Friday's Big Briefing:

🔥🔥 Thriving in Quarantine: Peloton competitor Mirror is probably worth at least double its $300M valuation from last year, and is surging as folks sweat at the crib.

Who says solo founders can't soar? | TechCrunch
The Short Shrift.
Reading between the lines: CEO Brynn Putnam and Mirror zealously guard their numbers, but Forbes is estimating that 2019 revenue reached $45M and will surpass $100M this year, which Putnam confirmed. She says she also expects Mirror reach profitability by early 2021. Meanwhile, Lerer Hippeau's Ben Lerer says that, "It’s definitely one of the most exciting highfliers in the portfolio. This can be a very big business, as big as Peloton, over a shorter period of time." Putnam herself is worth at least $80M here––and after the Covid-19 boost, will probably be worth much, much more. Her challenge going forward: ensuring that Mirror becomes the new normal, versus a fleeting pandemic trend.

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Insights Corner
Friday: Taking Stock
Lucid observations
Grab Bag: John Steinbeck’s 1953 essay on Positano.
This would be extremely wise. Working life has entered a new era. The indoor climbing vine. Virtual summer camp for kids ages 6-11. Gagan Singh on thoughtful aggregation. 1985: When Rambo gripped the American psyche. No one’s living on Dubai’s man-made islands. The intoxicating springtime scent of southern magnolia. Quarantine hookup stories. How the Black Death yielded British pub culture. Sega turns 60. A guide to staying safe this summer. “A stench of desperation permeates the manic buffet of content on Quibi.” Tyson to fight bare knuckle for $20M. ‘Twin Peaks’ pairs well with lockdown mood. Pamela Anderson’s Garden of Eden. Ressence did an experiment with Sotheby’s. How yogurt reflects our food trends. The EPL returns on June 17th. And Steinbeck’s 1953 essay on Positano is a must read.

'The Quaint Economy.'
Great commentary here from Derek Guy on what we could expect in terms of the HENRY consumer mindset from here on out. The summary? A return to 'The Quaint Economy' from a decade ago when expertise, story, and small batch were prized. Mr. Guy frames this from the lens of menswear, but the explanation could be applied across the board just the same. Key thought here: "Guillermo Dominguez, a portfolio manager for New River Investments, came up with a good term a few years ago for the new economy he was seeing emerge out of his quickly gentrifying neighborhood. 'The Quaint Economy,' as he called it, was one where businesses sell the story of how something was made, not really the thing itself. 'It’s our desire to drink cocktails out of mason jars, rather than mass-produced glasses at Ikea, at a bar covered in reclaimed wood from a barn in Kentucky rather than something you’d find in the interior of a DMV.' It’s the consumer quest for all things 'authentic' and 'pre-modern,' conflating quality with nostalgia. The quainter the story, the better. The term started as a joke in 2014, but it perfectly described an aesthetic that had been bubbling since the early aughts. The Quaint Economy is about artisanal products made for and by buffalo-plaid-wearing Millennials living somewhere in Brooklyn. Cynicism about corporations, modern life, and capitalism itself led many to seek “authenticity,” which often meant turning to the past for inspiration." 

Lean Luxers debate the Allbirds–Adidas partnership.
Allbirds nestles up with Allbirds for a new shoe without a carbon footprint, and while it’s a very clever, 'of-the-now' mission, the dialog between the brands’ official Twitter accounts announcing the team-up is, we hate to say, simply atrocious. That being said, the news did spark some intelligent debate between Lean Luxers yesterday. Emily Singer had this to say: "They're not rivals. This partnership is weird, but is still mutually beneficial. Allbirds lends Adidas sustainability cred, and Adidas knows how to build a real trainer / athletic shoe (which Allbirds lacks)". Michael Miraflor subsequently chimed in with this: "Allbirds launched their running shoes recently, so just from a category POV they are direct competitor (more like a David v Goliath tho), but they are certainly not rivals. I think this might be an IP play by Allbirds so they can be to big shoe companies what Tesla is to BMW, or what Gore-Tex is to multiple brands. Would be an exciting direction to chase growth." Expect to see more news on this as the shoes near their drop date.

Recess out here making moves.
Benjamin Witte and the Recess team has been front and center in the Lean Luxe world for some time now, but they've held steady on just three flavors since launching in 2018. That's all changed now, new flavors have been introduced, and with them some welcome expansion in other areas of the brand too: "Recess launched a redesigned website, alongside some new revenue streams. The company now has subscriptions, where customers can save $10 per case by placing a recurring order every two, four or eight weeks. It is also now selling its own line of merchandise, and plans to do limited-edition drops in collaboration with other artists or brands. And, the company has launched a new ordering system for wholesale vendors, where they can apply to sell Recess in their stores directly on Recess’ website; when approved, the vendors can place orders directly through the website instead of through a salesperson."

👋Paul Munford, CEO / Editor
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The Ticker
Fresh, hot links
Lighter fare
Peloton and ESPN are doing a thang
Brilliant and overdue. ESPN

Caraway locks in $5.3M
And it’s eyeing new cookware categories. TechCrunch

On kombucha, waste, and culinary applications
The latest (fermented) drop from Why Is This Interesting.
Tia (women’s health) scoops $24M Series A
Congrats to Carolyn Witte (sister of Recess’ Benjamin Witte) and the team. TechCrunch

Stori: Smart weed storage
Clever and stylist solution to your green storage needs. Stori

The great farm box boom
This probably relates to you, or someone you know. Serious Eats
** News or tips for The Ticker?  
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Send a letter to the editor –– Paul Munford / @leanluxe

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