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How direct-to-consumer brands are disrupting retail

Assif Shameen
Assif Shameen2/21/2020 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 9 min read
How direct-to-consumer brands are disrupting retail
SINGAPORE (Feb 21): When Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle landed back in Vancouver last week from a short trip to Los Angeles, the tabloid press focused on Rothy’s shoes that Meaghan was wearing and Away Luggage carry-on that Harry was wheeling on the ta
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SINGAPORE (Feb 21): When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle landed back in Vancouver last week from a short trip to Los Angeles, the tabloid press focused on Rothy’s shoes that Meaghan was wearing and Away Luggage carry-on that Harry was wheeling on the tarmac.

Rothy’s which makes shoes from 100% recycled plastic water bottles and Away Luggage, which is famous for its sleek polycarbonate suitcases, are part of a bunch of direct-to-consumer (D2C) unicorns, including eyeglass maker Warby Parker, razor makers Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, recently-listed mattress disruptor Casper Sleep, online menswear retailer Bonobos (now owned by Walmart), cult-like make-up and skincare firm Glossier, actress Jessica Alba’s ethical household product outfit The Honest Company, online bra firm ThirdLove, contact lens maker Hubble, and bedsheet retailer Brooklinen who have forever changed the consumer business by building brands on Internet and selling directly to end-customers.

The upstarts that are essentially personalized connect-to-consumers firms have mustered enough bravado to take on “Goliaths” such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder in cosmetics, Victoria’s Secret in bras, Tempur-Sealy International in mattresses, LensCrafters (part of Luxxotica Group) in eyeglasses, Samsonite in luggage and Proctor & Gamble and Edgewell Personal Care in razor blades — and chalked up big wins.

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