The dawn of the direct-to-consumer brand era was, in retrospect, incredibly idealistic.

Every tactic inscribed in the now well-worn DTC playbook — cut out the retail middleman! Only sell e-commerce! Market luxury-quality products without the markups! — is expensive to pull off. With time and increased competition, that’s only gotten worse. Raising rounds of funding reminiscent of a Silicon Valley startup is tempting but, unfortunately, can be reckless for consumer apparel brands that can scale to $10 or maybe $50 million in annual sales, if they’re lucky.

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