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Direct to Consumer News

direct to consumer shoes by Allbirds

Let’s Do This!

You’ve been asking for it, and now it’s here: the DTC Insider, your best source for direct to consumer news and insights, brought to you by The No Middleman Project.

  • Who this is for: DTC Insiders—people who want to stay informed on all things DTC: direct to consumer news, trends, products, and brands.
  • What’s in it: all things direct to consumer. We research DTC brands every day for our searchable directory at NoMiddleman.com, and we come across some exceptional news and insights along the way. It’s time to pass that on to you—the Insiders—for the benefit of the entire industry and consumers as a whole.

We’re all in this together. We want to help you fight off the increasingly powerful middlemen and continue to deliver exceptional value directly to consumers.

That’s why we want to empower you with helpful news and content: winning DTC strategies, thought leadership, future trends, retail news, and shout-outs to newly launched direct to consumer brands.

Let’s hop right in with some wisdom from a DTC darling and No Middleman favorite: AllBirds.

DTC Strategy Insight

Article: How AllBirds Plans Digital Growth (Digiday)

Another solid article about the importance of how businesses and customers both win when the brands have 100% visibility into their own data: “A big part of our success can be attributed to our access to clean, robust customer data,” said Allbirds CMO Julie Channing. Having “the right information” is critical when entering a new market with low brand awareness, she said.

The article also reveals the answer to another question we ask, when we’re deciding who makes the cut for The No Middleman Project’s favorite direct to consumer brands: “When a DTC brand partners with traditional retailers, what’s their long term intent?”

Allbirds passed this test with flying colors: they dipped their toes in the water with Nordstrom, but have since gone 100% vertical with their own stores and pop-ups, and now “doesn’t have any third-party retail partners,” according to the article. Music to our ears!

Check out brand feature and product info for Allbirds on NoMiddleman.com, where we’ll be writing much more about this direct to consumer leader (especially after visiting one of their stellar showrooms last week in NYC).

New Brands With Less Middlemen

Hers

Hers (ForHers.com) is a new direct to consumer women’s brand launched by one of our existing No Middleman favorites, Hims. Hers will be offering affordably-priced direct to consumer hair products, anti-aging products, and birth control (competing with Nurx).

(More here about Hims, which offers an array of direct to consumer men’s wellness products, including very affordable erectile dysfunction meds for $30/month and hair loss solutions for $11-44/month).

Italic

Italic is a brilliant concept that will connect consumers directly with the same factories that create (excessively marked-up) luxury products. They find the factories that make luxury products, then connect consumers with those factories directly, for similar products at much lower prices.

If you visit Italic.com, you’ll instantly get it. And for early email subscribers, they’re promising a free year of membership (worth $135) when they officially launch.

For a great read about the founding story of Italic (and the fascinating pitch to factories to think of themselves as brands), check out this great article in Vox about this direct to consumer innovator.

Amazon Watch

Article: Why DTC Brands Avoid Selling on Amazon (by AdExchanger.com)

Another great article that quickly summarizes why many brands are terrified of Amazon.

In short: high customer acquisition costs, a funnel full of great data for Amazon (but not for you), a delivery and fulfillment experience you don’t control, and the always-present risk of being replaced by a private label (especially if you’re successful, thanks in part to that “great-data-but-not-for-you” we mentioned).

Staying Connected

Email/Digital Marketing Insights

We just launched a monthly product giveaway, toward the goal of helping DTC brands reach consumers directly. You can enter the giveaway here (we’re giving away a $599 paddleboard package). Also, if you’re a direct to consumer brand and would like to join one of our giveaways to get more exposure and traffic, please reach out to us at yourfriends@nomiddleman.com.

Podcast of The Week

Glossy Podcast with Glossier COO Henry Davis. All kinds of great insights in this podcast and a great example of what a brand can be when it retains an intense focus on serving consumers. Glossier gets it, and they’re a No Middleman favorite (here’s our Glossier feature with links to all their pages).

Our favorite quotes from this episode, from Davis:

  • “Being closer to your customers is always the right answer.”
  • “We continue to believe that this isn’t so much about beauty, and isn’t so much about a bubble in beauty or not; it’s about changing the way customers relate to products and relate to brands.”
  • ”Customers will want to be stakeholders in brands, and we believe that’s the future.”

Fast Forward: Trends of Tomorrow

This week’s article looks at virtual reality showrooms, “shop that video,” and Alexa telling you where to go and what to buy. (Bonus: great strategic insights in the section titled, “Is the future Amazon’s?”)

Read about it here, in the CampaignLive.com article “The Commerce Revolution and How Brands Can Keep Up”

Direct to Consumer Deals & Giveaways

Black Friday and Online Monday season are here! We’re scouring the best deals from our favorite DTC brands, and here’s a taste of what we’ve got for you in our new Deals newsletter

  • $10 off for new customers at Brandless. This is essentially 3.33 free items, because everything is $3 at Brandless.com! We love Brandless and know you will too. Just visit their website and the pop-up should appear. (If the promotion ends, you’ll still likely get $5 off your first purchase, and $6 for referring friends to this awesome company.)
  • $35 off Snowe for a friend AND you. $35 off your friends’ first purchase of stylish home essentials at Snowe, AND $35 off for you when they purchase! (Link to deal: https://snowehome.com/pages/share) What a great deal to spread the word about Snowe, a No Middleman favorite. We visited the Snowe showroom in NYC and it’s amazing, as is their leadership and team members we’ve met. More coverage to come on this direct to consumer leader!
  • Hundreds more great deals AND win a free $599 inflatable paddle board package! Only one person will win the paddleboard, but entering to win will give you a weekly email full of amazing deals from direct to consumer brands! Enter the giveaway here and you’ll get the hookup on the weekly deals.

(And again, If you’re a direct to consumer brand and would like to get more exposure and traffic for your brand by giving away a product or service, please reach out to us at yourfriends@nomiddleman.com.)

Showrooms and Pop-Ups to Visit

New York City

Brooklinen just opened up a pop-up in SoHo, which is becoming the place for direct to consumer brands.

Address: 119 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
Read more: Brooklinen brand feature and links

Glossier just opened their new 2-story flagship store!

Address: 123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
Read more: Glossier brand feature and links

Snowe has a cool showroom near the Flatiron building, check it out!

Address: 168 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
Read more: Snowe brand feature and links

Los Angeles

DSTLD is one of our favorite direct to consumer leaders (our glowing review of DSTLD). You can try out their awesome clothes in the City of Angels!

Address: 20929 Ventura Boulevard, Unit 10, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Read more: DSTLD brand feature and links

Midwest – Detroit

Vero Linens is an original leader in direct to consumer luxury sheets. You can visit them in beautiful Birmingham, Michigan (northwest suburb of Detroit).

Address: 205 N Old Woodward Ave, Suite #201, Birmingham, MI 48009
Read more: Vero Linens brand feature and links

(And if you’re in Detroit, check out the Floyd showroom as well!)

Other Cities

Want to see where all 200+ of our direct to consumer favorites are headquartered? Check out our map of direct to consumer brands. Many of them have a showroom near you!

And do you know of other awesome DTC brands with retail stores or pop-ups we should feature? Drop us a line at yourfriends@nomiddleman.com.

That’s All, Folks

That’s a wrap! To be notified when our roundup of DTC news is published, subscribe to our DTC Insiders list here: https://www.nomiddleman.com/dtc. And if you’ve got friends in the industry, feel free to invite them to the party!