Thursday's Big Briefing:

🔥🔥 There's no winner-take-all market: 'The billion dollar brand fallacy, and how Casper, Harry's, and the rest can survive this period given the new reality.'

It's hard to build a billion dollar brand, as Casper and others have found | Casper
The Short Shrift.
Reading between the lines: This gets a little more into the enterprise-side weeds than the articles we typically like to include here, but the insights inside are worth it. Plus, as we've been saying, and as the author Alex Song argues perfectly here:, "applying unicorn expectations to a DTC startup is fundamentally misguided given the very different business fundamentals of consumer brands compared to other technology companies. Unlike other tech categories, like Instagram or Airbnb, DTC is not a winner-take-all market. There is a natural ceiling for scaling consumer brands, as evidenced by the fact that it took Procter & Gamble almost 200 years to build 22 brands worth more than $1 billion without being able to build a single $10 billion brand." So what should we expect from them moving forward?

👉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 🙌🙌
Sponsorships are 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 per 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!)
In Association with: White Ops
A Word from our Sponsor
Q2 | April 2020

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Many thanks to White Ops today. Their support makes Lean Luxe a better product. Learn more at:
Insights Corner
Thursday: Taking Stock
Lucid observations
Grab Bag: The permanent shift in how we date.
Incognito windows remain undefeated. Somehow Bojan Krkic is almost 30. Should podcasts only be free? There’s no reason to be bored right now. HBO Max is a branding disaster. Get your Ghostly International totes here. 1,400 miles and 2,207 horsepower. Business news is surging back. The return of full court prep? Soccer players don’t want to return this soon. So much for staying at home. ‘Billions’ is back baby. You already knew Zoom fatigue was coming. JCrew to go bankrupt? How weed became whatever. Hollywood’s got a new ‘it’ drug. The Gentlewoman profiles Tessa Thompson. Airlines are still flying crowded planes. A permanent new shift in how we date.

Packy McCormick’s insights on Clubhouse are *chef's kiss*.
By now you've certainly heard of the new social platform-du-jour, Clubhouse. Naturally, there are plenty of hot takes and Medium type analyses on it. Of all of them, it's Packy McCormick's that you need to read: "Nathan Baschez, a writer and early Clubhouse invitee, describes it as 'halfway between a podcast and a party' (or in our case, a Zoom party). . . It's thriving [due to] the perception of scarcity. Clubhouse’s founder Paul Davison carefully curated the first group of users from among the most Twitter-famous people in tech and VC. These are not only people he knew others would want to hang out with, but people he knew would signal their involvement to millions, creating a strong sense of FOMO. Davison’s careful curation created the perception of scarcity by making Clubhouse seem exclusive. While everyone else is begging “please!” Clubhouse is telling them “no.” It’s the one velvet rope in a world of two-for-one happy hours hawked by overeager promoters. If Davison had begged everyone on Twitter to join a live virtual conversation, they would have declined. Because he told them they weren’t invited, they wanted in." Spot on.

Darren Herman: 'The MSCHF masterpiece.'
MSCHF just dropped their latest project called 'Severed Spots' (pictured above) where they cut up a Damien Hirst dot print and sold each dot individually. Naturally it sold out in minutes. But, as OG Lean Luxer Darren Herman notes, there's a system at play here from MSCHF and others like them: product, partnerships, and community. The key portions that have us nodding the most come from the product and community aspects: "Product: [each] product…feels premium, exclusive, and ridiculously social. . . . [And Community:] Each of these three companies has built communities that want to hear from them, wear their brands, and want to connect both online and offline.  The multiplier effect of the community is tremendous––and enables these companies to sell products quickly and build deeper relationships with their fans." Preach it, brother.

Some smart Lean Luxe context on that new Shopify app.
We actively avoid covering strictly e-commerce and tech-related stories––we frankly just don’t find them all the interesting as subjects (and you can find that coverage anywhere). But this latest move from Shopify struck us as interesting, in that it’s a smart solution that applies to many upstart brands. Two Lean Luxers lend some intelligent context on how to make sense of the Shop app. Here's Ryan Markman: "Shopify has mostly resisted the urge to move more towards a marketplace that aggregates listings from their sellers (which is a fairly different business than they are in, see Tictail for more insight into the difficulties of doing both really well). An app is a pretty smart place to start though because building an app for your ecomm store is a pain, and most consumers don't want to download an app for every store they want to buy from." And Phil Soriano adds: "It’s a half step towards the marketplace model. I wouldn’t be surprised if this opened up a whole new ecosystem: 'product recommendations' scream an opportunity for advertising. This could be the eventual avenue to test social shopping, which has been huge in China, but hasn’t quite caught on in the West." Wisdom, folks.

👋Paul Munford, CEO / Editor
The Community
Lean Luxe: Connect
Our invite-only Slack channel
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The Ticker
Fresh, hot links
Lighter fare
Vice is giving Scott Galloway his own TV show
You know it’s about to get real. Variety

Hot read: Walt Disney, city architect
The future of cities is becoming a crucial storyline. David Perell

Alton Brown’s ‘Quarantine Kitchen'
Is must-watch pandemic viewing. Fast Company
Architectural Digest relaunches ‘Clever’
Michael Miraflor: “AD’s take on Wirecutter, but with a design lens.” Adage

Is anyone still shopping for clothes right now?
WSJ’s Jake Gallagher asks a great question. WSJ

🔥Streets of Rage 4 just launched
The exact the kind of modern nostalgia we need right now. The Verge

** 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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