Welcome to a special encore episode of the podcast, where we open up the back catalogue and share some of our favourite and most popular episodes that are worth a second (or perhaps your first) listen. Today, we bring you our update and perspectives on The Profitless Prosperity of Disruptor Brands with an episode first released in the fall of 2021.
Welcome to a special encore episode of the podcast, where we open up the back catalogue and share some of our favourite and most popular episodes that are worth a second (or perhaps your first) listen.
Today, we bring you our update and perspectives on The Profitless Prosperity of Disruptor Brands with an episode first released in the fall of 2021. First, Steve updates us on the status of the many brands mentioned in our original episode, including Casper. We also unpack the implications for the long-term sustainability of these many brands when their market capitalization is depressed, unit economics are becoming more challenging, and consumer spending is weakening.
For more than a decade, digitally-native, vertically integrated brands (Warby Parker, Allbirds, et al)--as well as other innovative direct-to-consumer (companies (from Wayfair to Rent-the-Runway to Poshmark)--have sucked up a lot of attention in the industry and attracted many billions of venture capital. Yet as more face the harsh light of the public markets we're learning that some are rather small businesses and most are losing quite a lot of money.
Does the recent meltdown of Casper suggest that the sky high valuations of DTC brands are about to crash back to earth, or should we be more sanguine about the "growth over profit" strategy that most are pursuing. In particular, we discuss why the idea that significant direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies could be built without physical stores was a flawed investment premise and why it's turned out to be so difficult to profitably scale many of these brands. We also remind listeners that vertically integrated DTC retail is far from new, and wonder why legacy brands (Duluth Trading, Lands' End) carry anemic valuations relative to the insurgent brands that are far smaller and continue to hemorrhage cash.
Steve Dennis is a strategic advisor, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of focused on growth, innovation, and the impact of digital disruption. He is widely considered one of the foremost and influential voices in the retail industry. You can learn more about Steve on his website. His #1 bestselling book Remarkable Retail: How To Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption is available at Amazon or just about anywhere else books are sold. Steve regularly shares his insights in his role as a Forbes senior contributor and on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also check out his speaker "sizzle" reel here.
Michael LeBlanc is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice. He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience, and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career. Michael is the producer and host of a network of leading podcasts including Canada’s top retail industry podcast, The Voice of Retail, plus Global eCommerce Leaders podcast, and The Food Professor with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois. You can learn more about Michael here or on LinkedIn.
Be sure and check out Michael's latest venture for fun and influencer riches - Last Request Barbecue, his YouTube BBQ cooking channel!