What brands are currently in the business of finding better ways – “more cost efficient, less stress inducing, more socially beneficial and/or less environmentally destructive” ways – to provide consumers with everything from fast food and pet food to apparel, footwear, and vitamins? AdWeek recently compiled a list of them, 15 “status quo-defying brands,” which it says have found “completely new answers to everyday consumer problems.”
Fresh from making it onto Time’s inaugural “Genius” companies list, Fenty Corp. finds itself among AdWeek’s “Challenger Brands.” Launched by multi-hyphenate business woman and Grammy winner Rihanna, Fenty Corp – which consists of the Savage x Fenty lingerie collection with its bras in sizes 32A to 38DD, underwear up to a size 3X, and other lingerie from extra small to extra-large, and has “plans to increase their size range very soon,” and the Fenty Beauty brand and its industry-rattling 40 shades of foundation – have found success by catering to “women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities” in a move to “democratize fashion and beauty.”
Rihanna’s venture is joined by AllBirds, the Silicon Valley footwear startup known for its minimalist and wildly comfortable sneakers – which are constructed using sugarcane, eucalyptus pulp and Merino wool, a far cry from the materials being used by its plastic-happy competitors – and for its $100 million in sales in just two years. As of now, in addition to its e-commerce site, the brand maintains “two boutiques (New York and San Francisco), with plans to open 8 more retail spots in 2019, the U.K. included,” according to AdWeek.
Also on the list: Outdoor Voices, the brand that is making “technical apparel for recreation” aimed at “rewiring how people think about exercise.” Having raised $56.5 million since its founding in 2013, including from the likes of Jean Touitou’s APC Holdings, this buzzy brand will have 10 brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year, and 7 more are coming in 2019.
AdWeek notes, “By celebrating activity for the fun of it, Outdoor Voices has amassed a devoted following, the #DoingThings community, and crowdsources ideas from its fans for products, design and fabric.”
Fashion Nova, the ultra-fast fashion retailer, lands on AdWeek’s list thanks to its burgeoning – and dedicated – fan base of 13 million young Instagram followers, which it has built “predominantly with underserved audiences and women of color.” With a reported 600 percent growth in revenue last year (according to its CEO, Richard Saghian), “price tags under $50 and knockoffs galore,” the direct-to-consumer brand is swiftly displacing the likes of Forever 21, H&M and Zara, the traditional fast fashion giants that long-dominated the market.
Other “disruptors” in the retail space include Harry’s – the subscription men’s grooming company that has made its name using top-quality ingredients and materials and turning out affordably-priced shaving goods. The 5-year old company counts 5 million active customers and nearly half a billion dollars raised to date; and Parachute Home, the direct-to-consumer bedding, bath, and home goods brand, that is luring in “millennials wary of big-box chains and chemical-treated textiles, [and] building repeat customers in a category that previously had no brand loyalty,” says founder Ariel Kaye.
Not to be overlooked is Brandless, “the direct-to-consumer e-commerce player, that has been called ‘the P&G for millennials.’” By cutting out the middle man and shipping directly, the company says it can offer its ever-expanding roster of – you guessed it, largely (but not entirely) branding-free – products to consumers for $3 each – i.e., without “the extra costs for the countless unnecessary steps between the factory and a traditional retailer’s shelf.” The company has raised $292.5 million in financing to date.
Rounding out the list: Orangetheory (which has dubbed itself “the Target of fitness”), Shake Shack, pet food co. Freshpet, Jopwell (a “diversity hiring startup that helps companies connect with and recruit underrepresented ethnic minority candidates for jobs and internships”), Lemonade (which offers “offers renters and home insurance powered by tech and driven by social good”), Quip (which makes toothbrushes), SmartyPants Vitamins, a drone-maker called Wish, and car rental company, Sixt.