Emerging DTCs to watch in 2021

Retail Dive | March 30, 2021

While digitally native brands were born online, the limitations of selling exclusively through e-commerce are becoming ever more apparent. Many brands have landed in Target, Walmart and Nordstrom. For Eric Prum, co-founder of Very Great — a company that oversees: Wild One, W&P and Courant — the need to operate as an omnichannel business was present from the start. While the mentality is digital first, majority of business comes from B2B.

Differentiation of a brand rules success whether it's personalization, community and a brand that "attentively voices their overarching values because that's what consumers want"; and going from a product mindset to an overarching industry narrative.

These 9 brands are worth watching:

1. Spark Grills

Spark Grills marries the ease gas offers with the richer flavors of charcoal. The Spark Grill ignites instantly, controls temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and provides information through an app on user's phones. Visits to its website grew 64% from the first half of 2020 to the second half, reaching an average of 7,600 monthly U.S. visits in the back half of the year, according to SimilarWeb. Spark Grills has a commitment with every grill purchased, it will fund the placement of a locally designed and manufactured cookstove to a family in Ghana.

2. Great Jones

Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis founded cookware brand Great Jones in 2018 after they "struggled to find the right kitchen tools." And the retailer appears to be benefiting from pandemic-induced trends of consumers cooking more at home. The brand's average monthly website visits in 2020 grew 401% from 2019, according to SimilarWeb, notching over 95,000 average visits per month.

3. Clare

Clare launched to reimagine the buying experience for paint by providing "designer-curated colors, technology to guide you, mess-free paint swatches, and the highest-quality paint and supplies, delivered." Founder Nicole Gibbons, wanted to make painting a room a more convenient, easy experience. Average monthly website visits to Clare increased 117.7% from the first half of 2020 to the second half. Clare's follower count on Instagram also grew 234.61% over the past 12 months, while its Facebook follower count grew 145.65% year over year.

4. Mented

Mented entered the scene in 2015 after founders Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller struggled to find the "perfect nude lipstick." From its original nude lipsticks, the brand has expanded into pigmented eyeshadows and blushes to help every woman "find herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone." The beauty brand saw website traffic increase 41.7% from the first half of 2020 to the second half when it reported 491,900 average monthly visits.

5. FaceTory

FaceTory, a Korean beauty-inspired company, launched in 2016 with the goal of making skincare approachable, functional and affordable. FaceTory's average monthly website traffic in the first half of 2020 to the second half grew 8.8%. "FaceTory has noticed an upward trend in men entering the beauty scene," co-founder Chan Ho Park said in a statement. "Men are now having a huge influence in the once predominantly female industry. But even with this upward trend, there are not very many products or resources tailored specifically towards men's skin types and skin concerns." FaceTory earlier this month took its products offline and into 150 Whole Foods stores across the U.S.

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