‘The pandemic made me rethink the DTC playbook’: Bearaby founder Kathrin Hamm on growing a company amid the coronavirus

The weighted blanket brand Bearaby is one brand that's benefitted from the collective stress and lack of sleep among consumers. It has become a bestseller in its category and recently expanded a long term partnership with West Elm. Founder Kathrin Hamm talked to Modern Retail about increasingly tweaking the supply chain and why having a beautiful Instagram feed isn't enough to sustain a company.

By Priya Rao

Latest Stories

  • AUG 25, 2020

    Why Adore Me is trying to source its own influencers

    Lingerie startup Adore Me is encouraging more of its customers to become influencers. In February, the company launched its own self-serve platform called Creators, where social media influencers can sign up to promote product. Adore Me's self-serve approach is indicative of how direct-to-consumer startups' approach to influencer marketing has shifted over the past couple of years. Rather than trying to find the influencers with the most followers to promote their product, they're instead focusing on trying to find smaller creators who are more genuine fans of the company.

  • AUG 21, 2020

    By being too customer-obsessed, DTC startups are failing their retail employees

    Despite their affinity for shirking traditional retail practices, there's one that direct-to-consumer brands can't shake off entirely: the belief that the customer is always right. Or, more commonly, DTC startups like to follow in the footsteps of Amazon, and declare themselves customer-obsessed. But when customers behave badly, it's often retail workers that pay the price. In order for DTC startups to truly champion diversity and inclusion, they have to train their store staff on how to handle racist or belligerent customers.

  • AUG 20, 2020

    While Blue Apron stumbles, semi-prepped meal kits are seeing growth

    As it turns out, even meal kit enthusiasts are getting tired of the prep and clean up aspect of boxed ingredients. That's why the latest offerings by delivery services like Sun Basket and Home Chef are now including semi-prepared dishes that can be assembled and consumed within minutes. This modified model, a shift away from the simple novelty of pre-measured ingredients, has been a bet in recent years by the likes of smart oven manufacturer Tovala.

  • AUG 18, 2020

    ‘We are over-mentored and under-funded’: Minority founders find a cultural disconnect with VCs

    It's difficult to raise money for your startup -- and even more difficult if you're a person of color. Modern Retail spoke to multiple founders and VCs, and they described the venture capital world as insular, overly cautious and easily dismissive of big markets that cater to diverse segments they don't personally relate to. Several eventually threw in the towel on fundraising, choosing instead to bootstrap their ventures.

  • AUG 17, 2020

    Premium beverage brands are using DTC strategies to rival legacy players

    National distribution has always been a tough cookie to crack for scrappy, independent CPG brands. Without the distribution methods and supply chain of big brands like Coke and Pepsi, beverage startups have had a hard time scaling beyond health food stores and DTC sales. But the coronavirus has changed the playing field.

  • AUG 14, 2020

    A domino effect: How USPS delays may hurt e-commerce startups

    During the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., e-commerce has become a lifeline for businesses to stay afloat when many non-essential stores were ordered closed in April and May. Now, changes being made to one of the backbones of the e-commerce landscape -- the United States Postal Service -- threatens to create a huge headache for retail and consumer startups .In mid-July, many businesses started reporting packages were taking longer to get to customers, which coincided with new cost-cutting measures that the USPS could implement. Every e-commerce business, from mom-and-pop shops all the way up to Amazon rely on the USPS in some way, and any changes in service or prices could wreck havoc on small e-commerce businesses.

  • AUG 11, 2020

    Why CPG startup Public Goods is selling its products in CVS without a membership

    Public Goods, an online-only consumer packaged goods company, is making its first foray into physical retail. The startup announced on Tuesday that some of its products like shampoo, toothbrushes and facial cleanser, will now be available for purchase in select CVS stores.But Public Goods' strategy differs from that of other CPG startups in that shoppers have to buy a $59 per year membership in order to buy products from its website. So when Public Goods starts selling in CVS this week, it will be the first time that its products are available for purchase without a membership. It will be an important test for the young startup as to how receptive customers are to buying one-off products from Public Goods at a traditional retail store.

  • AUG 11, 2020

    Workplace lunch startups are looking beyond the office cubicle

    The office lunch run may forever have been changed by the coronavirus, but that doesn't mean services catering to those employees are going away. In fact, meal-subsidizing platforms like MealPal, Fooda and Ritual are finding a growing market among manual labor and service workers, an unexpected segment for the category.

  • AUG 10, 2020

    How DTC founders see their industries emerging changed from the coronavirus crisis

    From competing with giant retailers for customer loyalty to improving the supply chain, sectors across the DTC world have been transformed by the pandemic. Five direct to consumer brand founders give their takes about the changes they anticipate when the world eventually emerges from the ongoing crisis.

  • AUG 07, 2020

    How Goldbelly is positioning itself as the future of in-home gourmet dining

    Goldbelly hit coronavirus gold. With restaurants closed, many iconic establishments have used the delivery platform to have their signature dishes shipped nationwide. But the question remains how long that will last. According to Goldbelly, it has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

  • AUG 07, 2020

    Disruption, served one thread at a time: The weird world of DTC thoughtleader Twitter (1/23)

    DTC Twitter is obsessed with Tweet threads. Or, at the very least, they are frequently cited as recommended reads in industry newsletters like 2pm Inc. and Lean Luxe, and often serve as inspiration for further discussions in Clubhouse, Slack, or virtual events. Heavy Twitter usage is not unique to the DTC startup scene, but these Tweet storms are a good a mirror to expose the strengths and weaknesses of DTC startups.

  • AUG 05, 2020

    The Netflix effect: DTC brand Italic tacks to memberships as a path to sustainability

    For years, DTCs relied on monthly subscriptions for reliable revenue. But given the current climate and economic uncertainty, relying on those recurring fees may no longer be an option. Some brands, like at-cost goods seller Italic, are going back to the drawing board by truly "cutting out the middleman." However, access to these no-markup products comes at a cost of an annual membership.

  • SEP 17, 2020

    For marketers, 10 tactics are driving advertising success on Amazon

    One thing is true for nearly all conversions on Amazon: They’re captured by products on page one of the search results. And a significant share of purchases go to just the top few results.

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