Bold Brands: Technology and Innovation in Apparel eCommerceAug 01, 2023
35: Interview with Cecelia McAleer of Real Fit Apparel
Listen in as host Jeff Mergy talks with Cecelia McAleer, an apparel industry executive with over 25 years of experience in leading, building, and developing Technical Design and Product Development teams. They discuss how apparel design has evolved over the years, the role that data plays in fit and sizing, the importance of fit preference to today's consumer, and more.
34: Interview with Naomi Blackman of alder apparel
Join us as we chat with Naomi Blackman, co-founder of alder apparel, about what inspired the creation of the brand and how they're working towards changing what inclusivity means in the outdoor apparel industry. Founded in Toronto in 2019 by Naomi and National Geographic Explorer Mikayla Wujec, alder apparel was created after noticing a lack of stylish, versatile, well-fitting, and size-inclusive women’s apparel options for exploring the outdoors. Learn more about how they incorporated feedback from their customers to grow their product line, how they're trying to change the way women think about clothing size, the challenges of designing clothing for a wide range of body shapes and sizes, and more.
33: Interview with Marie Gloss and Brian Filler of Hyde Closet
Join us on this exciting episode of BOLD Brands as we sit down with Marie Gloss, SVP of Content Strategy, and Brian Filler, CRO at Hyde Closet, the breakthrough company disrupting the traditional menswear industry. Hyde Closet delivers professionally styled, rental menswear in subscription boxes to simplify shopping while generating valuable data insights. Uncover how they offer unique exposure for emerging brands, drive effective marketing through style curation, and help large brands mobilize idle inventory—a must-listen for those keen on innovative retail and inventory management solutions.
32: Interview with Justyna Przygonska of The Odder Side
Join us for an inspiring conversation with Justyna Przygonska, co-founder of The Odder Side, and brand manager Monika Bozyk. Learn how the brand integrates sustainable practices throughout the business by implementing eco-friendly production methods and reducing packaging waste while creating stylish apparel for the modern woman. Discover the team’s bold approach to building a brand, creating covetable clothing, overcoming the challenges of a competitive retail environment, and scaling sustainably beyond its Polish roots.
31: Interview with Maria McDonald of United By Blue
Join us as we sit down with Maria McDonald, the Director of Sustainability at United By Blue - a brand dedicated to creating sustainable and ethical products for outdoor enthusiasts. Maria shares her insights on sustainability in the fashion industry, the challenges and opportunities in creating eco-friendly products, and United by Blue's positive environmental impact. Don't miss this fascinating conversation about ethical consumerism, sustainable practices, and the fashion industry's future.
30: Interview with Edzard van der Wyck of Sheep Inc.
Join us as Edzard van der Wyck, the visionary co-founder of UK-based apparel knitwear company Sheep Inc., shares how data can disrupt an apparel category for the better, why the brand is using technology to track and optimize their production, manufacturing, and distribution, and exactly how Sheep Inc. became the world’s first carbon negative apparel brand while supporting animal welfare and land regeneration. Listen now on BOLD Brands!
29: Interview with Ebru Debbag of SOORTY
Ebru Debbag, Executive Director of Global Sales and Marketing at SOORTY is a veteran in the industry and takes an impact-at-scale approach to drive positive change through one of the world’s most prominent vertically-integrated denim jeans manufacturers. Ebru has introduced a New York showroom cum collaborations space to foster future possibilities in denim design and manufacturing (Space D), launched a series of CSR projects to keep the community thriving, and introduced a more regenerative approach at SOORTY, with circularity top of mind. Listen now for great insights on innovation in the denim industry.
28: Interview with Brent Hollowell of Volumental
Volumental is a fit-tech pioneer that matches customers with perfect-fitting shoes through computer vision, purchase data, and AI from 3D scans to recommend the optimal sizes, brands, and styles for each customer. BOLD Brands speaks with Brent Hollowell, Volumental’s Chief Marketing Officer, to find out how AI is already disrupting the footwear industry for the better and how to communicate this tech innovation to customers in a way that is human and relatable. A must-listen for anyone in footwear.
27 - Interview with Ram Radhakrishnan of Silq
Silq is modern businesses' first and only all-inclusive flat rate shipping solution. Ram Radhakrishnan, Silq’s CEO and co-founder, speaks with BOLD Brands host Jeff Mergy to outline how the company uses proprietary inspection data to deliver predictable shipping costs and transit times to empower apparel manufacturing companies to scale their business effectively. Listen now.
26 - Interview with Geren Lockhart of Canava
Geren Lockhart is the co-founder and CEO of lifestyle and fashion brand, Canava - a company that prioritizes positive impact and offers world-class, functional, lasting products. A former executive VP of Emerging Brands at J. Crew, Geren started Canava with co-founder Yisbel Zamora to create a sustainable lifestyle and apparel line that focuses on redefining the tools of a conscious lifestyle. Learn how a focus on transparency and authentic narrative has helped the brand grow, and why addressing fit and sizing when selling apparel online is crucial to creating an inclusive, and successful, brand.
25 - Interview with Shannon Lohr of Factory45
Founder & CEO of Factory45, Shannon Lohr works with idea-stage entrepreneurs to launch brands that are sustainably and ethically-made. She has worked closely with startup apparel companies from all over the world to create environmentally-friendly products while empowering transparency in the supply chain. BOLD Brands host Jeff Mergy speaks with this Wall Street Journal “Woman of Note” to find out how apparel brands can increase supply chain transparency through sourcing, localization and storytelling, as well as what exactly the future of fashion entails.
24 - Interview with Karin Dillie of Recurate
As the VP of partnerships for resale tech company Recurate, Karen Dillie draws on her deep retail and resale experience honed from previous roles at Sotheby’s and The RealReal, to help brands integrate a peer-to-peer marketplace seamlessly into their existing eCommerce platform. Fueled by her passion for sustainability and circularity, Karin gives us the inside scoop on why resale is imperative for brands, both as a positive environmental approach and as a revenue driver. Listen now to discover how Recurate leverages the blockchain to ensure authenticity, why it is the only tech resale provider that directly integrates into a brand’s eCommerce, and how it uses data to drive smarter decisions at the companies it partners with.
23 - Interview with Vanessa Barboni Hallik of Another Tomorrow
Vanessa Barboni Hallik is the founder and CEO of the first B Corp certified luxury fashion brand, Another Tomorrow. A former Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, Vanessa left her finance career to focus on sustainable fashion after learning about the repercussions of apparel supply chains. On this episode of BOLD Brands, our host Jeff Mergy, speaks with Vanessa to discover how Another Tomorrow is reinventing the way luxury brands do business by providing complete tech-enabled supply chain transparency and embedded resale, and how fashion start-ups can integrate activism in a way that is both impactful and effective. Listen now!
22 - Interview with Abby Sugar of Play Out Apparel
Play Out Apparel is a gender, race, age, sexuality, size, and ability-inclusive brand launched in 2018. Starting with gender-inclusive underwear and streetwear with sizing from XS to 5X, the brand is also developing its own gender-equal swim category to launch this year. Bold Brands speaks with its CEO and co-founder, Abby Sugar, on what it takes to build a truly inclusive brand, how the company embodies its values throughout the manufacturing and marketing process, and what making it to the Forbes 2021 Next 1000 list means for them.
21 - Interview with John Strotbeck of Boathouse Sports
In this episode of BOLD Brands, host Jeff Mergy speaks with John Strotbeck, the founder of Boathouse Sports, a custom athletic outerwear and gear brand that combines mass customization with lean enterprise to deliver the highest quality product to over 500,000 teams and 10 million athletes over the last two decades. Discover how Boathouse Sports started with a handful of products before turning into a full apparel team supplier nationwide and abroad, all while keeping manufacturing in Philadelphia, PA.
20 - Interview with Andrew Gibbs-Dabney of Livsn
In this episode we speak with outdoor apparel brand Livsn’s founder, Andrew Gibbs-Dabney, to find out how their dynamic and sustainable approach to building the brand, and its product, paid off. Livsn is an outdoor apparel brand for people who value collecting experiences more than stuff. Their apparel is built with quality and longevity in mind—providing its customers with durable, versatile and good-looking clothing to help them enjoy the great outdoors.
19 - Interview with Marije de Roos of Positive Fibers
In this episode, our host Jeff Mergy speaks with Marije de Roos, the self-styled Circular Fashion Detective to find out what circular fashion is and what it means to her. Learn how the industry can build trust without greenwashing, and why fully-compostable fabrics need to be the future of fashion. Marije’s own brand - Positive Fibers, recently created the world’s first fully-compostable jacket as proof that fashion and ethics can work together to create something beautiful. Listen now on Apple Podcasts.
18 - Interview with Max Perez of xSuit
Digitally-native suiting brand xSuit is transforming suiting with innovative fabric technology that requires less cleaning, while also taking the prize for being probably the most comfortable formal work attire on the market. Discover how Max Perez, founder of xSuit, designed and developed the suit while leveraging both his family’s roots in apparel manufacturing, his own background as a fashion designer, and cutting-edge nanotechnology. In the process, creating an innovative men’s suit that transforms how we think of formal clothing, functionality and comfort.
17 - Interview with Kristy Caylor of For Days
On today’s episode we are speaking with Kristy Caylor, the co-founder and CEO of For Days - a revolutionary DTC apparel brand that champions closed-loop commerce to create a sustainable clothing company. The company incentivizes customers to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion with its Take Back Bag program and swap program, and has been featured by Vogue and Fast Company, among others. Hear how Kristy wants to turn your closet into currency, all while recycling and up-cycling unwanted clothing into products that hold value in its next life.
16 - Interview with Brian Ciciora of Truewerk
Brian Ciciora founded Truewerk in 2015 to provide high-performance workwear for men and women in the trades. The direct-to-consumer brand provides industrialized athletes- a term Brian coined about the people the company served - with apparel that would exceed their needs and leverage modern fabrics, greater attention to detail, and a deeper connection to the job site - innovating workwear. Listen and discover how this digitally-native workwear brand found its niche and owns it while going from strength to strength despite the global pandemic—a must-listen for anyone interested in starting up their own online apparel business.
15 - Interview with Andy Fine of Sartoro
In this episode we speak with Andy Fine, founder of DTC suiting company, Sartoro. Andy launched Sartoro in February 2020, just as the world was poised on the brink of a global lockdown due to COVID-19. Finding himself stuck in Vietnam, where he had been overseeing production, Andy used the time to further develop the brand and learned how to adapt to global challenges, especially supply chain disruptions. Listen to discover how Sartoro turned the epic challenges of 2020 into opportunities for eCommerce growth.
14 - Josh West and Blake Cocanougher, CEO and VP of Sales at Blue Delta Jeans Co.
Bespoke denim pants company and official jean of the US Ryder Cup, Blue Delta Jeans has been crafting custom-made denim jeans for discerning customers since 2012. The Mississippi-based company, founded by Josh West and Nick Weaver, makes all their jeans in the USA, leveraging local seamstresses' skills and expertise to create their signature five-pocket denim using only the finest raw materials. Recently, the company introduced an online fitting tool that allows customers to be fit from anywhere in the world. In this episode of BOLD Brands, we speak with CEO Josh West and Blake Cocanougher, VP of Sales & Director of Wholesale Operations, to find out how they are building a scalable DTC model for custom jeans using cutting edge fit and sizing technology.
13 - Stephanie Benedetto, Co-founder of Queen of Raw
In this episode of BOLD Brands, we speak with former corporate attorney turned fashion tech and sustainability entrepreneur, Stephanie Benedetto. The CEO and Co-Founder of Queen of Raw—an online marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles—shares her motivation to turn pollution into profit and keep textile waste out of landfills by leveraging data analytics and technology. Featured on NPR, Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vogue, Stephanie is a 2020 Inc. Female Founders 100. Find out how she grew Queen of Raw during COVID-19 and her forecast on the technology that will change the future of apparel retail and fashion eCommerce.
12- David Wolfe, CEO of Olivers
Californian brand Olivers is all about premium athletic staples reimagined for the 21st century. Designed with LA-living in mind, this direct-to-consumer menswear label focuses on high-quality innovative fabrics sourced from as far afield as Australia and Peru to create high-performance, good-looking apparel. Listen to hear how their focus on customer feedback and innovative performance fabrics has led to higher conversions and helped expand their business online.
11- Juli Lee, Co-Founder of Julianna Rae
Selling luxury sleepwear and lingerie online might have seemed unlikely to succeed when Julianna Rae launched in 2005 but a quality product range combined with excellent customer service and care meant that the brand built up a loyal fan base quickly and has continued to grow. Now in its 16th year, this digitally-native company owes its success to paying close attention to what its customers want, while also focusing on creating a seamless online shopping experience. We speak with co-founder, Juli Lee, to discover how the brand has pioneered luxury lingerie eCommerce.
10- Kelly Watters, Co-Founder of Western Rise
Telluride-based Western Rise grew out of a personal need for high-quality clothing to serve an adventurous modern lifestyle. Founders Kelly and Will Watters were outdoor guides in Vail, Colorado who quickly realized that lugging a duffle filled with different performance gear was something that could, and should, be improved upon. So they created their own line of premium, menswear classics that focused on performance and versatility, leveraging on their roots in textile design to introduce innovative technical fabrics and designs that could go from managerial meetings to weekend warrior. Find out how they grew their DTC business during a crazy 2020 while stepping up on the brand's sustainability and social responsibility.
09- Carla Hogg, Co-founder of Gentle Fawn
Vancouver-based Gentle Fawn has established itself as a leading purveyor of chic, feminine, and yet effortless, clothing for women. A wholesale to eCommerce success story, the brand is celebrating its 18th year in the highly competitive world of apparel retail and fashion. We speak with co-founder Carla Hogg to discover the power of listening, why sustainability is a core part of the company culture, and how they work with retailers and customers to get back on track in a post-COVID world.
08 - Kyle Bergman, Founder of The Great Fantastic
Imagine a pair of overalls made from sweatpants material. Sounds great? Well, Kyle Bergman thinks so too. The founder of The Great Fantastic has the enviable title of Chief Swoveralls Officer and has created the world's most comfortable pair of overalls. Find out how he built up a successful brand while balancing a commitment to producing quality apparel that champions sustainability. From collaborations with influencers to artists, discover how Bergman is turning Swoveralls (Sweatpants + Overalls, geddit?) into The Next Big Thing.
07 - Charlie Burgwyn, Founder of Stitch Golf
Founded in 2012 as a headcover company, Stitch became known for designing and creating products with precise attention to detail, all the way down to the last stitch. In this episode, we speak with Charlie Burgwyn, Stitch’s entrepreneurial founder and chief creative designer on how to create a brand that connects effortlessly with its audience. With exacting attention to detail, Burgwyn has created an enviable brand in one of the fastest-growing sports categories while remaining true to the sport of golf. Discover how authenticity and consistency have played a role in the brand’s fast-growing success.
06- Marc C. Close of Six Atomic
As a former fashion business owner, Marc had a front-row seat to the struggles of inventory and supply chain management and how it can have a huge impact on a small fashion start-up. Six Atomic was born of the need to address the inefficiencies of traditional fashion and apparel supply chains. Find out how Six Atomic's A.I-powered supply chain solutions enable brands to automate trend analyzation, patternmaking, and grading to accomplish what had formerly taken months, in mere minutes.
05 - Ben Chiang, CEO of Forma
Using computer vision and graphics technology, Forma builds photorealistic avatars that are a dynamic and personalized extension of a person’s online identity. From just a single image, users can create a flexible visual identity instantly, and photo-realistically, allowing individuals to try on any outfit virtually. BOLD Brands speak with co-founder and Forma CEO, Ben Chiang, to find out how, and why, the next fashion moment will take place in VR.
04 - Jessica Couch, Founder of Luxor and Finch
Jessica Couch is the founder of Luxor and Finch, a leading business and technology consultancy for apparel retailers. As a powerhouse consultancy for brands and retailers looking to overcome retailing challenges using the latest in technology, Jessica leverages her experience of the common pain points affecting brands, especially when it comes to solving sizing, to connect the dots for success. Learn how fixing fit is essential to improving sustainability as well as addressing inclusivity and diversity issues, all big topics facing brands today. A must-catch episode.
03 - Desiree Buchanan, Founder of PopLinen
Desiree set out to start a new kind of apparel brand, with clothes designed to fit all people and made locally in Los Angeles. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Desiree quickly pivoted to making masks and she's prepared to continue to innovate as the world continues to change. If you're looking for inspiration on why following you should follow your dreams, you won't want to miss this episode.
02 - Andrew Parkes, Co-Founder of Eph Apparel
Eph Apparel make some of the best custom clothing in the world, they've been doing it for years and they've found people love their clothes so much, they've developed a global following. Making sure customers have a great experience online and in-store is paramount of Eph Apparel, and Andrew, one of Eph's founders has some great insights for other brands looking at starting small and someday expanding globally.
01 - Diana Ganz, Co-Founder of SuitShop
SuitShop set out to create a new solution for black tie attire: a sharp-looking tuxedo that could be purchased for less than the cost of a traditional rental. Jeanne and Diana, two childhood friends, joined forces to launch SuitShop (formerly The Groomsman Suit) in February 2016. Since then, the company has been a part of countless weddings helping thousands of men and women look sharp. In this episode, Diana shares more about the company's early days, how they've leveraged technology, and what they're doing to keep things moving forward during the pandemic.