DIP 006: All for one and none for all

PLUS: Man Repeller's forthcoming shop, UNTUCKit infantilizes men, and carbon credits are the new black

👋 Hi. Hims, Out East, and Net-a-Porter advertised on airplane banners in the Hamptons last summer. I’m guessing we’ll see banners from Spotify, Mirror, and Parachute this year. Think otherwise? Let me know, and hit me with any questions, comments, or additional thoughts about anything you read here.

The Chips 🎧

The Dip 🐎

Before last week, Burrow and Buffy were single-product brands. They made one thing and did it well. But within a day of each other, the two brands announced new additions to their product lines: a new couch silhouette and a lighter, breezier comforter, respectively.

Brands grow by diversifying their offerings. But how a single-product brand chooses to grow can signal the direction it’s looking to move in.

1 + 1 =

On April 23, Burrow announced the launch of its Nomad Collection, a new couch in a more streamlined silhouette available with either fabric or leather upholstery. Burrow also discounted its Original series and seems to be phasing it out. Updating a silhouette isn’t unusual, but it’s Burrow’s introduction of a leather sofa that I find most interesting.

It comes at a higher price point and appeals to a different consumer. It’s not unlike Away’s decision to launch an aluminum suitcase. When a brand whose product is not exactly disposable introduces something at a higher price point, it’s not looking to retain existing customers, it’s looking to own a larger share of the market.

(An aside: Burrow did introduce pillow sets last year, which seemed like more of a gifting play than anything else, but can also engage existing customers in a small way.)

10 x 10 =

When Buffy launched in 2017, its identity was refreshingly playful. In 2018, it issued a redesign that maintained the overstuffed typeface but felt disappointingly conventional. It wasn’t an exercise in vanity, though. Buffy’s facelift prepped it for the future. On April 22, it launched its second product, the Breeze comforter, a more breathable cousin to its original Cloud comforter.

Buffy’s expansion caters to consumer preferences, not wallets. And unlike a sofa, which most urban-dwellers max out on after just one, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for someone to purchase both of Buffy’s comforters and trade them out seasonally (like linen sheets for summer and warmer weaves for winter).

We can expect Buffy to tailor products to customer preferences as it continues to expand, filtering everything through a lens of simplicity and sustainability. (Eucalyptus sheets, anyone?)

Growing Outside The Walls

Eventually, brands reach a point where they need to think beyond their core products in order to sustain growth and remain relevant. It’s the invisible asymptote.

Casper launched with a single mattress — perfect for everyone, its ads proclaimed. Fast forward five years and Casper now has five different mattresses, plus three types of sheets, furniture, sleep hardware, sleep-related media, and a nap store. It needed something for those who didn’t like its original mattress, and it needed more products to keep existing customers engaged. With all of this, Casper is no longer a mattress brand, it’s a sleep tech company.

Away launched with a carry-on in 2016. Today, it has suitcases in four sizes, and the built-in battery that was so groundbreaking at launch is hardly the primary selling point. It has grown beyond suitcases, too, adding five additional travel bags (including the just-launched weekender), interior organizers, and a beautifully executed magazine. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Away to create a vacation-planning service, either. Because at the end of the day, Away isn’t about luggage, it’s about travel.

Today’s best brands offer more than just product. Yet while magazines, podcasts, meet-ups, and Slack channels keep fans engaged, ultimately the only way to keep people coming back is to give them more to buy.

It’s a delicate balance between determining the logical next step, anticipating needs, and giving customers something they don’t yet know they want. Nailing it isn’t easy — in fact, it’s nearly impossible. But getting it right can mean the difference between sustained growth and fizzling out, and being hailed as visionary or just another online brand.

Still Hungry?

Real Dip 🌡

Carrot-harissa hummus. Inspired by Bon Appétit but made without any regard for measurements.

Start with four or five skinny carrots (not horse carrots). Roast them with a smidge of olive oil at 425 degrees until slightly charred. Let them cool.

Put the roasted carrots, one drained can of chickpeas, a four-second pour of tahini, juice from one lemon, a smashed clove of garlic, a few pinches of salt, and a heaping spoonful of harissa into a food processor. Let ‘er rip. Drizzle in olive oil for a few seconds to make it silky smooth. Plays well with rice cakes.

Thanks for snacking.

— Emily  📌