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…


Playbook: How to approach virality as a consumer brand

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…


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…


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…


Cop & Flip: Sneakerheads and the secondary market furthered sneaker culture, using brands like Nike as a vehicle for growth

“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 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?…


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…


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 Nike: One Thing I Would Do

When I was growing up in suburban New York, almost every kid in middle and elementary school wore Nikes. It wasn’t up for debate—of course you were going to buy a pair of Nikes, and after that another pair, and after that yet another pair. But…


Dear Zara: One Thing I Would Do

Working in the consumer products space, I have examined many different companies, but Zara remains one of the most fascinating studies. Your accomplishments—from a supply chain, retail, digital and culture perspective—rival few others because of the…


Spiders and Sustainability — with Dan Widmaier of Bolt Threads

On the 44th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of consumer, retail and commerce, I talk with Dan Widmaier, a co-founder of Bolt Threads, a biotech company engineering spider silk and a range of other fully…


Renting Out Your Underutilized Clothing — with Lona Alia of Style Lend

After traveling to a base camp on the slopes of Mount Everest, Lona Alia had an epiphany about how the fundamentals of the fashion industry.  “I traveled with only one piece of luggage, which was very small, for four months,” Alia said. “I…


Performance & Perspective — with Yehua Yang of Pivotte

The women behind Pivotte started their clothing company with a simple realization: Performance apparel that flies in the workplace doesn’t need to be exclusively for men. Pivotte is here to do more than just bring gender equality to fashion. But…