DIP 018: The internet repeats itself

PLUS: A slime-themed pop-up, Bush 2020, and Co–Star for stocks.

👋 Hi. CBD label Not Pot has been stocked out of its signature gummies for a couple of weeks now. To fill the void, it’s been promoting Not Pot-atoes and is sending customers a free branded pouch and stickers. It’s an interesting contrast to Rent The Runway’s supply chain drama. When life hands you lemons, make surprise-and-delight lemonade. As always, reply with questions, comments, or thoughts about anything you read here.

The Chips 🕶

  • Madewell is partnering with ThredUp to sell secondhand denim from its own brand.

  • Goffee is Seamless for coffee and I… don’t understand why anyone would use this.

  • Outdoor Voices is building upon last fall’s Megafleece capsule with new fleeces, zip-off pants, and a Merrell collab.

  • Speaking of Outdoor Voices, is a training app in the works? A trademark application for the phrase "Beginners For Life" is filed under international class 41, which encompasses products related to education, training, and entertainment.

  • Sloomoo is an experiential, slime-themed pop-up.

  • Joshua Tree-based olive oil company Wonder Valley now makes skincare products.

  • Moe is a business management tool for influencers from the team behind WeWoreWhat.

  • Ultra-premium activewear label Wone revamped its ecomm experience and is shifting away from an exclusivity-led model.

  • Bodily specializes in post-partum health.

  • A meat- and plant-based sausage company is setting up shop in Brooklyn. Related: Misfit, formerly a juice company, now offers a similar product.

  • Tango is a unisex, all-purpose sex toy brand.

  • byHumankind is breaking down the ingredients it uses in a very Seed-inspired manner.

  • Flamingo launched Mons Mist, a moisturizing spray similar in concept to Fur, alongside a Bush 2020 campaign.

  • Is saffron the new turmeric? The Fullest’s new saffron latte suggests it might be.

  • Dieux Skin makes ingestible skincare products.

  • MSCHF’s latest project, Bull And Moon, is Co–Star for stocks.

  • Fancy sleepwear brand Lunya launched a men’s line called Lahgo.

The Dip 🗯

I’ve been thinking about the cyclical nature of trends and how the pace of the digital world might accelerate that (see here for more questions to keep you up at night). Then Copycatted launched, and things started to click.

Safe spaces for self-discovery…

I became an obsessive follower of fashion blogs in high school. I had a list of Blogspot URLs that I checked daily — Fashion Toast, Style Rookie, Childhood Flames, Sea Of Shoes, Garance Dore, The Sartorialist, etc., etc. — and pulled outfit inspo accordingly.

Before that, there were the Teen Vogue forums. Readers from around the world would share recent purchases, wishlists, outfits of the day, and affordable recreations of runway looks. It was my gateway into the world of digital self-expression, and while I didn’t participate, I was an active voyeur.

Copycatted, which launched earlier this month, describes itself as a platform where real people can share product recommendations. It profiles and celebrates girls with unique points of view, and very much reminds me of Chictopia.

In 2008, when Blogspot had a thriving community of fashion bloggers whose monetization strategies maxed out at banner ads, Chictopia launched as both an alternative and complement to blogs. It was a style platform that allowed users to upload a photo, tag brands and products, and comment on others’ looks. It built out an editorial team and profiled the site’s top users.

At its core, Chictopia was a celebration of individual style and a platform for self-discovery. It was targeted to users who were just beginning to come into their own — not unlike Copycatted, or H&M Group’s short-lived Itsapark.

… and the products that facilitate it

It’s not insignificant that we’re seeing Gen Z-targeted beauty brands crop up. Relatively speaking, make-up is affordable. It’s an easy and accessible purchase for someone who doesn’t have a steady income but may save up birthday money or an allowance (that’s still a thing, right?).

There’s InnBeauty Project, Blume, Fluff, and Starface. Even Glossier seems to have shifted its attention to a younger audience.

I remember going to the mall with friends in middle school, having no more than $20 to spend, and wandering through Sephora and Bath & Body Works for nail polish, lip gloss, or perfume samples. We’d take pictures on our Canon Powershot ELPHs and post them to Flickr (these were the days before Facebook, mind you). It was the first time that we were making our own purchasing decisions — no longer accompanied by a parent whose wallet we relied on.

Is going to the Glossier store with friends any different than going to the mall? It’s still a destination, and a playful one at that. Visitors take pictures with the intent of sharing them. The products available for purchase are accessibly priced and align with a narrative of self-discovery. In going to the place and buying the thing, or simply buying it online, we project something about ourselves — what we are, what we believe in, and what we hope to become.

A cross-generational playbook

All of this is to say that purchasing habits stay the same. The brands and the marketing tactics may change but the gravitation toward products and platforms that facilitate discovery, especially among adolescents (sorry, I sound old), remains constant.

As this cohort of consumers gets older, new brands with more mature products will arise that speak their language. They’ll be bold, bright, inclusive, and imbued with a conscience. They’ll be digitally native and will find new ways to engage with customers.

Take Parade, for example. It prioritizes SMS over email and its marketing seems to say “this is the new way of doing things.” It’s diametrically opposed to Victoria’s Secret, in much the same way that Aerie was when it launched in 2006. It’s a brand that young adults will grow into and then — maybe — grow out of as they get older and solidify who they are, what they value, and what they stand for, an identity facilitated in part by the brands they purchased from.

Still hungry?

Real Dip 🛰

Curried kuri squash (or any kind of squash, really) dip.

Cut your squash in half, remove the seeds, drizzle it with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and roast with the cut side facing down at 350 degrees until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. Let it cool.

Tear up one half of the squash and put it in a food processor (or scrape the insides out and ditch the skin — either one works). Save the remaining half for another meal. Add a smashed clove of garlic, pinches of salt and pepper, and a teaspoon-ish of curry powder (or DIY a mix of equal parts turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, and chili pepper). Add a large spoonful of tahini. Drizzle in olive oil.

Blitz it, taste it, see what it’s missing. Lemon? Salt? Add it.

Plays well with grain bowls, flatbreads, and the rest of the squash.

Thanks for snacking,

— Emily 🐿