Himalaya-The Podcast Player

4.8K Ratings
Open In App
title

The Modern Retail Podcast

Digiday

15
Followers
12
Plays
The Modern Retail Podcast

The Modern Retail Podcast

Digiday

15
Followers
12
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Details

About Us

The Modern Retail Podcast hears from executives in the retail space, from legacy companies to the buzzy world of DTC startups. Shareen Pathak, Digiday's managing director of editorial products, hosts.

Latest Episodes

'It's completely inverted': Sanzo founder Sandro Roco on the coronavirus's effect on DTC demand

Before the pandemic, the zero (or low) sugar beverage brand Sanzo had all the scrappy upstart charm and aesthetic of a DTC brand. But, it still sold mostly through wholesale -- 70 to 80%, in founder Sandro Roco's estimate. That's changed. "Since the pandemic, it's completely inverted, and even more extremely so," Roco said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "During this pandemic, if you're looking at CPG sales and specifically sparkling water, a lot more folks are willing to order sparkling water to their home than many other CPG categories." That's good for Sanzo, which sells 12-packs of "Asian-inspired sparkling water" online, where subscriptions are possible, but also through bodegas, grocery stores, and soon, 50 Whole Foods outlets in the Tri-State area. Depressed advertising costs at the start of the pandemic led the company to "dust off the DTC playbook pretty quickly," according to Roco. "I don't know that there will ever be an opportunity for a digital marketer like what we had in March and April," Roco said. "You had the combination of the powerful targeting that Facebook and Instagram have to offer -- which, obviously there's a whole other consumer conversation around data privacy and what not, but at least to a marketer, it's still a very robust advertising engine -- with also CPMs or ad rates that you've just never seen on this platform." Sanzo has also partnered with the Coca-Cola backed Iris Nova, through which it's benefitted from their text order platform.

37 MIN2 d ago
Comments
'It's completely inverted': Sanzo founder Sandro Roco on the coronavirus's effect on DTC demand

How Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer fashioned an olive oil company after beauty brands

Aishwarya Iyer started Brightland, an olive oil company, in 2018 with the idea of describing the products like wine and marketing it like a beauty brand. "Beauty leads the way in terms of talking about benefits, packaging -- the shine and glimmer that beauty's able to do, food just isn't able to do that. Maybe there are some standouts!" Iyer said on the Modern Retail Podcast. What's more, many DTC beauty brands rely on less traditional revenue channels, like big box retailers. Over the last few months, large wholesale sales have gone down for Brightland -- so it's had to focus much more on digital sales and smaller retail partnerships."Everything's kind of moving back to this quote unquote normal place, save for the larger retailers still because they still probably have inventory on hand," Iyer said. Growing in wholesale's place are digital sales, according to Iyer, as well as and inbounds from gift box companies.

40 MIN1 w ago
Comments
How Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer fashioned an olive oil company after beauty brands

'An incredible return to activity': StockX CMO Deena Bahri on how sneakerheads are still spending

Business lost to the pandemic has rebounded for StockX, an online marketplace where people selling and buying items -- sneakers, mainly -- negotiate on a price before StockX provides authentication and shipping. "We've seen an incredible return to activity in the marketplace," StockX CMO Deena Bahri said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "By mid-April we started to see an incredible return back to normal -- and even better than normal -- shopping behaviors." That's the case even though the company cut its spending on "anything that's not directly attributable to measurable growth," Bahri said. StockX reduced its spending on linear TV and marketing at cultural events. "The more conservative stance on marketing spend has not had a negative impact on business, very fortunately," Bahri said. The Detroit-based company was founded in 2015 with an exclusive focus on sneakers. It's diversified into other streetwear, watches, trading cards and electronics. But shoes are still the main attraction. Sneakerheads and other consumers may even be turning to shoes as smart investments. A scrolling tape across the bottom of StockX's homepage announces which footwear is up or down in the market. "Our trend partners that we work with, and some of the things we've observed on our own, indicate that people are more prone during a time like this to spend on things that are investments, classics, items that will endure," Bahri said.

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
'An incredible return to activity': StockX CMO Deena Bahri on how sneakerheads are still spending

Trade Coffee CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes on capturing the at-home brewing market

The professional world may have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but there is one thing that still powers our workday: coffee. The subscription-based Trade Coffee, for one, has seen its mail-in customer base go up by a factor of 10, alongside other food startups that have seen a bump in subscriptions. Earlier this year, company CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes told Modern Retail that the company was on track to ship its millionth bag of coffee sometime in 2020. It also started selling five pound bags -- the size roasters typically sell to office spaces -- as people drink more coffee at home. Launched in 2018, the company connects customers with their network of 55 roasters. It takes coffee seriously enough to borrow the language of dating apps, inviting subscribers to "get matched" with the best roasted beans for them. To bring customers in in the first place, Trade Coffee is focused on dominating SEO terms around the drink, and on creating useful content for people curious to learn more. "We see that our role as a brand but also as a growth tactic is in being the educational voice for coffee," Spencer Barnes said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "Surprisingly, there weren't that many incumbents in that space before." Trade Coffee is focused on how-tos and videos about the brewers that customers support. Next, it's looking to grow on YouTube. "That's where people are consuming content and nerding out, if you will, wanting to go down that rabbit hole. That's the nature of coffee. You get into it a little bit and then you want to keep going further."

41 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Trade Coffee CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes on capturing the at-home brewing market

Cat Person co-founder Jimmy Wu on how the pet supplies industry could be pandemic-proof

As existing commerce companies adapt to survive a global pandemic, Jimmy Wu instead launched one. Cat Person sells cat food, toys, furniture and treats in a market that Wu sees as skewed toward dog owners. The coronavirus gave pause to Wu and his co-founder, Harry's alumnus Lambert Wang. "If we were in another category in another industry -- selling travel accessories, luxury fashion -- we probably would have made a harder decision" about delaying the brand's launch, Wu said on the Modern Retail Podcast. But more time at home has inevitably led to cat owners spending more time with their pets. "It felt like it actually was a good moment for us to launch, that people actually needed a service and products to help better connect and have a better relationship and interaction with their cat," Wu said. Since its start in late March, items like cat toys and treats have sold at three or four times the rate Wu first expected. Wu talked about why you won't find Cat Person on Amazon, his take on the DTC revolution and how the company's packaging itself can be turned into cat-pleasing objects.

38 MINJUN 11
Comments
Cat Person co-founder Jimmy Wu on how the pet supplies industry could be pandemic-proof

'This year you won't be buying DTC suitcases': The Inside founder Christiane Lemieux on why home brands are seeing a boom

Retail stores are slowly reopening, but Christiane Lemieux, founder of the DTC furniture brand The Inside, still thinks people will want to invest most in the place they're spending most of their time: the home. "What you will be doing is focusing your time and disposable spend on making your home into everything it should be -- not only for now, but for what the future of our lives is going to look like," Lemieux said on the Modern Retail Podcast (people are spending so much time in doors, in fact, that Lemieux thinks a baby boom will hit in January). The Inside meets its demand through a "made to order" model -- a piece of furniture isn't built until a customer buys it online. "I think 'made on demand' is the manufacturing of the future," said Lemieux. "It's so much better for the environment. There's no warehouses full of imported product just sitting there." In her case, it's also made the company more resistant to the supply chain disruptions roiling the world. "Having a domestic manufacturing base has allowed us to continue to produce even during this particular and very challenging situation." "We don't make anything until you place your order. There's people in my cohort who do the same thing with shampoo and vitamins. It's in every category at this point," Lemieux said. One or two of The Inside's factories still had to shut down -- one on the U.S.-Mexico border, the other in Illinois -- until the national policy that deemed manufacturers to be an essential service allowed them to operate again, according to Lemieux.

36 MINJUN 4
Comments
'This year you won't be buying DTC suitcases': The Inside founder Christiane Lemieux on why home brands are seeing a boom

Homebrew's Hunter Walk: The current crisis is a second punch for DTC, not the first

Looking to the past doesn't always work. For one, many current founders or CEOs were "still in high school" during the last economic crisis, according to Homebrew partner and co-founder Hunter Walk. For another, even for those entrepreneurs who survived the last global downturn, the big takeaways might not apply to current circumstances. "The answers from those entrepreneurs in 2008 may or not be the right answers for companies in 2020. But the questions they asked themselves might be the things that are evergreen. And so asking some of those questions of yourself as a founder who might be going through this the first time -- I think that's where it gets valuable," Walk said on the Modern Retail Podcast. Homebrew, the investment company Walk co-founded in 2013, has invested in companies ranging from the worlds of kids' clothing to aerospace technology and farming robots. Another evergreen spot for him is in the qualities of the founders he invests in, "which have remained consistent and help us do our job during a time like this," Walk said. "You ask yourself 'why is this founder working to solve this problem?' And if the answer is something that usually comes from a personal interest in the problem, a deep insight or connection, then when they hit a speed bump (or in this case a very large speed bump, from a global standpoint) they don't stop. They pause, maybe, and say 'OK, how do I have to rethink my business?' But they're not just doing this opportunistically. They're doing it because they couldn't imaging doing anything else."

41 MINMAY 28
Comments
Homebrew's Hunter Walk: The current crisis is a second punch for DTC, not the first

Grove Collaborative CEO Stuart Landesberg: A culture of expense discipline is key

For a time, Grove Collaborative was one of the rare places where you could order reasonably-priced hand sanitizer online. That availability wasn't for a lack of demand. "Demand had been building, and all of a sudden for a week it was off the charts. And we had a big decision to make that week," CEO Stuart Landesberg said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "Do we want to prioritize our existing customers or do we want to prioritize going after new customers? Grove ended up focusing on existing customers, and limiting orders on certain items, allowing it to stay under its maximum shipping time of four days. "We probably left a lot of money on the table by doing that, in the short term," Landesberg said. But he reckons that that kind of consistency for the eco-conscious home supplies company -- which hit unicorn status last year -- will allow it to thrive in the long term. "Having clear and virtuous values and then ruthlessly sticking to them is essential to creating 100-year brands," Landesberg said.

35 MINMAY 21
Comments
Grove Collaborative CEO Stuart Landesberg: A culture of expense discipline is key

Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson on investing in times of crisis

Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson describes himself as a cautious investor, especially in times of uncertainty like today. That comes in handy during a time of crisis. For Isacson, this has been a good time particularly to invest in certain companies, especially in grocery and consumer goods that can weather a recession. "The new funds that are being deployed over the next 24, 36 months are likely to be very good vintages, much like the '09 and '10 funds were excellent vintages," Isacson said on the Modern Retail Podcast. Isacson lists four big lessons derived from 2008: rethinking how demand will be impacted ("consumers are going to trade down to private label during times like this"); creating backup in supply chains given the possibility of supplier bankruptcy; honesty in leadership about the uncertain times ahead; and liquidity. "Private capital markets are not always going to be there to fund your business even though you as a business might be doing well. Or even if they are, the terms just might not be as attractive," Isacson said.

35 MINMAY 14
Comments
Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson on investing in times of crisis

'I don't think anyone will ever be able to pay what they were paying before': Lunya founder Ashley Merrill on the future of real estate

Biossance president Catherine Gore has always considered skin care as medically significant, and believes customers will be more inclined to share that thinking as coronavirus lockdowns continue around the world. "Our skin is our largest organ, and it's also our first line of defense against outside aggressors," Gore said on the latest Glossy Beauty podcast. Education is a big part of Biossance's marketing strategy and value to customers. One of Biossance's central ingredients for skin care, for instance, is squalane, which it derives biochemically from sugar cane -- the larger cosmetics industry sourced a similar squalene (with an e) from a not-so-vegan source: shark liver. That makes a big difference for the typical customer who has more time to do her research, according to Gore: "What's actually driving her is a curiosity to do better for her own skin and the planet and to make better choices," she said.

31 MINMAY 7
Comments
'I don't think anyone will ever be able to pay what they were paying before': Lunya founder Ashley Merrill on the future of real estate

Latest Episodes

'It's completely inverted': Sanzo founder Sandro Roco on the coronavirus's effect on DTC demand

Before the pandemic, the zero (or low) sugar beverage brand Sanzo had all the scrappy upstart charm and aesthetic of a DTC brand. But, it still sold mostly through wholesale -- 70 to 80%, in founder Sandro Roco's estimate. That's changed. "Since the pandemic, it's completely inverted, and even more extremely so," Roco said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "During this pandemic, if you're looking at CPG sales and specifically sparkling water, a lot more folks are willing to order sparkling water to their home than many other CPG categories." That's good for Sanzo, which sells 12-packs of "Asian-inspired sparkling water" online, where subscriptions are possible, but also through bodegas, grocery stores, and soon, 50 Whole Foods outlets in the Tri-State area. Depressed advertising costs at the start of the pandemic led the company to "dust off the DTC playbook pretty quickly," according to Roco. "I don't know that there will ever be an opportunity for a digital marketer like what we had in March and April," Roco said. "You had the combination of the powerful targeting that Facebook and Instagram have to offer -- which, obviously there's a whole other consumer conversation around data privacy and what not, but at least to a marketer, it's still a very robust advertising engine -- with also CPMs or ad rates that you've just never seen on this platform." Sanzo has also partnered with the Coca-Cola backed Iris Nova, through which it's benefitted from their text order platform.

37 MIN2 d ago
Comments
'It's completely inverted': Sanzo founder Sandro Roco on the coronavirus's effect on DTC demand

How Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer fashioned an olive oil company after beauty brands

Aishwarya Iyer started Brightland, an olive oil company, in 2018 with the idea of describing the products like wine and marketing it like a beauty brand. "Beauty leads the way in terms of talking about benefits, packaging -- the shine and glimmer that beauty's able to do, food just isn't able to do that. Maybe there are some standouts!" Iyer said on the Modern Retail Podcast. What's more, many DTC beauty brands rely on less traditional revenue channels, like big box retailers. Over the last few months, large wholesale sales have gone down for Brightland -- so it's had to focus much more on digital sales and smaller retail partnerships."Everything's kind of moving back to this quote unquote normal place, save for the larger retailers still because they still probably have inventory on hand," Iyer said. Growing in wholesale's place are digital sales, according to Iyer, as well as and inbounds from gift box companies.

40 MIN1 w ago
Comments
How Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer fashioned an olive oil company after beauty brands

'An incredible return to activity': StockX CMO Deena Bahri on how sneakerheads are still spending

Business lost to the pandemic has rebounded for StockX, an online marketplace where people selling and buying items -- sneakers, mainly -- negotiate on a price before StockX provides authentication and shipping. "We've seen an incredible return to activity in the marketplace," StockX CMO Deena Bahri said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "By mid-April we started to see an incredible return back to normal -- and even better than normal -- shopping behaviors." That's the case even though the company cut its spending on "anything that's not directly attributable to measurable growth," Bahri said. StockX reduced its spending on linear TV and marketing at cultural events. "The more conservative stance on marketing spend has not had a negative impact on business, very fortunately," Bahri said. The Detroit-based company was founded in 2015 with an exclusive focus on sneakers. It's diversified into other streetwear, watches, trading cards and electronics. But shoes are still the main attraction. Sneakerheads and other consumers may even be turning to shoes as smart investments. A scrolling tape across the bottom of StockX's homepage announces which footwear is up or down in the market. "Our trend partners that we work with, and some of the things we've observed on our own, indicate that people are more prone during a time like this to spend on things that are investments, classics, items that will endure," Bahri said.

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
'An incredible return to activity': StockX CMO Deena Bahri on how sneakerheads are still spending

Trade Coffee CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes on capturing the at-home brewing market

The professional world may have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but there is one thing that still powers our workday: coffee. The subscription-based Trade Coffee, for one, has seen its mail-in customer base go up by a factor of 10, alongside other food startups that have seen a bump in subscriptions. Earlier this year, company CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes told Modern Retail that the company was on track to ship its millionth bag of coffee sometime in 2020. It also started selling five pound bags -- the size roasters typically sell to office spaces -- as people drink more coffee at home. Launched in 2018, the company connects customers with their network of 55 roasters. It takes coffee seriously enough to borrow the language of dating apps, inviting subscribers to "get matched" with the best roasted beans for them. To bring customers in in the first place, Trade Coffee is focused on dominating SEO terms around the drink, and on creating useful content for people curious to learn more. "We see that our role as a brand but also as a growth tactic is in being the educational voice for coffee," Spencer Barnes said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "Surprisingly, there weren't that many incumbents in that space before." Trade Coffee is focused on how-tos and videos about the brewers that customers support. Next, it's looking to grow on YouTube. "That's where people are consuming content and nerding out, if you will, wanting to go down that rabbit hole. That's the nature of coffee. You get into it a little bit and then you want to keep going further."

41 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Trade Coffee CMO Melissa Spencer Barnes on capturing the at-home brewing market

Cat Person co-founder Jimmy Wu on how the pet supplies industry could be pandemic-proof

As existing commerce companies adapt to survive a global pandemic, Jimmy Wu instead launched one. Cat Person sells cat food, toys, furniture and treats in a market that Wu sees as skewed toward dog owners. The coronavirus gave pause to Wu and his co-founder, Harry's alumnus Lambert Wang. "If we were in another category in another industry -- selling travel accessories, luxury fashion -- we probably would have made a harder decision" about delaying the brand's launch, Wu said on the Modern Retail Podcast. But more time at home has inevitably led to cat owners spending more time with their pets. "It felt like it actually was a good moment for us to launch, that people actually needed a service and products to help better connect and have a better relationship and interaction with their cat," Wu said. Since its start in late March, items like cat toys and treats have sold at three or four times the rate Wu first expected. Wu talked about why you won't find Cat Person on Amazon, his take on the DTC revolution and how the company's packaging itself can be turned into cat-pleasing objects.

38 MINJUN 11
Comments
Cat Person co-founder Jimmy Wu on how the pet supplies industry could be pandemic-proof

'This year you won't be buying DTC suitcases': The Inside founder Christiane Lemieux on why home brands are seeing a boom

Retail stores are slowly reopening, but Christiane Lemieux, founder of the DTC furniture brand The Inside, still thinks people will want to invest most in the place they're spending most of their time: the home. "What you will be doing is focusing your time and disposable spend on making your home into everything it should be -- not only for now, but for what the future of our lives is going to look like," Lemieux said on the Modern Retail Podcast (people are spending so much time in doors, in fact, that Lemieux thinks a baby boom will hit in January). The Inside meets its demand through a "made to order" model -- a piece of furniture isn't built until a customer buys it online. "I think 'made on demand' is the manufacturing of the future," said Lemieux. "It's so much better for the environment. There's no warehouses full of imported product just sitting there." In her case, it's also made the company more resistant to the supply chain disruptions roiling the world. "Having a domestic manufacturing base has allowed us to continue to produce even during this particular and very challenging situation." "We don't make anything until you place your order. There's people in my cohort who do the same thing with shampoo and vitamins. It's in every category at this point," Lemieux said. One or two of The Inside's factories still had to shut down -- one on the U.S.-Mexico border, the other in Illinois -- until the national policy that deemed manufacturers to be an essential service allowed them to operate again, according to Lemieux.

36 MINJUN 4
Comments
'This year you won't be buying DTC suitcases': The Inside founder Christiane Lemieux on why home brands are seeing a boom

Homebrew's Hunter Walk: The current crisis is a second punch for DTC, not the first

Looking to the past doesn't always work. For one, many current founders or CEOs were "still in high school" during the last economic crisis, according to Homebrew partner and co-founder Hunter Walk. For another, even for those entrepreneurs who survived the last global downturn, the big takeaways might not apply to current circumstances. "The answers from those entrepreneurs in 2008 may or not be the right answers for companies in 2020. But the questions they asked themselves might be the things that are evergreen. And so asking some of those questions of yourself as a founder who might be going through this the first time -- I think that's where it gets valuable," Walk said on the Modern Retail Podcast. Homebrew, the investment company Walk co-founded in 2013, has invested in companies ranging from the worlds of kids' clothing to aerospace technology and farming robots. Another evergreen spot for him is in the qualities of the founders he invests in, "which have remained consistent and help us do our job during a time like this," Walk said. "You ask yourself 'why is this founder working to solve this problem?' And if the answer is something that usually comes from a personal interest in the problem, a deep insight or connection, then when they hit a speed bump (or in this case a very large speed bump, from a global standpoint) they don't stop. They pause, maybe, and say 'OK, how do I have to rethink my business?' But they're not just doing this opportunistically. They're doing it because they couldn't imaging doing anything else."

41 MINMAY 28
Comments
Homebrew's Hunter Walk: The current crisis is a second punch for DTC, not the first

Grove Collaborative CEO Stuart Landesberg: A culture of expense discipline is key

For a time, Grove Collaborative was one of the rare places where you could order reasonably-priced hand sanitizer online. That availability wasn't for a lack of demand. "Demand had been building, and all of a sudden for a week it was off the charts. And we had a big decision to make that week," CEO Stuart Landesberg said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "Do we want to prioritize our existing customers or do we want to prioritize going after new customers? Grove ended up focusing on existing customers, and limiting orders on certain items, allowing it to stay under its maximum shipping time of four days. "We probably left a lot of money on the table by doing that, in the short term," Landesberg said. But he reckons that that kind of consistency for the eco-conscious home supplies company -- which hit unicorn status last year -- will allow it to thrive in the long term. "Having clear and virtuous values and then ruthlessly sticking to them is essential to creating 100-year brands," Landesberg said.

35 MINMAY 21
Comments
Grove Collaborative CEO Stuart Landesberg: A culture of expense discipline is key

Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson on investing in times of crisis

Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson describes himself as a cautious investor, especially in times of uncertainty like today. That comes in handy during a time of crisis. For Isacson, this has been a good time particularly to invest in certain companies, especially in grocery and consumer goods that can weather a recession. "The new funds that are being deployed over the next 24, 36 months are likely to be very good vintages, much like the '09 and '10 funds were excellent vintages," Isacson said on the Modern Retail Podcast. Isacson lists four big lessons derived from 2008: rethinking how demand will be impacted ("consumers are going to trade down to private label during times like this"); creating backup in supply chains given the possibility of supplier bankruptcy; honesty in leadership about the uncertain times ahead; and liquidity. "Private capital markets are not always going to be there to fund your business even though you as a business might be doing well. Or even if they are, the terms just might not be as attractive," Isacson said.

35 MINMAY 14
Comments
Coefficient Capital co-founder Franklin Isacson on investing in times of crisis

'I don't think anyone will ever be able to pay what they were paying before': Lunya founder Ashley Merrill on the future of real estate

Biossance president Catherine Gore has always considered skin care as medically significant, and believes customers will be more inclined to share that thinking as coronavirus lockdowns continue around the world. "Our skin is our largest organ, and it's also our first line of defense against outside aggressors," Gore said on the latest Glossy Beauty podcast. Education is a big part of Biossance's marketing strategy and value to customers. One of Biossance's central ingredients for skin care, for instance, is squalane, which it derives biochemically from sugar cane -- the larger cosmetics industry sourced a similar squalene (with an e) from a not-so-vegan source: shark liver. That makes a big difference for the typical customer who has more time to do her research, according to Gore: "What's actually driving her is a curiosity to do better for her own skin and the planet and to make better choices," she said.

31 MINMAY 7
Comments
'I don't think anyone will ever be able to pay what they were paying before': Lunya founder Ashley Merrill on the future of real estate
hmly
Welcome to Himalaya LearningDozens of podcourses featuring over 100 experts are waiting for you.