Just two years ago, Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman launched Billie, a line of women’s razors shipped directly at a lower price point than many others in the market. To be sure, they faced steep competition from legacy brands and upstarts such as the Dollar Shave Club. But Gooley and Bravman noticed a gap in the market: Marketing and messaging for women’s shaving products was antiquated. With Gooley’s expertise in advertising, Billie would soon speak to today’s woman in a fresh and authentic way. To date, Billie has received over $25 million in funding from such luminous investors as the Female Founders Fund, Goldman Sachs and Lakehouse Ventures.
Billie is just one of many thriving startups in the direct-to-consumer space. Founders have noticed a gap in the market or invented a new product, and they have scaled by eliminating middlemen and retailers taking their product directly to the consumer’s doorstep. These companies also have taken advantage of social media to build awareness with enhanced storytelling and connecting to their audience in an authentic and emotionally-appealing way. Yet, challenges remain with unique factors affecting each.
The HBS Club has invited five inspiring companies to participate on a panel discussing the dynamics of the direct-to-consumer space. These founders will discuss how they formed their companies, how they knew their product would find an audience, and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Our participants are: Billie, 1Atelier, Mott & Bow, Boll & Branch, and Quip. Join us for this wonderful program and meet five companies whose products could be in your closet or bathroom for the next quarter century or more.
Our moderator will be Courtney Reagan, CNBC’s Retail Reporter. In 2011, Reagan was named general assignment reporter for CNBC’s Business Day programming and regularly contributes to “Nightly Business Report” on public television and CNBC.com.
Reagan received the National Retail Federation’s Influencer Award on “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2016.” She holds bachelor’s degrees in finance and mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Reagan graduated with distinction from NYU’s Stern School of Business with a MBA with specializations in economics, luxury marketing and entertainment/media/technology. Reagan is a member of the American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation Marathon Team 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019.
Follow Courtney Reagan on Twitter @CourtReagan.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
Founder and CEO of Mott & Bow
Alejandro Chahin, Founder and CEO of Mott & Bow, found a passion and appreciation for denim at a young age. Growing up in Honduras, Chahin learned his way around his family’s denim manufacturing business and gleaned early on the importance of entrepreneurism, creativity and fairness – values that would later prove central in his own business model. Chahin wanted to meet a simple gap in the market and deliver high-quality jeans at a fair price – something that previously had not been done in the premium denim market. With this, Mott & Bow was born. Chahin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and his MBA from NYU Stern.
Founder & CEO of quip
Simon Enever is the Founder and CEO of oral health company quip. Prior to founding quip, Simon was an industrial designer. After learning he was among the majority of people that have been brushing their teeth incorrectly during a routine check-up, co-founder and CEO Simon Enever listened to his dentist’s frustration at big brands focus on superfluous features that increased price points, while glossing over the critical need for affordable and easy-to-use products and services that actually help people brush better. With industrial design backgrounds, Simon and co-founder Bill May set out to make the entire oral care routine more simple — starting with a well-designed, easy to use and affordable electric toothbrush that would inspire better oral care.
Co-founder of Billie
Billie is a female-first company fighting the ‘pink tax’ by designing shaving products for women and pricing them in line with men’s razors, while simultaneously upending the traditional ways women are portrayed in the industry. Georgina has over 9 years experience in the advertising industry, working across consumer, retail and entertainment categories at leading creative agencies. With a passion for building brands with a strong DNA and point of view, Georgina is determined to overhaul the shaving experience for women.
CEO & Co-Founder - 1Atelier
Stephanie Sarka is the Co-Founder and CEO of 1 Atelier, the premier custom luxury brand which has revolutionized the concept of bespoke at scale, and in the process has disrupted the luxury goods business model. As the only direct-to-consumer luxury brand, 1 Atelier leverages their proprietary customization platform to transform the customer experience into one which is personalized and highly immersive across the online, luxury retail and direct sales channels, empowering clients to create one-of-a-kind handbag designs at 1Atelier.com. Each piece is then handcrafted at their New York City factory, where they deploy scalable and sustainable on-demand manufacturing and real-time supply chain management. The result is a truly memorable experience and an exquisite one-of-a-kind piece delivered in less than three weeks.
Stephanie is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Among her many ventures, she co-founded GoTo.com in the late 90s, where they invented the Paid Search business model, taking the company public and ultimately selling it to Yahoo.
Founder & CEO, Boll & Branch
Scott Tannen is CEO and founder of Boll & Branch, the world’s leading luxury and sustainable home brand. An innovative entrepreneur, Scott disrupted the textile industry for the good by launching the world’s first Fair Trade certified bedding in 2014 with his co-founder and wife, Missy Tannen. His commitment to mindful manufacturing delivered via an e-commerce first route to market has been lauded as the “world’s most ethical cotton sheets brand.” Prior to founding Boll & Branch, Scott spent several years building online marketing groups and award-winning programs for beloved consumer brands such as Altoids, Planters and Oreo. He also founded an early-stage investment fund, red5 Capital, and Funtank, one of the world’s leading casual games publishers, which he sold to Publishers Clearing House in 2010.
1155 6th Ave, 24th Floor, New York, NY, 10036