPenney launches Fanatics shop-in-shops, Honest Company raises $200 million, Wish brings the dollar store online, Walmart opens ModCloth stores

JCPenney banks on shop-in-shops, this time with digitally-native sports manufacturer and retailer Fanatics. What happened JCPenney launched Fanatics shop-in-shops in 350 of its locations, and plans to open 300 more by the end of the summer. Each…


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…


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…


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…


Dear Ulta Beauty: One Thing I Would Do

Ulta continues to expand its brand selection, often testing new brands online or at a small number of brick-and-mortar locations first, before scaling the offering. This worked wonders for MAC Cosmetics—Ulta’s most successful ecommerce launch…


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…


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…


Vertical Touring: Inside the brands that are translating the concert and festival experience into fashion and beauty products

Today, album tours and merch are the biggest sources of income for artists, while music festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo have morphed into widely shoppable events where brands and retailers come to showcase their most experience-driven retail.…


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,…


The Live Video Report

Social media is an increasingly important channel for brands and retailers to nurture customer relations and attract a broader consumer base, particularly as mobile devices flourish. The ascent of social media has also catalyzed the expansion of…


Trending and Timeless — with Alex Fogelson of Taste Beauty

#62. Taste Beauty is a manufacturing company working at the forefront of the quickly evolving beauty industry. We talk with Co-Founder Alex Fogelson about how his company is bringing trend-driven products to more than 50,000 beauty retailers…


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: Fenty Beauty outpaces competition, Alibaba moves offline, H&M curbs expansion, Mall landlords fight over tenants, Apparel sales hit all-time low

Fenty Beauty becomes the fastest-growing celebrity cosmetics line To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Sales for Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics line created by Rihanna, Sephora and…


Dear Sephora: One Thing I Would Do

Normally when you search for a company’s name followed by the word “problem,” you end up with a lot of complaints. But when you run that search for Sephora, the results are mostly about customers who can’t stop spending at your stores.


The Sales Associate and Stylist Report

Retailers are hurting, especially as shoppers buy more products online. But the sales associate role in this quandary receives less attention. As working in retail has developed from a career to a gig economy job, brands, retailers and customers are…


The Private Label Report

In the 19th century, merchants in the mail-order and wholesale business introduced their own private-label products. The goal was to provide valuable and cheaper alternatives to premium-priced national brands, who significantly marked up their…


The Mass Market Audience Report

General audiences gravitate towards brands with accessible products that provide wide-ranging value. If the product adds some marginal value—it’s a cheaper alternative or improves the experience—it has a solid chance of succeeding. Thinking of…