In 2013, Sarah Flint launched her luxury footwear brand in high-end retailers like Bloomingdale's, Barneys and Shopbop.com. Over the years, the brand grew steadily and earned influential fans including Meghan Markle, but Flint felt something was missing: She wasn't able to create a meaningful, direct connection with her customers, she was designing close to 200 products a year and the margins were always slim. So at the end of 2017, Flint cancelled all orders from department stores, pulling out of them completely, cut her prices in half and became a direct-to-consumer brand. On this week's episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with luxury footwear designer, Sarah Flint, to talk about making the shift from wholesale to DTC, establishing relationships with customers and getting set to scale her brand.
In 2007, Katie Warner Johnson was a ballerina–turned Wall Street analyst–turned fitness instructor. It was in her fitness classes that she discovered a very specific type of woman: a hard-working, high-powered woman who takes her appearance seriously, but doesn’t have the time to really concern herself with it — and she fell in love with her. So Warner Johnson and a few of her friends came together and decided to find a way to connect with this woman. From selling bundled classes to creating a Pinterest account dedicated to fitness to launching a competitor for the app Mindbody, they tried a lot of things that didn’t work. Finally they ended up with the first iteration of Carbon38: a content-driven site where they would interview a celebrity or influencer about their wellness routine and what was in their gym bag, and then make those products available to sale. Eventually, Warner Johnson started to notice a pattern in the activewear being sold on the site. The industry was dominated by men, but the women’s sector was taking off, and the available products were a result of a “shrink it and pink it” mentality. So she looked back to her original inspiration — this customer base she had become fascinated with — and set out to build out a marketplace serving these women in a way no one had before. In 2013, Carbon38, in its current form, officially launched. As Carbon38 continues to scale and grow, and the athleisure boom continues, Warner Johnson sees plenty of opportunities to continue serving the core clientele her business was built for, especially now that she has become one of them. On this week’s episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with Katie Warner Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Carbon38, to talk about dressing modern women, the company’s recent investment from Foot Locker, and the problem with the word “athleisure.”
Mark Lynn knows what it takes to build direct-to-consumer brands. After launching two successful DTC brands -- Winc Wines and DSTLD -- Lynn made the decision to stop building brands and start bringing them together. So in 2017, he co-founded Digital Brands Group in an effort to both bring promising brands to the consumer and help growing companies to scale. Currently, there are two brands under the Digital Brands Group umbrella -- DSTLD, best known for denim. and suiting brand Ace Studios. Lynn said a few acquisitions will likely be necessary before the group can really spread its wings. On this week's episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down Mark Lynn, Digital Media Group's co-founder and chairman, to talk about the complexities of the DTC ecosystem, the choice to take DSTLD public and the next steps for his growing group.
In an industry like footwear, which from the outside appears to be ever-changing, how much has actually changed? During his career as a professional soccer player in New Zealand, Tim Brown began to ask himself this same question. Brown set out on a mission to create the simplicity that he couldn't find in footwear anywhere else. What he found was an industry stuck in its ways, followed by a serious sustainability problem. So he saw the opportunity to develop new materials, and a new approach to creating and selling shoes, to address both an aesthetic and an environmental need with his own brand, Allbirds. On this week's episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes talks to Allbirds co-founder, Tim Brown, about the growing a DTC brand, the constant need to innovate and why, when it comes to sustainability, we're all in this together.
When Palmer West first became a father, he wasn't quite ready to give up his love for motorcycling. But when he went looking for the proper protective gear, he was greeted by an entire market of products that weren't necessarily suited for a metropolitan lifestyle like his. It was from this 'aesthetic void' that Aether was born. West felt like consumers shouldn't have to choose between fashion and functionality, so he and his business partner Jonah Smith, set out to find middle ground. On this week's episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with West, Aether co-founder, to discuss the need for fashionable technical wear, how wholesale failed them and why they're considering going back.