Direct-to-consumer brands are the most talked about entities in apparel—and not just by their legions of consumer fans. They have industry insiders’ attention, too. And there’s no question as to why.
These companies are dialed into what shoppers want thanks to the data-rich nature of their operations, plus they’re able to drive excitement through a steady stream of new styles. Basically, they’re executing on everything traditional players are still struggling to bring online.
And the excitement around these companies is warranted given that the category is one of a very few rays of light in an otherwise stormy retail climate. With new virtual (and even physical) DTC doors opening every day, they’re a positive counterpoint to the 6,500 boxes that have gone dark through early May—a number that even outpaces the 5,800-plus that shuttered throughout 2018. As retail continues to shed unnecessary and outdated stores, new concepts are popping up to offer consumers a fresh way to look at their bodies, their closets and their shopping experiences in general.
In our first report on the sector, “The Direct-to-Consumer Takeover,” Sourcing Journal highlights how every facet of the industry is evolving to serve this new business model, from its shorter timelines and smaller runs to its consumer-centric mindset. (Download the report and read “Why DTC Brands Need a New Kind of Factory” on page 12 and “Logistics Plays Pivotal Role in Changed Landscape” on page 18.) From factories to 4PLs, service providers and supply chain partners are retooling to offer higher levels of service and more efficient operating options.
This report also investigates the ways in which these brands are in aggregate—and, in some cases, individually—proving to be Davids to the establishment’s Goliaths. By tapping into the current climate around everything from body positivity and the #metoo era to sustainability and human rights, they are driving more than clicks; they’re also building communities that understand their purchasing power and how to wield it differently. (Read “The New Way Modern Brands are Born” on page 11 and “How New Intimates Brands are Wooing The Anti ‘Angel’” on page 28.)
Finally, Sourcing Journal decided to speculate on which digitally native companies will go the distance. In “Follow the Money” on page 21, we place our bets, with wagers based partially on where investors are flocking and partly on our own take on these new retailers’ impact on the landscape. While our predictions may prove imperfect, odds are even if none of these companies become fixtures in the market, DTCs in general will make a lasting impact on the apparel industry—and beyond.
Get the report to understand:
- How data is helping this sector defy the malaise still hampering retail
- The updates factories must consider to get in on the growing trend
- Why they’re better able to tap into what consumers really want
- The impact of the direct-to-consumer model on everything from inventory management to logistics
- The ways in which DTC founders are finding their footing in the apparel industry
- What investors love about the segment—and where they’re placing their bets
- Why shopping these brands offers consumers a more authentic experience
- The digital natives that are most likely to become the next household names