This is issue no. 216. The last issue had a 🤷🏽‍♂️ 58.18% open rate with a 10.16% of you reading up on four things that you can learn from Bonobos (besides how to pair teal with Nantucket red).

Today's issue has a bit of proximity: from Mizzen+Main, to the Floreani's and Flosports (who provided the infrastructure and mentorship for my first media / eCommerce startup), to Business of Fashion's article on one of 2PM's capstone topics.

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Today's Top Intelligence (14 Reads)
Can Coach Create an American Fashion Empire?
First, there is not a deep pool of established brands in America with roots in the national narrative and culture — the emphasis has been on entrepreneurship rather than preservation — and so groups have been forced to grow the footprints and name recognition of too many labels at once, a prohibitively costly task.

The Takeaway: Tasty’s growth has provided other benefits to BuzzFeed. Last year, the company released a Tasty cookbook, featuring recipes from the show, which has sold more than 140,000 copies. It’s part of a growing e-commerce push, including other products like socks, coffee beans and scented candles, that the company believes could on its own be a business with at least an eight-figure revenue.

The Takeaway: Remember that before the iPhone took off, it was hardly obvious that smartphones would become a dominant on-ramp to the digital world or that touching and swiping with our fingers would be a dominant way to interact with computers. And likewise it is not obvious what might supplant the smartphone and touch control.

The Takeaway: Still, Alipay, which started in 2004 as an online payments processor for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s e-commerce sites, is entering a market that’s much less reliant on mobile transactions than its home country

The Takeaway: Walmart’s technology patent and Target’s imminent new service demonstrate how Amazon continues to influence the innovation agenda within the retail sector. The ecommerce retailer has been at the forefront of making it more convenient for shoppers to order their items online.

The Takeaway: Wal-Mart has a lot riding on Lore. Last year he received $244 million in pay, 10 times that of his boss, Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart’s CEO. His project could determine the future of Sam Walton’s legacy and the eventual success of McMillon. It will also settle the score on whether Lore is good at building profitable e-commerce sites or just selling unprofitable ones to his competitors for piles of money.

The Takeaway: The final topic revolved around how new companies are able to compete with giants in the industry. Instead of striving to match them, however, the general consensus was that viewing big brands as competition can largely be a fruitless exercise.
The Takeaway: To Lavelle, who built his business entirely on his own terms, these new regulations feel a little like coercion. “Despite the fact that as an American-made business we would have a comparative advantage, I do not think the Border Adjustment Tax would benefit our economy or consumers over the long term or short term,” he says via email.

The Takeaway: There is also substantial evidence that more consumers could begin to pay for news in the future—if publishers can understand them and serve them well. Half of those who do not pay for news actively seek out news and resemble subscribers in various ways. And nearly 2 in 10 of those who don’t subscribe to news now indicate they are inclined to begin to pay in the future.

The Takeaway: China is also a pioneer in mobile commerce. Many consumers skipped the PC era entirely, going right to smartphones. This may explain why Samsung phones with larger screens took hold in China well before they did in Western markets. According to industry estimates, online purchases made with mobile phones will account for 74% of total e-commerce in China by 2020, compared with just 46% in the US.

The Takeaway: Saunders predicted an acquisition of the Kate Spade brand could have a lot of potential for Coach as Kate is "in the early stages of developing its own lifestyle brand and would benefit from Coach's sourcing and distribution expertise, as well as some fresh thinking on the design front."

The Takeaway: Just like people, brands are always speaking, explicitly or implicitly. Every decision a brand makes, which inherently affects politics, is an act of speech. If a brand outsources production to a foreign country, that is a political decision that says something about the brand. The same goes for a brand's culture, compensation, leadership, product quality, marketing, aesthetics, advertising, and much more. Decisions across all of these vectors have political consequences.

The Takeaway: Other firms that have managed to successfully scale but will need even more capital in order to continue to fuel growth — in particular, multi-brand e-commerce players like FarFetch, the RealReal and Rent the Runway — are perhaps better candidates for an initial public offering on the stock exchange, which allows for more flexibility.

The Takeaway: If FloSports has a sustainable future, it's built around the notion that viewers in the digital age want to create their own bundle rather than have a media conglomerate do that for them. They also want to pick the content they want to watch, putting a premium on streaming. Equally important, Floreani says, most people have one or two favorite sports, but not five or six. Their interests, he never tires of saying, are usually an inch wide and a mile deep.

Today in: Inspired by 2PML
BoF Discusses Columbus and Mall Retail
You can read more here [paywall]. Though, the ideas have already been discussed ad infinitum here.

The idea for this piece was derived from this thread of tweets and a conversation with Chantal Fernandez, the "Senior Editorial Accomplice" at Business of Fashion.

It was well-written by Lauren Sherman, New York's Editor, after a 24 hour trip to Columbus and a great conversation with Kenny McDonald who heads economic development for America's 12th largest city. 
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