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2 Short Show Reviews for Brand Builders

Considering your 2019 scaling and learning options from a show perspective? We've got two quickie reviews to help with your decision making.

Foundermade Shopify Plus Commerce+ Plus

So we've had a pretty ridiculously busy couple of months over here at the JC+CO headquarters, doing some really exciting, challenging work (oh, solving complicated puzzles - how we love you!) and meeting some super cool, smart peeps (you know who you are!).

Because of this and its associated time constraints, I've been a total neglecto about this blog, but am currently doing my usual vow to be more diligent moving forward.

(Just like the gym? Eeps.)

In any case, I've been meaning to share some thoughts on a couple of events I attended this season, in hopes that it helps you guys assess whether they're a good fit for you in the future!




If you haven't heard of Foundermade, it's billed as a Consumer Discovery Show. The event brings together retail buyers, investors, influencers, and consumers, to showcase a curated selection of brands that are primarily in wellness, beauty, and food. I found it through one of my clients earlier this year and thought they had a great vibe and aesthetic sensibility in their social channels. At only $5K for a standard booth, I encouraged another one of my clients to apply to showcase in LA in October. 

Overall, this was a hectic one - held through a single day, there were plenty of introductions made and people met. It's not the kind of show where you can expect to be writing orders, so if that's the objective, I'd say this isn't your bread and butter. From a category perspective, the strongest volume of attendees appeared to be in the food segment, so it seemed like a particularly good option for food brands. In terms of the brand curation and application, I'd venture to say this is the sales pitch - there were indeed a number of super appealing new brands being showcased (I'm still swooning over a few of them!), but they weren't the majority of the show. Nonetheless, the overall presentation and branding of the show itself is really great and casts the attendees in a great light.


SoYoung at Foundermade LA 2018

The event additionally boasts lots of speakers and learning sessions. Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to see any of them - the booth couldn't be left to its own devices! - so if you're looking to learn and connect, you might prefer to check it out as a visitor.

From an overall perspective, I'd say Foundermade was designed for early stage consumer brands (or new category entrants), was primarily focused on generating awareness with a select segment of influencers, and would be useful for initiating potential relationships with future buyers and investors. If that sounds like what you're aiming for, Foundermade could be a solid fit for your brand.

Product alone isn't enough.
The brand is the editor.
The brand is the community.
The brand is the retailer.
- Uri Minkoff

The second big event I went to this season was Shopify Plus's first Commerce+ event in Manhattan. This one was a huge hit for me - billed as a curated, exclusive invite-only industry event focused on thought leadership rather than sales pitches, a few hundred attendees got to get the scoop on leading edge ecomm thinking, through a very intimate, conversational series of panels. With innovators from DTC superstars like Bombas, Brooklinen, Knix, and Rebecca Minkoff sharing their insights, holy cow, did they jam pack one day with some serious smartie pants thinking.


Alyssa Kerbel mini mioche commerce+ Shopify Plus

(Hey, there's our girl Alyssa Kerbel from mini mioche on the big screen at Commerce+!)

The first common theme throughout the day of conversation was the talent acquisition challenge in DTC. Ecommerce is still an immature industry, from a talent perspective, making it challenging to source specifically experienced senior leaders. Many of the top players talked about how they're developing talent from the inside, but with even investors speaking about how challenging it was to place senior talent at new portfolio acquisitions, it did bring the overall talent development issue in the industry to the forefront.

DTC brands should be paying attention to bricks & mortar.
- Matt Scanlan

The second theme was an overall interest from hero DTC brands in selectively developing bricks and mortar retail. While we see DTC flagships popping up in key locations worldwide, the data behind what they were discussing was beyond marketing activation. With a general consensus that supporting primarily ecommerce business with physical retail locations resulted in a higher AOV and better customer LTV, Naadam CEO Matt Scanlan summarized: "DTC brands should be paying attention to bricks & mortar."

So yeah. This one, I'd reco without hesitation. Keep an eye out and get yourself on the list for the next one, if ecomm is your jam.

What's on your learning and scaling agenda for 2019?

Image props: Pexels.

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