Weekly News Update // Week of April 26, 2021

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent consumer and retail news. Chanel partners with Cambridge University to boost sustainability efforts, Fosun Fashion Group forms a strategic alliance with e-commerce firm Baozun and more. 


  • TravelPerk Raises $160M Series D as Travel Prepares For A Rebound Crunchbase 
  • Modern Meadow Closes $130 Million Series C Funding, Names Anna Bakst CEO BoF
  • OpenClassrooms raises $80M for its online education platform TechCrunch 
  • Kaia Health grabs $75M on surging interest in its virtual therapies for chronic pain and COPD TechCrunch
  • Taster grabs $37 million for its native online restaurants TechCrunch
  • Gamified connecting rowing machine maker Ergatta raises $30M TechCrunch
  • Luxury accessories club Vivrelle raises $26M Retail Dive 
  • Grin Closes $10M Seed To Scale Tele-Orthodontics Crunchbase
  • Barkyn, a wellness startup for pets in Southern Europe, hits a $9.6M Series A round TechCrunch
  • Lobus raises $6M for an art management platform on the blockchain TechCrunch


Tiffany Launches Diamond Engagement Rings for Men

Next month, the American jeweller will introduce a collection of men’s rings featuring diamonds measuring up to 4.3 carats — the brand’s first solitaire rings for men, WSJ Magazine reports. The launch coincides with an uptick in same-sex marriages and gender fluid collections across fashion and beauty. Tiffany, which was acquired by LVMH for $15.8 billion in January, reported that women’s engagement rings made up 26 percent of its total revenue last year. BoF

Chanel Partners with Cambridge University to Boost Sustainability Efforts

The luxury brand’s three-year partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) will create a sustainability leadership programme for employees and accelerate R&D for innovative ideas and prototypes. Chanel will also sponsor students from underrepresented backgrounds for CISL’s Masters in Sustainability Leadership. The news follows LVMH’s announcement earlier this month that it is extending its existing partnership with Central Saint Martins to encourage innovation in the fields of regenerative design and biodiversity. BoF

Tencent Leads $50 Million Investment In Chinese Fashion E-Commerce Firm ChicV

The tech giant’s holding company is among the investors betting on ChicV, a Guangzhou-based business founded in 2015 that specialises in selling fashion cross-border, also known as haitao, and operates three sub-platforms Stylewe, JustFashionNow and NoraCora, DealStreetAsia reports. The company is one of many media-shy retailers that have popped up in recent years, taking advantage of China’s highly-developed manufacturing infrastructure to pump out ultra-fast, and very cheap fashion products to consumers across the globe through social media platforms like Instagram. This model has proven a lucrative one and China’s best-known cross-border player, Shein, was valued at $15 billion in 2020. Though these retailers are also commonly the subject of consumer complaints for the subpar quality of their products and shipping delays. BoF

Jessica Alba-Backed Honest Co Targets Over $1.5 Billion Valuation in US IPO

Honest Co, a consumer goods company founded by actress Jessica Alba, said on Monday it was aiming for a valuation of over $1.5 billion in its initial public offering in the United States. Alba, known for her roles in film “Fantastic Four” and TV series “Dark Angel”, in 2011 co-founded Honest, which touts its baby products as a safer alternative to those that use synthetic chemicals. But it came under the scanner in 2016, when a lawsuit said its products contained a harsh chemical it had pledged to avoid. Honest then reached a $7.35 million settlement for wrongly labelling ingredients in some products as natural, plant-based or chemical free. The Los Angeles-based company, which plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol “HNST”, said it was offering around 25.8 million shares at a price between $14 and $17 each. BoF

As Brands Take Livestreaming More Seriously, Hosts Become a Hot Commodity

David Sandström, CMO at the buy-now-pay-later service Klarna, has thought a lot about who, exactly, he wants to host his company’s livestreams. Klarna, like much of the retail world in 2021, is pouring significant amounts of investment into livestream shopping. In December, it broadcast a live fashion show called Livestyle out of its app, and in early March, it held a multi-day “Hauliday” event, in collaboration with Macy’s and the magazine Cosmopolitan. The event was recorded in the flagship Macy’s store in New York, and viewers tuned in through the livestream platform ShopShops. Glossy

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The Owner of Louis Vuitton and Dior is Now Selling Unused Luxury Fabrics and Leathers Online From $4 a Meter

LVMH has started selling unused fabrics from its high-end brands, including Louis Vuitton, at bargain prices. The new online shop, which went live on Monday and is called Nona Source, sells leftover materials from its sought-after fashion brands. A spokesperson for LVMH confirmed to Insider that all of LVMH's fashion brands would provide fabric. LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, and Celine, among others. The store is Europe-only and LVMH said it had no plans to launch it in the US. It is open to certain business owners, such as fashion designers. Each buyer must set up an account, sharing their company name and registration number, to shop. Potential buyers can search by fabric style, weight, and use. Prices start from €3 ($3.60) per meter for lining materials, and up to €50 ($60) per meter for cashmere. Business Insider

Are Biomaterials the Future of Beauty Packaging?

We have been working to unpack the vast and complex world of sustainable beauty, as it relates to refillable productsvegan formulations, and subscription services. But one topic we’re yet to look at more closely is sustainable beauty packaging, one of the biggest challenges facing the beauty industry today. A report by strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, notes that the cosmetics industry creates 120 billion units of packaging a year and predicts that by 2050, the beauty industry will have contributed up to 12 billion tonnes of plastic to landfill. In an effort to combat the plastic problem, a number of beauty brands are using innovative biomaterial alternatives. Below, we explore some of the most interesting solutions yet. Wallpaper 

Allbirds, Reformation Join Largest Class of Climate Neutral Certified Companies

As retailers expand their sustainability initiatives, either from a sense of purpose or consumer pressure — or both — the companies that enable more sustainable business operations are also growing. Climate Neutral, which certifies companies that offset their carbon emissions on an annual basis, is ringing in its biggest class in the company's three-year history. The new cohort includes 12 different industries, and 52 fashion and apparel brands, including Allbirds, Reformation and Ministry of Supply. Retail Dive

French Billionaires Strike Deal Over New Lagardère Structure

French publishing and retail group Lagardère said on Wednesday it has reached an agreement with shareholders to give up the governance system that has long granted chief executive officer Arnaud Lagardère full control of the company, defusing a battle between French billionaires Bernard Arnault and Vincent Bolloré over control of its media assets. Arnaud Lagardère has agreed to dissolve the structure, known as a société en commandite par actions, and replace it with a joint-stock company. In exchange, he will receive 10 million new shares, equivalent to 7 percent of the company’s capital after their issuance, and will be named chairman and CEO for a six-year term. “The proposed governance structure is intended to ensure management continuity for the Lagardère group around Arnaud Lagardère’s leadership, and representation of the main shareholders on the board of directors,” Lagardère said in a statement. WWD

China’s Own Mega League: Fosun Fashion Group Ties With Baozun and Activation

It’s a first in the Chinese fashion industry. Fosun Fashion Group, the Chinese owner of Lanvin, Wolford, St. John and Caruso, has formed a strategic alliance with e-commerce firm Baozun, Activation Group and other industry players to strengthen its ability to capture China’s fast-growing demand for luxury brands. As a part of the partnership, Baozun and Activation will both become minority shareholders in Fosun Fashion Group, and the preferred partners for all brands in FFG’s portfolio, as well as in exploring new business models and solutions for brand expansion. Sources told WWD that it only took a few months of talks for the three to agree on the partnership, and several projects have been lined up for the rest of 2021. WWD



  • Gopuff hires Amazon's VP of global logistics Retail Dive
  • Guillaume Motte Named Deputy CEO of Fashion Group at LVMH BoF


  • The consumer experience: From touch points to trust points Retail Dive