TRAUB Weekly Update // Week of January 21, 2019

Here's our roundup of this week's top retail news.


  • J&J Makes $35M Investment in Memebox WWD
  • The Pill Club raises $51M as VCs find new opportunities in women’s health Tech Crunch
  • Vagisil Parent Invests In “Vagina-friendly” Business, Sustain Natural WWD


17 Hours with Jennie Baik, Cofounder of Orchard Milejennie

Imagine if you could build your own mall with only the stores you really love. Now imagine that all those stores share a universal checkout, everything is in your size, and your “mall” is constantly being updated with new pieces picked out by mind-reading buyers precisely to your taste. It’s a fantasy, yes, but Orchard Mile is, in fact, fantastic. “The ethos of Orchard Mile is that taste is personal, and we should redefine luxury to mean filling your life with things you love,” says Jennie Baik, the CEO of Orchard Mile. She cofounded the company three years ago after leaving her job as head of strategy at Burberry—but not before spending more than a year interviewing people on their ideal online shopping experience. Goop

 (TRAUB Note: Check out the Morty Singer and TRAUB shout out at 3pm!)


The RealReal in Talks with Banks for IPO
The company, valued at $745 million, has sent out a request for proposals to prospective advisors and underwriters to manage the listing this year. In July last year, The RealReal raised $115 million of private funding in a deal led by Perella Weinberg Partners, with additional participation from new investor Sandbridge Capital and existing investor Great Hill Partners. The deal valued the company at $745 million, according to data provider PitchBook. Since then, the company, which was founded in 2011, has focused on expanding its brick-and-mortar presence with outlets in new areas and more online fulfilment centres. BoF


Drunk Elephant Said Exploring Sale Options

Sources said the brand pulled in close to $100 million in net sales for 2018 and was “extremely profitable.” Sources confirmed Financo and Moelis & Co. had been tapped to explore the process, which was first reported by Mergermarket.  WWD


Nectar teams up with Mattress Warehouse

Nectar Sleep announced its mattresses will be available for purchase at more than 250 Mattress Warehouse stores along the East Coast. This is the largest brick-and-mortar partnership Nectar has been involved in. While this isn't the first brick-and-mortar play Nectar has made, the company's partnership with Mattress Warehouse paves the way for the direct-to-consumer company to have a larger physical footprint and allows consumers to test its products before buying. Retail Dive


‘They offered us everything but the kitchen sink’: DTC brands are mostly spurning Amazonamazon

Last October, Amazon invited a group of founders of direct-to-consumer brands to headquarters in Seattle. On the agenda: A discussion about where they may fit on the marketplace as well as dinner, a tour of Amazon’s campus and the Amazon Go store and even the opportunity to fill a cart for free, courtesy of Amazon. Some brands invited were already sellers and were there to share their successful experiences, but most, including DSTLD Denim and Andie Swim, didn’t have any existing presence on Amazon. Digiday


Bliss Expands to CVS

One year after its mass-market makeover, things are going well for Bliss. The L Catterton-backed brand is rolling out to 3,000 CVS doors at the end of the month, followed by 18 Riley Rose doors and a test with Urban Outfitters. Last year, Bliss rolled out a revamped line, complete with Millennial-friendly marketing, nearly 40 Instagram-friendly products and slashed prices to between $10 and $30 per item.  WWD


Net-a-Porter continues expansion into new categories with first multibrand luxury kids collection

Net-a-Porter is taking its biggest step into the world of luxury kidswear with its first multibrand collective aimed at children. Six brands are participating in the effort, each contributing a collection of luxury apparel aimed at young children between the ages of 1 and 12. They include Golden Goose, Lingua Franca, Yeah Right, Alanui, ATM and Chinti & Parker, all of which will contribute exclusive children’s pieces to the multibrand collection. The collection will be supported by an in-house-produced campaign featuring the children of fashion influencer Sai De Silva. Glossy


Brandless launches pet and baby categoriesbrandless
Brandless, a direct-to-consumer home essentials startup, is expanding its assortment to include pet and baby products. In baby, Brandless now offers organic food pouches and teething wafers, plant-based baby wipes, unscented baby lotion and latex-free diapers. In pet, the assortment includes organic beef bone broth, non-toxic toys, degradable waste bags and hemp collars, among other things. The addition comes less than a week after the launch of a subscription option.  Retail Dive 



Shopify to open production house for streaming, network content
Shopify Inc. is branching out beyond its e-commerce roots to launch a TV and film content development and production house, but the company says it isn't gearing up to become a competitor to heavyweights like Netflix, the CBC or a branded content creator. Among the first wave of content Shopify will release is a series of 20- to 30-minute videos on entrepreneurs called Studios Films, which will feature episodes on jeans brand Hiut Denim Co. and New York-based streetwear designer Colm "KidSuper" Dillane. Shopify will also release a docu-series called "And Nowhere Else," which will examine the relationship between where individuals live and what they choose to create, and a weekly podcast called "Vanguard," which will explore secret economies and debut with the story of an artist who has created a bespoke tarot card deck to explore Black identity. Kitchener


Hilton and Netflix partner on in-room streaming, controlled through Hilton’s own app
While many hotel chains offer Netflix on their TVs as a courtesy for their guests, Hilton and Netflix this morning announced a first-of-a-kind partnership that will give Hilton’s guests the ability to log into Netflix and control their streaming experience directly from Hilton’s own Hilton Honors mobile app. This will initially be offered in Hilton’s “Connected Rooms” — a new concept for high-tech guest rooms introduced in December, where guests can control the room’s lighting, temperature and personalize their TV channels through the Hilton app. Tech Crunch


Armani’s Madison Ave. Flagship to be Reimagined With Armani/Casa Residences
Giorgio Armani is giving Madison Avenue a much-needed lift with a new Armani/Casa project at number 760, the longtime address of the designer’s flagship, which opened in 1996. SL Green Realty Corp., since 2012 has owned the property. New York City’s largest office landlord, SL Green will lead the plan to redevelop with The Armani Group the four-level, 16,000-square-foot store into a 96,000-square-foot building that will house a flagship and 19 luxury Armani/Casa residences. WWD


CVS Unveils Initiative to Label Retouched Images cvs

CVS Pharmacy unveiled an initiative in US stores on Thursday, labelling photos of models in its beauty aisles to make it clear whether the images had been digitally altered. CVS has promised that by 2020 all images in its stores nationwide will be marked. The policy has already been applied to all images on and in marketing materials, including on social media, the company said. Neutrogena, CoverGirl, and Revlon are among 13 brands working with CVS on the policy, the company said. BoF


The world’s largest packaged food company will ditch single-use plastic
The world’s largest packaged food company is finally taking some drastic steps to reduce its plastic footprint. Nestlé, which is on track to report nearly $90 billion in revenue for 2018, will begin eliminating all plastic straws in its products starting this February, and transition its chocolate milk brand Nesquik from plastic to paper. These are some of the first formal plans announced after Nestlé’s 2018 promise to eliminate all single-serve plastic from its line–and to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.  Fast Company


  • Mickey Drexler steps down as chairman of J. Crew Retail Dive
  • Express CEO David Kornberg Out  WWD
  • Avery Baker Stepping Down at Tommy Hilfiger WWD
  • J.Hilburn Hires Simon Kneen as Chief Creative Officer WWD
  • Michel Brousset Exits L’Oréal USA; Nathalie Gerschtein Appointed Consumer Products President WWD