DTC Era

‘Downright frozen’: DTC funding environment tightens in the age of coronavirus

Companies that sell primarily direct-to-consumer already faced a tough time raising venture capital funding in 2020. And that was before an outbreak of COVID-19. Most investors say it's too early to tell if other venture capital firms will prove less willing to make investments in the coming months, and certain categories like like travel may be more negatively impacted than others. But nearly all are counseling companies to rethink their growth projections for 2020, and start thinking now about how they can tighten up expenses in a worst case scenario. 

Latest Stories

  • FEB 28, 2020

    Super Heroic, a Foot Locker-backed DTC startup, is shutting down

    Super Heroic, a direct-to-consumer children's clothing and footwear startup, is shutting down, according to the company's website. A message posted on Super Heroic’s website, with the headline “mission complete,” said that “we started this company with the desire to encourage and inspire our youth to dream bigger and to live boldly….in these uncertain times, we have now reached a place where we must hang up our capes for a while.” The website states that the company “will honor all sales and exchanges until our closure,” but does not give an exact date. 

  • FEB 25, 2020

    Why e-commerce platform Elliot is launching ‘DTC Live’

    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. 

  • FEB 24, 2020

    Why I quit: 5 people on why they left their startup jobs

    From startup burnout, to business strategy pivots, to mismanagement, here's why people choose to leave their consumer brand jobs.

  • FEB 20, 2020

    How Bombas is growing its wholesale business

    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.

  • FEB 14, 2020

    The shelf life of creative is getting shorter for DTC brands

    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.

  • FEB 13, 2020

    As the DTC space gets more competitive, branding agencies are forced to evolve

    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

  • FEB 13, 2020

    Why the VC-DTC calculus is changing

    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.

  • FEB 10, 2020

    What’s next for Harry’s?

    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.

  • FEB 10, 2020

    Casper finally IPOs, casting a shadow on DTC exits

    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.

  • FEB 07, 2020

    Idea burnout: As more DTC brands enter the fray, founders struggle to differentiate

    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'.

  • FEB 05, 2020

    Why some DTC brands are pulling out of Amazon

    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.

  • FEB 05, 2020

    As the FTC seeks to block the Edgewell-Harry’s acquisition, founders question the limits of DTC

    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.

  • SEP 17, 2020
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    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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