Wednesday's Big Briefing:

The layoffs continue: Away becomes the latest big DNVB to announce a massive layoff and furlough sweep. Half of their team has just been let go.

Not looking good | Wayward Blog
The Short Shrift.
Reading between the lines: The Great Layoff of 2020 continues apace for many brands, and the latest big name to be affected, with regards to blue-chip DNVBs, is Away. After having to navigate the Steph Korey resignation saga in December and January, they’re now hit with this. Folks just aren't buying luggage right now––this goes for Rimowa and others too, not just Away. Sales for the brand have collapsed by 90%, requiring the need for action. The founders (or their PR) posted their perspective in a Medium post, but TechCrunch gives you the superior perspective here.

👉Get smarter: Read the report here...
Lean Luxe: Quarterly Partners
New opportunities for Q2 2020
**Heads up: We're now taking sponsors for Q2 2020 🙌🙌
Under our new schedule, which started in Q1, sponsorships will now be open across two tiers: Gold Tier (9 total placements per quarter) and Silver Tier (6 total placements per quarter). We're limiting this to (4) partners for each tier. Potential partners go to: Lean Luxe: Quarterly Partnerships.

Fun fact: The document is also something of a "state of the publication" report––so even if you're not a potential sponsor, you might enjoy the progress report so far. Sponsors are free to get in touch with me directly. –– Paul

–– Email for sponsorship inquiries (please specify your package!)
Partner Focus: Elliot
A Word from our Sponsor
Q1 | March 2020

Elliot: Headless Commerce. Love at first site.

March Series | Edition No. 2 / 3.
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Many thanks to Elliot today. Their support makes Lean Luxe a better product. Learn more at:
Insights Corner
Wednesday: Taking Stock
Lucid observations
Grab Bag: Touring Drake's Toronto crib.
NASA brings back the old logo. Dating in captivity. HBO’s ‘The Scheme’. Thieves make off with a Van Gogh painting. Why Skype’s brand has deteriorated. “That’s what you do all day?” App purchases are surging. The 25 most anticipated albums of spring. Food52’s instant pot recipes. ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries drops this month. Chefs risk it all to feed the super rich. Try a sleeper wine. An eatery turned soup kitchen for the laid off. Tyler Cowen’s vision of a post-pandemic NYC. The latest from Nassim Nicolas Taleb. Dirty Lemon's parent company lays off 50%. Quibi goes live at a very favorable time. And a tour of Drake's new eye-popping pleasure dome.

The reinvention of the modern brand model?
There are several errors in this HBR report, particularly the suggestion that Native was launched by P&G (instead of acquired by them), but it’s still a decent piece worth reading as another resource in your thinking on the modern brand space evolution. A good explanation here that helps to frame the marketplace as it stands right now: “Meanwhile, investors have grown more sophisticated. Not only are there more consumer companies competing for venture dollars than ever before, but funders now have a decade’s worth of industry data to rely on when assessing performance. And if the initial flood of capital into the space prioritized revenue growth over profitability, the pendulum has begun to swing back the other way. After Casper’s lackluster February 2020 IPO and the FTC’s intervention to block Edgewell’s acquisition of Harry’s (the DTC razor company), we are witnessing something of a correction: unit economics are all of a sudden in. Sustainable growth carries the day.”

Ana Andjelic: "Crises tell the truth about a brand".

Great read, as always from Lean Luxer Ana Andjelic. And while this entire piece, full of predictions and advice for brand building going forward, is worth the read, it’s this early passage that was the biggest takeaway for us: “Crises are great truth-tellers. Brands are, in real-time, going through the crash course in social responsibility, and there are already winners and losers. Winners acknowledge what their customers are going through. Losers are pitching Mother’s Day sales and charging premium for medical masks on eBay. Crises tell the truth about a company. They expose organizational and operational strengths and weaknesses. They challenge leadership. They bring on business disruption, revenue drops, layoffs, and the pressure to reduce expenses and find new ways of making money.” Poignant.

The end of the influence economy?

Hot ticker here from Vanity Fair: “Authenticity [and the influencer mindset] is colliding terribly with a lack of self-awareness in the face of crisis.” Several examples of influencers acting silly during COVID are pointed out, none of which are all that surprising nor worth dwelling on here. But we do like the implications of it all, causing folks to reflect. Will people start ignoring the influencer space post-COVID? Remains to be seen. More on that point, some words of wisdom from Grace Clarke here on the report: “These aren’t the right questions. The right questions are: Do we really want to go back to brands being the main source of telling us (very biased) product information? Do we really think we will continue to use Instagram and not subconsciously absorb what we see? Every person in our life has influence on us, though not as powerful as someone we, individually, have deemed a good taste person to trust. [But the real] question is, will influencers still have as much ‘power’ over consumers now that they’ve been a little doxxed?”

👋Paul Munford, CEO / Editor
The Community
Lean Luxe: Connect
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The Ticker
Fresh, hot links
Lighter fare
“Stay Home, Take Care”
An excellent (digital) care package from Girls' Night In

Notion scoops up $50M in 36 hours
Money in the bank for a rainy day. NYT

A cool quarantine commercial from Trade Coffee
Good looks here. Marketing Dive
Parachute collabs with Madewell
For some COVID-appropriate women's sleepwear. Parachute x Madewell

Nécessaire introduced ‘Bergamot’
The first scent for the previously scentless skincare brand. Nécessaire

Highsnobiety’s commerce arm got canned
A crying shame, we loved their drops model. Digiday
** News or tips for The Ticker?  
Send tips on news, quotes, coverage, mentions in the media to

Comments, questions, tips?
Send a letter to the editor –– Paul Munford / @leanluxe

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