The Archive

Articles in The Archive laid the foundation for the modern-day Loose Threads.

Could localized manufacturing be the solution to endless markdowns?


Today, two seemingly different questions are top of mind for many physical goods brands: 1) How do we end the catastrophic parade of endless sales and markdowns?; and 2) Is there a way to bring back domestic manufacturing in some capacity? But are these two questions linked? 

Word of mouth without a network effect is not a competitive advantage


In Building Bulletproof Brands, a Loose Threads series about how the internet destroyed traditional moats for physical goods brands but also created new ones, I wrote about how the power of word of mouth is not what many think. As new physical goods startups launch and raise money every week, many…

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part III: How networks and tokens could reshape the economics of physical goods brands


Part I of this series looked at the changing landscape of brand longevity and how the traditional formulas that used to make brands defensible are now obsolete. Part II proposed a new formula that harnesses networks as the only defensible moat for physical goods brands. Now, Part III…

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part II: Networks are the strongest moats for consumer goods brands


Part I explored how the internet fundamentally changed the playbook for building durable physical goods brands. Before the internet, mastering product, brand, distribution—signified as (product + brand + distribution)—was enough to make a brand defensible, specifically in the apparel, fashion,…

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part I: Why don’t brands last like they used to?


How does one build a brand that lasts for centuries? Today, in the consumer goods space—specifically in apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories, and furniture—it's an especially challenging quandary given the ferocious speed at which Amazon and fast fashion giants like Zara and…

Mickey Drexler and the death of a supply-driven world


J.Crew’s Mickey Drexler Confesses: I Underestimated How Tech Would Upend Retail read the headline of a big feature in the Wall Street Journal, which ricocheted around the retail and technology world last week. The piece highlighted J.Crew's struggles under Drexler's leadership, which has resulted…

Offense vs defense: Amazon and Walmart’s diverging acquisition strategies


Walmart's acquisition spree in the consumer space has earned the company a lot of press recently. The speed of these acquisitions is a bet that buying companies, brands and talent is the only way for Walmart to catch up to Amazon, its biggest rival. Is Walmart building a reputable competitor…

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 closing stores at a rapid clip. (Our new project…

Amazon is a catalyst, not a middleman, in a direct to consumer world


This May, Amazon is holding a summit for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, according to Bloomberg. The goal is to convince CPG brands to rethink everything from manufacturing to packaging for the ecommerce-driven world we live in. Producing products that will end up on a shelf is very…