“The big dirty secret of the business is that nobody really knows if the direct-to-consumer model really works,” a digital brand’s founder half-whispered to me (on background, of course) last week.

It’s become a more common refrain recently. Some of it stems from the normalization of born-online brands as they start looking a lot more like traditional companies. “Direct-to-consumer” mostly meant the strategy of operating without middlemen (stores, mostly) and instead building direct connections with customers online. Ecosystems like Shopify helped that along. Many brands get to the $100 million mark easily — buoyed by big VC interest and of course, the marketing power of Instagram.

  • LinkedIn Icon