Posts tagged with "Allbirds"

Online brands open stores in the suburbs to be closer to customers

April 14, 2022

As in-store shopping returns, small direct-to-consumer retailers like Allbirds and Parachute Home are counting on bricks to drive more clicks, reports NBC News.

Long before the pandemic forced the slow-moving giants of retail to fast-track their online operations—or risk going out of business—a growing number of online companies, including Everlane, Burrow ,and Allbirds, were catering to shoppers who preferred to scroll social media rather than roam their local malls.

Now, as the pandemic moves into its third year, many of those Millennial shoppers have traded in city life for the suburbs, where they can work remotely. And as many of those online brands open their first stores or add new ones as in-store shopping returns, they’re meeting their customers where they are—close to home.

The result is a “tapestry of stores,” which are narrowly targeted toward specific but often different types of customers, said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of Marketing with the retail location analytics company He points out that, as more of these digitally native companies expand into brick-and-mortar, they are starting to reshape shopping districts across the country.

“Pre-pandemic, the predominant store growth plan for more traditional store openings was starting with the A malls in the country and then street retail,” said Vince Tibone, a senior analyst with the commercial real estate research and advisory firm Green Street.

“Post-pandemic,” Tibone says, “you’re still seeing them open in those two venues, but also more suburban locations that are closer to people’s homes.”

That expansion comes on the heels of a boom in e-commerce during the past two years that shows no signs of letting up, despite the full reopening of the economy. Online sales now make up 14% of retail sales overall, and are expected to top $1 trillion this year, compared to just over $760 billion in 2020, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Still, brick-and-mortar remains the most powerful part of the equation. A recent report from Deloitte InsightQ found that 55% of shoppers who began their product search online made the purchase in a store. That trend is fueling a growing recognition that the combination of stores and websites produces the biggest payoff.

Retail was always part of the strategy,” said Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute Home, which began in 2014 as a direct-to-consumer company selling bedding products and grew into a high-end boutique retailer selling a curated collection of furniture, mattresses, and home goods. 

“Customers want to see and touch and feel products in person, and we knew there was an opportunity to improve and think about the retail shopping experience differently.”

Parachute has opened 15 stores since 2016 and plans to add another 15 this year. Unlike traditional furniture stores, with their expansive showrooms of products, Parachute Home’s stores are Instagram perfect, with an abundance of natural light, bleached wood, and minimalist furniture arrangements. Kaye said that in markets where the company has stores, she’s seen traffic to the website climb by 50%.

Like the vast majority of online retailers, Parachute Home has collected mountains of data on its customers, which it relies on to shape decisions about where to locate new stores. “We look to see where they [shoppers] are located and use proprietary data about their shopping behavior ” she said, adding, “We do love being in neighborhoods because a lot of people work from home. They step out on their lunch break and shop, and being close makes it easy to have that access.”

Being close is still a challenge for bigger retailers, which are only beginning to find their footing with smaller, more-targeted stores. Nordstrom has opened seven Nordstrom Local stores since 2017 that focus on services rather than just shopping. Customers can pick up and return online orders or arrange for alterations.

Macy’s new Market by Macy’s stores are less than one-quarter the size of a traditional Macy’s and offer personalized styling services along with a collection of products popular with shoppers.

Indeed, today’s retail landscape is no longer dominated by a few companies with hundreds of copy-and-paste stores across the country. It’s driven by a broader group of companies, often with online roots, that plan to open only a few dozen to a couple hundred shops nationwide, said Chernofsky with

Allbirds, whose sustainable wool shoes became popular in Silicon Valley and quickly caught on nationwide, opened its first store in 2017. By the end of last year, it had 35 locations worldwide. Travis Boyce, Allbird’s vice president of Business Development, said that people who shop with the company both in-store and online for at least a year spend 1.5 times more than shoppers who buy through a single channel.

“Brick-and-mortar retail has been central to our growth as a brand,” Boyce said.

“Online-only doesn’t work,” Chernofsky agrees. “You still need stores. I think that’s why they [internet retailers] generate so much excitement,” he added. “Because they’re this kind of amazing testament to the power of physical retail.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Pinterest TV: Site launches live; shoppable QVC-style episodes to drive ecommerce sales

November 2, 2021

Pinterest wants to turn more users into buyers with Pinterest TV—a series of live, shoppable episodes featuring top creators, Variety reports.

With Pinterest TV, creators can showcase and tag products to let users purchase them on the retailer’s site. Episodes air each weekday and will be recorded and available for users to watch on-demand. Beginning November 8, episodes will air at 3 p.m. (PT)/6 p.m. (ET ) in the United States. on the iOS version of the Pinterest app.

To view Pinterest TV episodes, users can click the TV icon in the upper left corner of the Pinterest app. In the livestreamed episodes, viewers can interact with hosts and ask questions via chat.

And each Friday, products will drop in a live shopping setting in which Pinterest users will be offered discounts from brands including Patagonia, Allbirds, Crown Affair, Melody Ehsani, Outdoor Voices, and Mented.

According to Variety, Pinterest isn’t disclosing specifics on revenue-sharing deals for Pinterest TV at this stage. A company spokesperson says each show and partnership has its own structure.

The image-sharing site recently rolled out several new ways for creators to monetize on Pinterest, including by earning commissions through affiliate links on Pins and by teaming with brands on sponsored content.

Creators on the platform who are among the first to launch shows on Pinterest TV,include fashion designer and “Project Runway” alum Christian Siriano; director and screenwriter Monica Suriyage, who will be joined by Pinterest food creators to show how to “unfail” holiday dishes; Tom Daley, Olympic diving gold medalist and knitting fanatic; beauty entrepreneur Manny Mua; and comedian Robyn Schall, who will showcase products from brands including Patagonia, Melody Ehsani and Crown Affair.

Pinterest hosts who are part of Pinterest TV will have tools to enable live shopping experiences, including a “product drawer” with prices and product details, product drops and brand collaborations, a display of how much inventory is left, and a “limited-time-offer” module to offer discounts.

According to research firm eMarketer, the number of U.S. social buyers on Pinterest grew 30.5% in 2020, for a total of 12 million. By the end of 2021, they expect that number to grow another 16.4% to reach 13.9 million.

Alongside Pinterest TV, Pinterest is launching a virtual studio where Pinterest producers work directly with each creator to develop unique content, providing “backstage” A/V support, and go live with engaging episodes.

Separately, last week Malik Ducard, VP of content partnerships at YouTube, left to join Pinterest as its chief content officer, tasked with driving the company’s push to tap into the creator economy.

Research contact: @Variety

‘Wigs are the next big thing’: Boston beauty startup simplifies purchase process for Black women

June 24, 2021

Mary Imevbore bought her first wig online in 2017 when she was attending Williams College in Massachusetts.

Like many Black women, she had decided to “go natural” years ago—forgoing damaging hair straightening treatments. But she had trouble finding a Black hair stylist in the rural Berkshires, and as a double major in political science and computer science, didn’t have much time to style her hair in a dorm room.

“I wanted something quick and easy, so I discovered wigs—but the shopping experience was terrible,” Imevbore recently told The Boston Globe.

It struck Imevbore that a better buying option didn’t exist “because the consumer is a Black woman.” So she teamed up with two Williams classmates, Tiiso McGinty and Susana Hawken, to create the kind of brand they would want to patronize.

After three years of work, the cofounders have officially launched beauty startup Waeve —pronounced “wave”— dropping a product line of six trendy, beginner-friendly wigs on a website designed with bold colors and a Gen Z aesthetic.

“We believe wigs are the next big thing in beauty and fashion,” Imevbore said. “We are building the ultimate destination.”

The 24-year old, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in Connecticut, said wigs are popular among Black women because wigs allow them to reclaim the time they would have spent styling their natural hair. She called them an “extension of the natural hair movement,” since Black women who ditched chemical relaxers were looking for other ways to express themselves through their hair without ruining it.

“The perception is that a wig is a utility, like you have one umbrella,” she explained to the Globe, “but that is not how people are wearing wigs … people are building wig collections.”

In college, she and her friends would spend hours vetting companies, comparing contradicting product reviews on YouTube, and grappling with varying delivery times and changing prices. That was in 2017, when companies such as eyewear retailer Warby Parker and beauty products seller Glossier were disrupting markets by reaching customers online instead of through stores.

Imevbore figured the same thing could happen with wigs, and although she never considered herself an entrepreneur, she began thinking like one.

“Wigs are an expensive product that is growing in demand; people are spending hundreds of dollars on them multiple times a year,” she said.

The market for wigs and hair extensions in North America is expected to reach $2 billion by 2026, according to French research firm Reportlinker, with Black consumers accounting for a big chunk of that spending.

The trio started with $30,000 after winning two business competitions in 2018—one at Williams and the other at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—to launch a direct-to-consumer wig business.

That same year Imevbore, McGinty, and Hawken were finishing up their senior year of college, and they all happened to be headed to Boston and moved in together. Imevbore worked as a software engineer at online pharmacy startup PillPack in Somerville — which was acquired by Amazon that year — while McGinty pursued a program at Boston University, and Hawken started on a PhD at MIT.

The momentum started building in 2020 when the company raised $2 million in a funding round led by Boston venture capital firm Pillar VC, with participation from Maveron, an investor in consumer companies such as Allbirds, eBay, and Everlane. Waeve also garnered high-profile support from three current and former executives of Glossier. And TJ Parker and Elliot Cohen, cofounders of Pill Pack, also participated in the round. (Imevbore worked at Pillpack through the Amazon acquisition until last year, when she decided to pursue Waeve full time).

Waeve exists in a world that hasn’t always welcomed, understood, or catered to Black hair. While that allowed the startup to fill a gap, it also led to challenges behind the scenes. Imevbore said there was a learning curve with potential investors, who didn’t immediately understand why consumers would buy more than one wig.

The numbers were not in Waeve’s favor, either: Crunchbase found that in 2020, less than 1% of all venture capital funding went to Black founders, and a similarly small slice of money went to startups founded by women.

“As a team, I remember us griping,” Imevbore said. “If we were selling lipstick or shoes, we wouldn’t have to explain why someone wants those things. People are buying [wigs] like handbags and sneakers, but [that] is something I had to convey to investors.”

The Waeve team began interviewing Black women about their hair experiences, gathering testimonials and videos to show investors they were tapping a segment that had long been overlooked. It worked and also became the foundation for Waeve World, a grassroots effort to build a community around the brand through shared experiences and hair advice.

According to the Globe, Waeve’s first collection, “Days of the Week,” is inspired by the idea that wigs are an accessory that can constantly change. The company worked with a manufacturer in China to design six initial styles—which range from a curly, middle-part wig to a platinum blonde, straight cut—and it will drop a new line every quarter. Ranging in price from $72 to $398, the wigs are delivered to the company’s distribution center and office in Boston, where employees package them into “starter kits” filled with additional supplies.

Imevbore said she wants to build the type of cult-like brand loyalty for Waeve that other online brands enjoy, and it’s starting with Boston. Waeve has nine full-time employees and more than 5,000 followers on Instagram, and is already hosting community events, such as a recent picnic in the Public Garden.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Allbirds, Acme Studios, Kidrobot, Monopoly and more curated for special capsule collection at The Met Store

August 25, 2020

Fifth Avenue on Saturday, August 29—especially among members and visitors, who just can’t wait to buy items from “The Met 150 Edit.”

In honor of the museum’s 150th anniversary, the Edit—a multi-designer capsule collection— will launch to the public on Tuesday, September 1, through The Met Store. The participating brands are Acme Studios, Allbirds, Baggu, Bulova, Catbird, Crewcuts by J. CrewEstée Lauder, Kidrobot, Mast, Native Union, and The Sill.

All proceeds from sales of The Met 150 Edit—both online and in-store—will support the museum’s collection, study, conservation and presentation of more than 5,000 years of art, according to a report by Women’s Wear Daily. Estée Lauder will donate all of the purchase price of each Estée Lauder item sold.

For their exclusive items, the brands drew inspiration from pieces in the museum’s permanent collection or its signature red. Online consumers will find inspiration about how each brand was inspired by select finds in The Met such as sixth-century-B.C. Peruvian ceramics ranging up to 20th-century paintings.

In addition to the multi-branded merchandise, the museum has other items that feature its historic and 150th logos., reports WWD. A century and a half of exhibitions has resulted in a lot of different art. Museum-goers will be able to take in some of those highlights in the “Making the Met, 1870-2020,” which will be on view as of Friday.

The museum recently unveiled another unique item — Monopoly: The Met Edition. The classic board game has been Met-ified, if you will, in that standout pieces from The Met’s 17 curatorial departments are featured in every aspect of the game. As they amass properties, players of the $50 game will be able to design museums of their own, by adding galleries and then wings.

Research contact: @wwd

Look ‘fly’: Allbirds is dropping five limited-edition sneakers for Earth Day

April 16, 2019

In celebration of Earth Day, on April 22, Allbirds has announced that, each day this week, the company will release one of five new limited-edition colors inspired by endangered birds.

More than one billion people in 192 nations now take part in what has become the largest civic-focused day of action worldwide—and Allbirds, the trendy, environmentally friendly footwear brand based in San Francisco, hopes that its customers will be wearing its new sneakers for the occasion.

All proceeds from sales of the new collection will be donated to the National Audubon Society. What’s more, the five birds that are the inspiration for Allbirds’ Earth Day shoe styles were chosen because they are featured in Audubon’s Birds and Climate Report: Species on the Brink—which shows that half of all birds in the U.S. are at risk of losing the places they call home because of climate change.

The Painted Redstart is found in the Southwest, the Scarlet Tanager migrates long distances, and the Mountain Bluebird is a voracious insect eater (93% of its diet), and although they are all very different birds, they may share a similar fate. For all three birds, their summer homes are shrinking and shifting so rapidly due to climate change that they may not be able to adapt fast enough.

The Pygmy Nuthatch is a small bird that tends to gather in fussy flocks, and the Allen’s Hummingbird only lays two eggs per clutch. These two tiny birds are climate-threatened because both their summer and their winter homes are shrinking and shifting dramatically due to rising temperatures and the impact of climate change.

The new collection comprises five different color combinations for the Wool Runner($95) and Tree Runner ($95) styles. Kicking off this special Earth Day-themed event is the Painted Redstart Tree Runner on Monday, April 15.

You’ll need to check back on the Allbirds website every day to see and shop their final forms, but you can get a sneak peek of the colors now with the above illustrations.

Tuesday, April 16: Pygmy Nuthach Wool Runner

Wednesday, April 17: Mountain Bluebird Wool Runner

Thursday, April 18: Allen’s Hummingbird Tree Runner

Friday, April 19: Scarlet Tanager Wool Runner

Research contact: @Allbirds

You can lead Millennials to water, but Recess might be the beverage of choice in 2019

January 10, 2019

Not tired, not wired.” That’s how a new, non-alcoholic, decaf drink called Recess will make you feel after just a few sips—or so says the eponymously named start-up company that produces it out of New York’s Hudson Valley (and markets it out of New York City).

According to a report by The New York Times, the new beverage checks every box for Millennials: Bubbles? Yes. CBD? Check. Sans-serif block font? Yeah! A knowing, nudging, creepily on-point Instagram presence? Obviously.

The news outlet notes that the drink is a sparkling water infused with CBD (government name: cannabidiol)—a non-intoxicating ingredient that is said to act as a pain reliever, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and “chillifier.”

It currently is available in three flavors—Pom Hibiscus, Peach Ginger, and Blackberry Chai—and, in addition to the hemp extract, it contains what the company calls “adoptogens,” among them:

  • American ginseng to help customers focus and improve memory;
  • L-theanine, to reduce stress with the help of green tea; and
  • Schisandra to boost immunity and promote a balanced state of mind.

And who better to target the drink at Millennials than company Co-founder and CEO Benjamin Witte, an age 29 entrepreneur who previously worked in tech marketing in San Francisco.

“We canned a feeling,” whispers the copy on the Recess website. The site uses phrases like “the unlikely friendship we’re here for” and, regarding a sample pack, “for those who fear commitment”—“channeling the half-embarrassed self-aware sincerity that defines the Millennial mood,” according to the Times.

The site, social media, and product all read, “Calm Cool Collected,” an apparent mantra and marketing tagline in the soothing lexicon of self-improvement. The cans of Recess,  are tinted in palliative pastel colors of pink, peach, and purple; with minimalist typography reminiscent of such popular brands as Casper and Allbirds.

For those discerning shoppers who are seeking a healthful alternative to mineral water, sparkling water, seltzer—and yes, just plain water—Recess offers a rare alcohol-free, caffeine-free, and almost sugar-free experience.

Research contact: @benwitte

Top of the line: The price and profile of the new Allbirds sneaker are slightly higher

November 15, 2018

Consumers nationwide have been swept off their feet by Allbirds, the well-crafted, snuggly sneakers made from sustainable materials. And now the San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer startup—reportedly valued at more than $1 billion —has expanded its footwear line beyond its sneaker, loafer, and skipper silhouettes to offer a snappy new style.

Called the Tree Topper and priced at $115, it’s described by the company as “a refreshingly simple evolution of the classic hightop, perfect for cruising beneath the skyline.”

According to a report by Business Insider, the new sneaker is the first to incorporate all of the company’s sustainable materials—including its new “Sweetfoam” outer soles made out of EVA foam derived from sugar; its proprietary Merino wool blend padded insoles; and a stretchy, mesh knit upper fabric made from eucalyptus tree pulp. Even the laces are made of post-consumer recycled polyester derived from old plastic bottles.

The new sole foam was introduced in Allbirds’ limited-run flip-flop in August, and the company estimated that it would roll out to the rest of Allbirds’ line by the end of the year.

“The Tree Topper is a true representation of our approach to design and sustainability,” Jamie McLellan, Allbirds’ head of design, said in a prepared statement. “With just the right amount of nothing and comfort as a non-negotiable, the Tree Topper is a playful canvas for showcasing our three hero materials.”

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Allbirds perches in New York City and plans more stores nationwide

September 5, 2018

The newest product to come out of Silicon Valley needs no tech support—but it’s supporting the feet of such well-known techies as Google Co-founder Larry Page, former Twitter chief Dick Costolo, and venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker, according to a September 4 report by CNBC.

Called Allbirds, the new brand of footwear—produced with such sustainable resources as merino wool, tree fibers, and sugar— already has won over customers on the West Coast and is expanding fast. The company opened its first store on the East Coast, in New York City, just after Labor Day.

At more than 4,800 square feet, the new flagship location in New York’s SoHo neighborhood on Spring Street will include a “service bar” to help buyers find the right size, along with room for customers to lounge. It will replace its temporary home on Prince Street, which was about 900 square feet and is closing later this week.

Like the wildly popular Warby Parker (eyeglasses), Casper (mattresses), and  Everlane (clothing), Allbirds began business as an etailer.

The company only recently began opening stores, serving as a place for shoppers to try on the sneakers before buying and helping create more buzz around the brand. The company has since launched a new sneaker made out of tree fibers and flip-flops made out of sugar, along with a kids’ line called Smallbirds.

Indeed, the brand has become so buzzworthy that, last month, actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio became an investor, People magazine reported.

Creating sustainable consumer products requires a deep commitment from brands that understand the role they have in helping solve our environmental crisis,” DiCaprio said in an exclusive statement. “Allbirds is on the forefront of developing new materials that will serve as a model for the footwear industry. This kind of innovation is crucial for creating a more sustainable future. I am proud to join the company as an investor.”

“Given how tactile our product and brand story is, it’s important that we continue to create these opportunities to interact with customers,” Allbirds Co-founder Joey Zwillinger said. “Our goal is to continue to create retail spaces that allow customers to truly engage with the brand in an authentic off-line experience that embodies Allbirds’ unique comfort and thoughtful design.”

Allbirds plans to open eight more stores in the United States in locations including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles,  and Washington, D.C. The company also said it’s thinking about adding two locations overseas.

“There is and has been incredible pent-up demand for Allbirds around the world,” Zwillinger told CNBC. “When we launched the brand, we were thoughtful to keep our distribution limited to the regions we felt we could service impeccably — the United States  and New Zealand, our home countries.”

Since then, Allbirds has grown into Australia and Canada.

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