Why didn’t all brands see it coming?

Each generation is different.  Over a decade ago, we saw the Millennials begin to rise.  The one thing that came across quite clear is that with the rise of social media, everyone wants to be their own brand.  Nobody wants to wear the same thing as everyone else, everyone wants to be an individual.  We can amplify our individuality on Instagram and Snapchat.

Supreme figured it out.  They understood that constantly turning their inventory was the way to build a business around individuals.  Editions work particularly well when you can manufacture clothing closer to the season and in small batches.

Most older brands stuck with what has worked in the past but the thing is that golden handcuffs of the past never last forever.  Things tend to continue along until one day they don’t and when they don’t, you are fucked because shifting into a new business model doesn’t happen overnight.

Many of the young brands starting with Warby Parker to Parachute to Away to All Birds have all been built with new models in mind using technology to acquire loyal customers.  Some have spent absurd amounts of cash and we will see how that pans out while others have been scrappy with cash and have built solid businesses.  Their product works and resonates.  Spending lots of cash doesn’t always work even though the formula might have worked for others.  Building brands are like building buildings.  Even if you have built 100 buildings, the 101st takes on a life of its own.  There are always countless components involved.

I read this week that Wedgewood, that was founded in 1759, is shifting to appeal to the next generation.  Brilliant move if they want to be around in 2079.  Not sure why it has taken some brands this long to get on the bandwagon for the next generation but if they have learned anything, I would hope that they would be trying to understand Generation Z now instead of taking ten years to understand Millennials or they won’t be around to sell to Generation Z.

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    I like the new model of avoiding distribution altogether. A jean company I learned about is doing this. I am going to check them out. Great trousers for $59. https://dearborndenim.us/

    1. awaldstein

      I buy everything–just about–online.This is not possible for the most important thing–that is our perishable food.The platform for innovation for perishable food brands–aka Whole Foods–is now gone. As they gobble up the largest distributors we have a serious problem.The answer can only be rethinking urban farming and local in a new way.

      1. Gotham Gal

        Urban farming is en route.

        1. awaldstein

          Do post on this sometime or share some links.Something I should do some advising around, even pro bono as it is something I both believe and a segment I know a lot about.

          1. Gotham Gal

            Will do

      2. JLM

        .What do you base the idea that WF, as a platform for innovation, is gone?I shopped today at the WF flagship store at the corner of Sixth and Lamar Blvd in Austin and the store is better than ever with a broader selection and vastly better prices since Amazon bought them.They also have already upped their remote ordering, local pickup option. I can order on the web, tell them when I’m coming to the store, get a text of the bin #, and drive to the store and pick it up. Already paid for.I do the exact same thing with Walmart. Walmart’s service is much better as I don’t even have to get out of the car. When I arrive, I call them and they bring it out to my car. They then go down the order with me, verify I have it all, and put it in my car. Their packaging is better than going into the store.Walmart carries organic fruits and vegetables though I am accustomed to buying all that stuff at WF or Central Market (HEB’s version of WF).I see a much brighter future for organic food with the marriage between WF and Amazon.JLMwww.themusingsoftheibigredc…

    2. JLM

      .How does this differ from buying Wranglers from Amazon?I used to get my khakis from a company in Houston — Railhead — which would add 1.5″ to to the crotch for comfort. They went out of business. They used this incredible khaki which has lasted more than 25 years.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. LE

        After buying Levis 505’s for years (which are now on Amazon) I settled into buying LL Bean at $39 per pair. They feel as comfortable as I need them to be. And they ship the next day. Plus any issues with merchandise I can take them back to LL Bean in the same shopping center as the Apple Store. LL Bean is one of those places that charges enough to be able to take something back at any time in the future. Years later. I also buy my 100% cotton tshirts from them as well. I bought things for a trip, didn’t need them on the trip and returned them.Kudos to Dearborn for creating a story that people fall go for. Not for me. I don’t really think about buying (in all honesty) according to whether a company (claims) to pay a ‘living wage’ or not. What does that even mean? Would be curious if in a blind fit test they are any better than what I am wearing now which are as comfortable as I need them to be.

        1. JLM

          .I love LL Bean. They have great stuff. I wear their lined khakis and jeans in Colorado. Best cold weather pants ever.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. JLM

    .There is an “artificial scarcity” model emerging with modestly fashionable clothing.A company has a fairly small quantity of goods made, contacts their best customers, sells through, and has no inventory returns. They do not order additional inventory. The model itself begins to create demand because of its exclusivity.I am seeing that model fairly often.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. Maya Penn

    This article is right on point. If I could further add on to that, Millennials and Gen Z like myself (I’m 17) tend to lean toward brands that are more conscious. Being in the eco-fashion space for 9 years, I’ve seen how much demand for my sustainable designs has grown due to more consumers becoming aware of the impact their dollars have on the planet. Also the unique and limited run aspect of my pieces adds a ton of value. Even major brands are reaching out to partner with me to help them reach a more sustainably conscious audience. -Maya Penn

    1. Gotham Gal

      Maya, Nice to see your name pop up in this feed