In the past two years, Grove Collaborative has become one of the biggest companies in cleaning supplies, hitting a $1 billion valuation last September following a $150 million series D funding round. Like other modern brands, it comes with a do-good, purpose-based mission. Having already implemented practices like having all facilities running on renewable power, Grove Collaborative is now committing to go plastic-free by 2025. “This timeline also forces it to be done on my and my team’s watch, unlike corporations that promise change down the line through a different CEO and management,” Landesberg said.
DTC healthcare startup Ro announced a new assessment tool for COVID-19. It's the latest -- and perhaps most extreme -- example of businesses shifting strategies to deal with the epidemic. Questions abound about how such a program will be executed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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