March 19, 2024

Cuppa 22: Shein, Aviation Brands, Inflation, Coastal Grandmas

Sasha Jeppesen
Head of Creative

Welcome to the latest issue of Cuppa, a quick-fire newsletter for internet-first brand builders. Filled with analysis on the art, science and culture of building breakout brands in a digital age, it's quick enough to read over a cuppa. (Or something stronger if you need judgement!). To get it direct to your inbox every other Tuesday, subscribe here.


How do we compete with Shein?  

We've been predicting the death of fast fashion for years now. Industry giants such as H&M and Zara began publishing sustainability reports, brands like Pangaia sky-rocketed in popularity, and reports of the youth thrifting again signalled a new era of fashion consumption. But all of that looks rather quaint now in the wake of Shein’s $100 billion valuation. So how can brands compete with Shein's unmatched speed-to-market and unbelievably low prices? In this roundtable, BoF’s Lauren Sherman and Cathaleen Chen, join Doctor of Sociology Ana Andjelic, to discuss how brands can compete. TLDR: material innovation, customer service, values, and brand collaborations.

A rival to Starbucks and Costa?

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Blank Street Coffee began in 2019 and by the end of 2021, they had 26 stores, carts, and kiosks. Now with $60M in funding, NYC will get roughly one new Blank Street per week and here in London, we'll soon get two dozen. What's their formula for their rapid rise to success? They say price and product. But I think some of it also comes down to having a distribution strategy that looks a little like guerrilla marketing…but at scale, similar to that of grocery delivery apps.

Airlines are behaving like platform brands

It has been a tough couple of years for aviation brands. So to capture new sources of growth, legacy brands such as Cathay Pacific and AirAsia have leaned into their “big brand idea” to launch new products or services outside of the category they started in. Similarly, when we look inward into the DTC arena, it's not unusual for brands to launch as product-focused brands, then a few years later, feel the need to pivot to a platform/lifestyle brand. If you're in this dilemma, this article provides some helpful actions to consider.


A good read on current marketing performance challenges

Staying on the thread of it being a tough couple of years, it's about to be a tough couple of months for e-com brands, so buckle in. This article gives excellent context to the current climate and tips on how to navigate increased costs, drops in demand, and more.

Shopify acquires Dovetale

The e-commerce platform, which has been around for nearly two decades, has acquired Dovetale, which helps brands manage influencer marketing campaigns. As part of the acquisition, Shopify will make Dovetale free for all of its merchants. Although the main benefit of Dovetale is to help brands manage a process that previously might have been done on an excel spreadsheet, It also helps fulfill a second purpose for Shopify: helping its existing merchants who are subject to the whims of Facebook’s ad platform acquire new customers.  

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It's about to be a tough couple of months for e-com brands


Meet your new music addiction. Sorry not sorry.

Fictional musicians in TV/Film deliver some of the best bangers. Fact. The soundtrack to A Star Is Born? ‘Christmas Is All Around’ from Love Actually? I make my case. And it looks like many others agree, with the recent launch of Spotifictional - a website satisfyingly similar to Spotify that allow users to play their favourite TV/Film tunes by linking each imaginary artist out to a real YouTube or Spotify page.

The homewares aesthetic taking over TikTok

Dubbed ‘coastal grandma,' the latest fashionable interior trend embraces natural textures, linen, exposed wood, plush throws, and basically anything that looks like it belongs in the house of a Nancy Meyer's film. Google searches for the style increased 334 percent in the past week globally, so if you're a homewares brand, this is a trend to work into this week's content strategy.

Another social app to further increase your screen time

Although the photo-sharing app was founded in 2020, BeReal has taken off recently, scoring approx. 1.1 million downloads in February. With the rule of posting a photo right away when the app tells you to, the app has started a TikTok trend about people jokingly structuring their whole day around making sure that their BeReal is dope.

Sasha Jeppesen
Head of Creative
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