389 episodes

The Modern Retail Podcast is a podcast about the retail space, from legacy companies to the buzzy world of DTC startups. Every Thursday, Cale Weissman, editor of Modern Retail, interviews executives about their growth and marketing strategies. And every Saturday Gabi Barkho, senior reporter, sits down with the Modern Retail staff to chat about the latest headlines in the retail world.

The Modern Retail Podcast Digiday

    • Business
    • 4.6 • 65 Ratings

The Modern Retail Podcast is a podcast about the retail space, from legacy companies to the buzzy world of DTC startups. Every Thursday, Cale Weissman, editor of Modern Retail, interviews executives about their growth and marketing strategies. And every Saturday Gabi Barkho, senior reporter, sits down with the Modern Retail staff to chat about the latest headlines in the retail world.

    Prose CEO Arnaud Plas on growing a company with profitability in mind

    Prose CEO Arnaud Plas on growing a company with profitability in mind

    Every brand talks about paths to profitability, but few actually reach it.
    Customizable beauty brand Prose is one company that has bucked the trend and reached meaningful profitability. The company has made nearly $500 million since launching in 2018 and estimates it will bring in $160 million this year. What's more, this year the company is on track to be profitable, after hitting profitability last May as well for the entire third quarter of 2023.
    At the Modern Retail Commerce Summit, held last week in New Orleans, Prose co-founder and CEO Arnaud Plas spoke about how he's been leading the company to reach these major milestones. "That has been a journey," Plas said.
    Prose hasn't sacrificed growth in order to hit its profitability targets. For example, the company has expanded into new areas. "A major step with a spirit of reaching profitability [was] we launched skin care in 2023," Plas said.
    While expanding into new categories is expensive, the thesis behind Prose was to build a vertically integrated and automated production system and then add more products to grow revenue. "The key was really: How do we automate production and customization?" Plas said.
    By building out its own New York-based manufacturing, and figuring out how to automate parts of it, Prose was able to lower its production cost over the years while also charging a premium for offering customized products. It took many years, but Plas believed that if the brand could streamline its production enough while launching into new areas, the financials would work out.
    "If we were able to execute this, there would be a pretty high and significant value creation for the company," he said.
    But brands can't go all in on growth at once. And perhaps that's the biggest lesson from Prose's evolution so far. "The reality is that when you want to be profitable, you have to sequence your efforts," said Plas.

    • 22 min
    Digiday Media Presents: The Return Season Three

    Digiday Media Presents: The Return Season Three

    Digiday Media's WorkLife is proud to present season three of The Return, a podcast about the modern workforce, with this season focused on middle management.
    Last season, we heard what it’s like for Gen Z to enter the workforce for the first time in a post-pandemic world. We highlighted themes like why values are so important to Gen Zers, whether or not they are loyal to their employers, how they use TikTok for career advice, what it means to be a young professional who is a boss to older workers, and so much more.
    This time, we’re hearing from the population of workers that some argue is the backbone of a successfully-run organization: middle management. They are the ones who are navigating those RTO mandates, welcoming a new generation of workers that have a different approach than those who came before them, the rise of artificial intelligence – the list goes on.
    In season three of The Return, we speak to middle managers themselves to hear beyond their everyday stresses of the job, but what they need to guarantee everyone they manage has what they need to be the best at what they do. C-suite, listen up because they need your help too.
    We dive into how middle management stress is a decades-long issue (there are New York Times headlines dating back to 1971), how the wrong people are being chosen to be managers which is leading to the rise of “accidental managers,” what it’s like to have hard conversations and having to be a therapist at times, where people are finding support as a middle manager, and how AI is impacting the job of a middle manager.
    With a Q+A format, you will hear in-depth conversations with folks including Colette Stallbaumer, Microsoft’s general manager of Microsoft 365 and Future of Work Marketing, Rob Pierre, former CEO of advertising services platform Jellyfish, and Emily Field, partner at McKinsey & Company who co-authored “Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work,” to name a few.
    Season three of The Return is hosted by Cloey Callahan, senior reporter at Digiday Media’s WorkLife, and produced by Digiday Media’s audio producer Sara Patterson.
    Subscribe to the WorkLife podcast now on Apple Podcasts – or wherever you get your podcasts – to hear the first episode on Tuesday, April 23.

    • 3 min
    Rundown: Peloton takes away free app workouts, adults help boost Lego's sales & Amazon's plans for just walk out tech

    Rundown: Peloton takes away free app workouts, adults help boost Lego's sales & Amazon's plans for just walk out tech

    This week on the Modern Retail Rundown: After less than a year of relaunching its virtual workout app, Peloton quietly got rid of the free membership tier because it wasn't converting users into paying customers. Meanwhile, Lego's adult customer base continues to grow as adults buy up its newer intricate and more expensive sets. Finally, after doing away with its Just Walk Out technology at its own grocery stores, Amazon plans to sell it to other retailers.

    • 28 min
    Violife's chief growth officer on making plant-based cheese mainstream

    Violife's chief growth officer on making plant-based cheese mainstream

    Violife is trying to become the Oatly of plant-based cheese.
    The brand, which launched in 2013, is part of the Greek plant-based food company Arivia. But it didn't hit U.S. shelves until 2015. Since then, Violife has taken off. It is now the number one plant-based cheese in the world -- and it continues to roll out new products to continue its growth streak.
    According to Violife's global president and chief growth officer Olga Osminkina-Jones, the current strategy is to make plant-based cheese into a mainstream product.
    "The category itself is truly nascent," she said.
    Osminkina-Jones is a consumer brand veteran. Before joining Violife, she held vp-level roles at companies like PepsiCo, Danone and Heineken. The reason she decided to go to a plant-based food startup, she said, was "to take on a challenge like the reinvention and acceleration of a category."
    And indeed that's the project ahead. So far, things seem to be working. Violife is in most major grocers and continues to launch new products. Most recently, it unveiled a new cream cheese product that could be used in baked products.
    But the real hurdle isn't about shelf space, but in getting more people to try the product. In many ways, what plant-based cheese needs is an Oatly moment.
    "As you look at the trajectories of such categories as plant-based milk, you can clearly see that the scale of adoption was equally propelled by the collaborations and partnerships with the right channels and customers," Osminkina-Jones said.
    With that, the focus is on getting more people familiar with the product so that the overall category can continue to grow. While Violife is in a good position as the category leader, Osminkina knows there's still a lot of work ahead.
    "The key here is not to run before we can walk," she said.

    • 37 min
    Rundown: Gatorade expands healthy options, retail credit cards declining & Bark gets into pet air travel

    Rundown: Gatorade expands healthy options, retail credit cards declining & Bark gets into pet air travel

    On this week’s Modern Retail Rundown: PepsiCo-owned Gatorade is adding more hydration SKUs that resemble Liquid I.V. and Prime. Meanwhile, department store retailers face yet another hurdle: A new law that limits payment late fees can hurt credit card revenue for retailers like Macy's and Kohl's. Lastly, Bark just announced Bark Air, a new airline program that offers pets and their owners a more comfortable flying experience.

    • 31 min
    CEO Susan Kim on how Kopari was at the forefront of the clean beauty trend

    CEO Susan Kim on how Kopari was at the forefront of the clean beauty trend

    Every beauty startup these days describes itself as a clean beauty brand, but skin-care brand Kopari was ahead of the curve.
    "It's definitely table stakes now," said CEO Susan Kim.
    But, it wasn't always that way. "The way I think about clean is that back in 2015, it was a differentiator," Kim said. And that's what helped Kopari -- which makes products including cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen and deodorant -- grow into the profitable brand it is today, with revenue growing 45% in 2023.
    Kim joined this week's Modern Retail Podcast and spoke about the company's rise, as well as how the company has evolved since she took on the role of CEO in 2020.
    Before she joined the brand, she said, "I remember thinking: I have to keep tabs on this brand."
    Cut to today and Kopari has launched into new areas like sunscreen, and has diversified its marketing to keep customer acquisition costs low. The company invests in performance media, earned media as well as other higher-funnel brand campaigns. "It's the harmony of all of those elements [coming] together that makes for a very efficient CAC," she said.
    Another important differentiator for Kopari has been speaking directly to its customers. The company has a Slack channel, for example, where it frequently talks with its people who use the products every day. "That's instantaneous feedback that's consumer-centric," she said.
    But beyond the feedback, Kim said these types of initiatives help the brand seem more human. "It allows us to have a community," she said. "That's really what it's about."

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

Quags ,

Excellent, unique, personal insights

I’ve been listening to this show for some time, and it always brings interesting insights and perspectives to the table. I particularly enjoyed the Atoms episode, what a unique and intriguing story! Great listen for marketers looking to stand out.

ddffxxcc233 ,

Expected more

It takes the hosts way too long to share useful information. Unfortunately, they are also too monotone to hold an audience.

Markhhsp ,

Thoughtful empathetic discussions

I’m impressed with the editing packing a lot information in a relatively short amount of time. The recent podcast with the Shein head of strategy not only increased my knowledge of the company but also increased my faith that some companies can help the retail industry and consumers embrace and accelerate their sustainability efforts.

Top Podcasts In Business

Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin
Money News Network
REAL AF with Andy Frisella
Andy Frisella #100to0
The Ramsey Show
Ramsey Network
Young and Profiting with Hala Taha
Hala Taha | YAP Media Network
The Money Mondays
Dan Fleyshman
The Dough
Lemonada Media

You Might Also Like

The Glossy Podcast
Glossy
The Business of Fashion Podcast
The Business of Fashion
How I Built This with Guy Raz
Guy Raz | Wondery
Second Life
Second Life
Founder's Journal
Morning Brew
Shopify Masters
Shopify

More by Digiday