The Glossy Podcast is a weekly show on the impact of technology on the fashion and luxury industries with the people making change happen.
Clearbanc's Michele Romanow: 'You have to be a digital business and own your customer'
In Clearbanc president Michele Romanow's view, regular banks are pretty clueless.
"Banks don't understand digital business," she said on the Glossy Podcast. "They understand if you're a restaurant with a pizza oven, and that if your business goes out of business, they can sell the pizza oven, as it has residual value."
But they're less likely to accurately value inventory or to understand that a strong customer acquisition strategy -- if a DTC company has gotten there -- is a valuable asset in itself.
Founded in 2015, Clearbanc provides funding for widespread companies -- each of which are typically bringing in at least $10,000 in monthly revenue -- for a flat fee. To date, it's invested $1 billion in more than 3,000 brands, including Public Goods, Nectar and Haus.
By the numbers, these companies are more diverse than the ones venture capital typically underwrites.
A year and half into the company's existence, "we had funded eight-times more women than the venture capital industry average, which I'm super proud of," Romanow said. "We've funded founders in all 50 states in America. In comparison, 80% of VC dollars last year went into four states in America: California, New York, Texas and Massachusetts."
The company has invested heavily in DTC -- "right now is an incredible time for the DTC world," Romanow said -- but also on SaaS.
'Sales are up': Bombas co-founder Randy Goldberg on selling socks even as more consumers stay home
People may not be getting dressed and going out like they used to, but for Bombas, sales are up.
The sock company is beating the target it set for itself back in January, before the pandemic kept people at home (where socks are a little more optional).
"Sales are up," Bombas co-founder and chief brand officer Randy Goldberg said on the Glossy Podcast. "There's that response to comfort and a response to community. And people are looking for these little moments for themselves."
Bombas was founded in 2013, starting with an Indiegogo campaign. For every pair sold, the company donates one to the homeless -- "but also people who are at risk and in need," Goldberg said, through a network of more than 3,500 "giving partners."
"Those are anything from a small shelter in a small town to big organizations like the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] and the Special Olympics. We're in all 50 states."
Bombas has also recently moved into different categories, including cotton T-shirts.
Goldberg talked about how Bombas aims to make the most comfortable socks around, how DTC strategies have changed in recent years and which of the brand's product categories isn't as hot as he thought it would be this year.
'Not replaceable': Ami founder Alexandre Mattiussi on why he's hosting an IRL fashion show
After a summer of virtual fashion showcases, Paris is going back to the real thing.
Among the labels on the (outdoor) catwalk schedule for the upcoming Paris Fashion Week is Ami, the company founded in 2011 -- but which only got into womenswear in 2018.
"I do this job, for nine years now, because of the show. The show is a magical moment. It's a rendezvous which is not replaceable," founder Alexandre Mattiussi said on the Glossy Podcast.
The coronavirus hasn't slowed Mattiussi's roll much in general. The company hasn't had to lay anyone off, just opened a new store in South Korea (making for about 10 stores in total) and had strong sales for its latest spring/summer collection.
"I don't want to scream it too loud, because I feel very grateful, but the business has been wonderful during this time," Mattiussi said.
As a result, the company has had the resources to take on certain responsibilities, like supporting struggling wholesalers by maintaining longstanding partnerships and making its production more sustainable.
"We all want [more sustainability]," Mattiussi said. "I just want to look at my face in the mirror every day when I wake up in a few years and say we've been part of it."
'Business shot up 161%' in a month: Maison de Mode's Hassan Pierre on new demand for sustainable fashion
Maison de Mode CEO Hassan Pierre knows that if sustainable fashion doesn't look as good as everything else on the market, it's not going to make much of a positive impact on the environment.
"I always say that if a shirt saves a thousand lives, but it's ugly, no one's going to buy it," Pierre said on the Glossy Podcast. "So we need, as a retailer, to make people dream and to really make people want to buy things -- not just because they're good, but also because they want to wear them."
Maison de Mode launched in 2015 as a two-part business -- it's an online platform selling sustainable fashion from different labels (both off-the-rack and made-to-order) and a consulting firm, too. Maison de Mode makes a cut of every purchase on the marketplace side, and as a whole, the business grew 161% between March and April, Pierre said.
Like every online retailer, Maison de Mode keeps an eye on purchasing data. During the pandemic, consumers have turned to many of the categories you'd imagine -- "anything that is really beautiful and cozy and comfortable," Pierre said -- but also an unexpected one: fine jewelry.
"We would be out of touch if we were just selling ball gowns and high heels," Pierre said.
'We're all going digital': Designer Ronny Kobo on the big changes in the year ahead
Ronny Kobo's self-named fashion line is nearly synonymous with "party dress," and there aren't many occasions for those these days.
"Luckily, we have not seen a lot of canceled styles and canceled orders," Kobo said on the Glossy Podcast. But the brand is still pivoting to selling online, including for the swimwear line it will be launching in the spring.
"Retail's going to change drastically in the next year. We're all going digital," Kobo said. "Even the local boutiques are going to need to figure out a way to communicate with their customer."
Menswear designer Billy Reid: 'We're bullish' on the return of physical retail
The pandemic has been hard on fashion brands -- but especially for Billy Reid, which hosts an annual arts festival in its hometown of Florence, Alabama that has become part of its identity.
"I can't tell you how many texts I get per week from friends, going, 'What's up with Shindig this year?' And you have to let them down easy," Reid said on the Glossy Podcast.
The menswear-first company is looking forward to doubling-down on the event next year, and Reid said he's just glad to see it surviving the economic downturn. Personnel cutbacks have leveled off, he said, and all of the company's 14 stores have opened, though traffic is down.
"We believe that, eventually, it will come back," Reid said. "We're bullish on it."
Womenswear makes up 20-25% of Billy Reid's sales and is only carried in its own stores.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Keep it up!
- Cassandra McClure
Clean Beauty Podcast
This is not a beauty business podcast. Period.
Please stop supporting predators. Arielle charnas took COVID bailout money she didn’t need, meaning that actual companies that needed the money missed out - small businesses closed because of her greed. And yet you’re ignoring this and pretending she’s a good business woman - yikes. This is after Arielle received 10M in Venture capital investment money to relaunch her failed brand. Please stop glorifying a woman who is a TERRIBLE business person willing to lie and steal from folks who don’t have $2.5M personal wrath in the bank (which she notably refused to use to save her business, more interesting facts). Arielle’s brand already failed once and was dropped from Nordstrom, it can be found on clearance racks at TJ Maxx, now she’s trying to relaunch that failed brand with tax payer money while exposing people to COVID (and bragging about it on social media from the Hamptons). You claim to be a business podcast? Pass.
Why give a platform to terrible people?
AC has proven to be a terrible business person and a morally bankrupt human. Also her line is unoriginal and failed at Nordstrom’s. Unclear what the story is here?