Smell like your favorite celebrity…& other unexpected retail trends

This analysis was originally published in Curious Commerce, my biweekly-ish newsletter on the future of consumer and retail.

Photo by Ellen Auer on Unsplash

There has never been a more exciting time to be working in consumer and retail. Every day I see new product launches, brands, and partnerships popping up that are serving increasingly diverse (and increasingly niche) audiences. Web Smith’s concept of linear commerce underlies this phenomenon. With a connected audience, anything is possible.


This post was originally published in Curious Commerce, by biweekly newsletter on the future of how we shop. Be sure to subscribe to get my next post delivered straight to your inbox!

The process for “getting to know” new brands is broken. This topic could fill many books, so I’m starting today with a high-level look at the landscape. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring some up-and-coming solutions to the discovery problem.

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

Back in the mid 2000s when I was a teenager, malls were still a cool place to hang out. I’d meet up with friends at Sbarro…


This piece was originally published in Curious Commerce, my weekly newsletter diving into trends in consumer and retail.

I’m really excited to write about resale today (also known as recommerce or the aftermarket) because shopping secondhand has been a part of my life since childhood. Growing up, I bought most of my clothes at Goodwill and Salvation Army. My mom is a DIY extraordinaire. She would spruce up our thrifted finds so I was always one of the “best dressed” at school…on a budget!

It used to be a social liability to wear secondhand clothes. It was something I hid…


It turns out it’s pretty easy to lose money. Here’s what brands can do.

This article was originally published via my newsletter, Curious Commerce — a weekly dive into the latest happenings in consumer and retail, through a strategy lens.

I’ve been amazed at how quickly the stores in my neighborhood have facilitated a digitally-enabled experience in response to COVID restrictions. Local restaurants are using Instagram to push out menus and posting Venmo codes in their windows to facilitate payment. Local boutiques are hosting livestream events to show off summer styles. …


A DTC founder shares her observations on what’s next for the industry

A selection of DTC brands you might recognize from your Instagram feed

I’ve been building Keaton for the past two years. We created the Perfect Pant for women, designed with input from 300 young professionals, and we sell online. We’re what has traditionally been called a “DTC brand.”

I knew that starting a company would be an uphill battle, but I didn’t expect the speed and severity with which the DTC landscape would shift underneath me. When I started thinking about the idea for Keaton, DTC brands were the darlings of the VC world. …


The Retail Tree is an elegant framework to understand and interpret sales performance

Photo by Marcin Kempa on Unsplash

I’ve worked in retail for many years, first as a management consultant and then in strategy. I’ve sold (and helped my clients sell) everything from jewelry to pasta sauce to women’s clothes to cruises. I’ve sold things online, in malls, and in boutiques. Through it all, there has been one framework that has remained posted on the wall next to my desk. I call it: The Retail Tree.

The goal of the Retail Tree is to decompose sales into its most basic parts, allowing you to zero…


In Spring 2019, I started Keaton after years of struggling to find work clothes that made me feel confident and powerful as a young professional. Our clothes feature easy-care fabrics and functional details based on feedback from hundreds of women. Keaton’s mission goes beyond product design. I learned the hard way that confidence comes from feeling comfortable bringing one’s whole self to work. In building Keaton, we are creating a future where young women feel truly empowered to bring our authentic selves to work. Follow us on our journey!

Keaton Founder & CEO, Melina Flabiano

I started my career in the corporate world as a consultant…


Throughout history, women’s pockets have been associated with periods of progress in women’s rights and with greater gender equality.

There are few things more frustrating than putting on a pair of pants and finding that they have unusable, tiny pockets.

Some brands even sew pants pockets shut or just put in fake pockets (why?!?). A survey of 80 pairs of men’s and women’s pants found that on average, the pockets in women’s jeans are 48% shorter and 6.5% narrower than men’s pockets, when controlling for pant size. We were intrigued to learn that women’s pocket troubles have political roots and are directly tied to women’s independence. We sum it up below.

In the middle ages women had little pouches sewn into…

Melina Flabiano

Consumer and retail strategist. Weekly insights on the future of shopping: melina.substack.com

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