From startup burnout, to business strategy pivots, to mismanagement, here's why people choose to leave their consumer brand jobs.
Bombas is slowly building up its roster of wholesale partners, focusing on finding retailers that align with its one-to-one giving model, and have a customer demographic that fits well with new product offerings. It's one of a number of brands that started direct-to-consumer that is starting to test out which wholesale partners make the most sense for them.
The service, which will operate separately from Elliot, will allow brands to have customers shop products straight from an interactive live stream. The live shopping network is meant to give viewers to ask questions about curated items' fit and texture, among other details, before clicking checkout on products.
When Great Jones launched in 2018, co-founders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis decided to take what they called a "maximalist" approach to design, in order to ensure that their brand stood out many other direct-to-consumer startups at the time that seemed to be taking a minimalist approach to branding. Now, less than two years after Great Jones officially launched, Tishgart already feels like the maximalist approach that was once unique to Great Jones is no longer a novelty.
As more direct-to-consumer startups launch every day, agencies are finding that they constantly have to expand their wheelhouse of skills. Branding agencies are starting to take on performance marketing work, while marketing agencies are taking on more early stage design work. In November, branding agency Red Antler, which did work for Casper and Allbirds, launched a performance marketing arm called Good Moose
Many onlookers believe a DTC cooling is on the horizon. With a bunch of less-than-stellar exits from the likes of Casper, Peloton and Harry's, the VC-funding model of branding building seems to be crumbling. This leaves both investors and founders left with the question: Is it worth it to raise money from venture firms? It's becoming a more complicated topic, and one that will have a big impact on a company's choices down the line.
Edgewell has decided to pursue a "standalone" playbook after the Federal Trade Commission's move to block the Harry’s acquisition last Monday, said Rod Little, Edgewell president and CEO. The company also said that Harry’s plans to sue its prospective partner, a case that Edgewell said has "no merit." A spokesperson for Harry's said the company has nothing to share on potential litigation at this time.
Casper is finally a public company. The road here was bumpy. It involved the mattress brand slashing its valuation by more than half and hoping Wall Street would take the bait. Conversely, Peloton, which IPO'd earlier this year, went another route -- going all in and hoping its buzz would lead to fortune. Both are having difficulty on the public markets. And they show the evolving blueprint growing DTC brands have to make when looking for an exit.
There are a bunch of DTC brands that look very very similar. Meanwhile, there are others that solve problems way outside the scope of digital commerce. What's happening is both a mad dash to cash in on the DTC craze, as well as a realization that new brands need to find some sort of competitive advantage -- even if their products look similar to others'.
Amazon has been wooing direct to consumer brands for years by offering them an array of services including financial backing and inventory management via the Fulfilled By Amazon program. For many founders, being on the platform was something to be avoided. But even some that were lured by Amazon’s benefits early on have been gradually making the move off the marketplace.
When CPG conglomerate Edgewell announced in May that it was acquiring razor brand Harry's for $1.37 billion, the news was viewed as a win for direct-to-consumer startups. Now, what was once viewed as a surefire deal might no longer happen. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it was suing to block Edgewell's proposed acquisition of Harry's.
Casper isn't the first DTC mattress brand to go public -- despite the large amounts of noise around it. Purple, which launched as an online-only mattress brand via a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, sold to shell company Global Partner Acquisition Corp. in 2017 for $1.1 billion, which subsequently took Purple public.
"We were kind of an accidental DTC company," Lo & Sons co-founder Derek Lo said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "We started before the term even existed."
Last August, creative agency Gin Lane announced it was rebranding to Pattern, a holding company for multiple brands that would sell products direct-to-consumer, with an overarching focus on helping its customers deal with burnout. With the launch of its second product line, a brand focused on home organization called Open Spaces, Pattern's strategy of how it plans to cross-promote products to different customers is coming into focus.
A few years ago there were only a few DTC cookware brands. Now there are dozens, and they all are trying to tell a similar but unique story. As a result, more of these companies are honing their brand story and trying to figure out product differentiation.
As brick-and-mortar businesses struggle to stay competitive in the Amazon era, a retail revolution has occurred.
At the Modern Retail Summit, we’ll bring together hundreds of senior retail marketers to discuss the challenges they’re facing and the solutions they’re seeking in the era of smarter retail.Buy Passes