This post originally appeared on September 17, 2019, in Add to Cart — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.
What do Harry’s, Hims, Warby Parker, Quip, and Everlane all in common? Sure, they’ve all got that millennial sheen, a whiff of cool given off by clean white logos and simple ads and slick websites. They’re also all what’s called, in industry jargon, DTC brands, and they all worked with Gin Lane.
Gin Lane was, until recently, a marketing and branding agency that gained a reputation for helping to design and launch trendy startups — the aforementioned plus Recess, Smile Direct Club, Bonobos, AYR, and a ton more. They’re all DTC companies, aka direct-to-consumer brands that don’t bother with stuffy third parties like Macy’s or Bed Bath & Beyond and instead launch with nothing but an attractive e-comm site, Facebook ads, and a great Instagram account. Glossier, Away, and Allbirds are all DTC, as are the bulk of the brands Gin Lane worked to launch.
Which is why it’s intriguing but maybe not altogether surprising that last month, the agency announced it would just start doing them on its own. The agency renamed itself Pattern and said it’d be creating its own DTC brands — starting with a cookware brand, launched today. Called Equal Parts, it’s not the only cookware startup out there; Great Jones, with its colorful Dutch ovens and gleaming pans, has gotten most of the buzz, with some reserved for Made In and Material (pots and pans) and Misen (knives). No matter what, these brands need to be catchy with excellent branding — without sitting on store shelves, word-of-mouth and a strong Instagram presence (and NYC subway ads) are all they’ve got.
Equal Parts’s move: Go the Apple route. If Great Jones is the cheeky, candy-colored take on cookware, Equal Parts is the sleek serious one, all in matte black. Equal Parts’ general manager Tyler Sgro told me the aim was to design something “gender neutral, versus a lot of cookware out there today” (a shout-out to the Great Jones Dutchess, perhaps?), and they took inspiration from Apple with smooth surfaces and clean lines. Black also makes for an attractive backdrop. “The black is a really nice canvas for, say, a beautiful tomato sauce or a beautiful shakshuka,” said Sgro. “It’s a great canvas for the star of the show — the food itself.”
It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a nice look for Instagram.
Things to buy
- I will pledge loyalty to my Schott Zwiesel wine glasses until the end of days, but I have to admit there’s some appeal to Duralex tumblers, the casual wine glass of choice for insouciant French drinkers and some sommeliers.
- Please stop to admire (and immediately click pre-order) this pitch-perfect Fila-esque falafel T-shirt.
- Make like Sumi Ali, founder of Yes Plz coffee subscription service, and set up a DIY iced coffee station at your next party using the Coldwave Beverage Chiller.
- If you’ve been admiring the Moroccan-style rugs that seem to populate all the coolest restaurants (just peep the rug styling at Niche Niche), check out Salam Hello, a newish company sourcing rugs directly from women artisans in Morocco. This wool-and-sabra silk rug is simply beautiful.
Things to know
- For those in NYC, Pop-Up Grocer — the pop-up shop in Soho featuring trendy snack brands with excellent packaging and on-trend selling points (keto! nut-free! CBD!) — returns for a month this Friday for a month.
- Did you forget that Crate and Barrel has a restaurant? It does, called The Table at Crate (shrug), and it announced today that it’s expanding to 15 more locations. Home decor retail and restaurants — it’s turning into a love story for the ages.
- Could a $20 T-shirt save an iconic NYC corner store?
- Paging Scotch Brite, I have a commercial idea for you...
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