April 3, 2023


What will brands do if collaborations become uncool?

If you’ve been hiding under a rock and aren’t aware of the trend of de-influencing trend, dive in here.

I have personally been a little shocked with how interesting people are finding this trend. Giving real opinions that aren’t paid for has us shook it seems.

But it has got me wondering what ‘we’re over it’ moment is coming next. 

What other trends are so ubiquitous it has become central to how social media functions.

Is the collab next?!


Will one of brands biggest audience growth mills come to an end?

Are we grown tired of 20 GANNI collabs a year?

Has Mackintosh re-emerged with a new ‘fresh takes’ on the raincoat enough times?

Have Crocs Crocced with too many?

The way BLANK STREET coffee—as Bon Appetit pointed out: basically a brand designed as a vehicle for collaborations—is going, I think the answer is not just yet.

But like with all things. The backlash is coming. It’s not a matter of if, but when. 

Anything does not go anymore. The rose-colored glasses are off.

Beloved Outdoor Voices was recently skewered for their Disney collab.

And what of the collabs' best and worst enemy: AI? When everyone has the ability to dream up collaborations, often with fantastic and over-the-top results, how will real collaborations compete? And will it be worth it for brands, knowing a collab is often a 1-year production versus a 20-prompt exercise? 

So the question is:

Will brands learn to innovate on their own? Sans crutch of another cool brand or influencer to give them the edge. 

Will brands learn to innovate on their own? Sans crutch of another cool brand or influencer to give them the edge. 

Will we push past the blatant PR GRAB?

Will we know how to de-collab?

April 3, 2023



If I told you today to put your website up and leave it alone, alone alone, [without being able to change a single thing] for 5 years would you?! F**k no and you wouldn’t, excuse your language 😂

Would you design the same tee for 5 years straight? Likely not.

Read backdated trends reports for the latest advice? No.

So why do brands spend years working on perfecting their brand strategy and positioning and then leave it as an anchor for teams to sink with?

Today’s reality is that things move fast. New paradigms emerge. Chat GPT3, TikTok, global pandemics, bank collapses. Good brands chase great brands, nipping at heels. Two things are true: Everything moves quickly today. And there’s always someone new coming for you (if you are doing it right).

So what is a brand to do? 

Keep moving. Keep growing. 

Get active 

The problem is, times have changed but the approach to brand positioning has not.

Traditional Positioning = A strategy exercise to define what makes your brand distinctive. It’s often a C-Suite activity and not truly an integral part of every decision a brand makes day to day. Teams often lack the clarity of how the positioning affects everyday decisions leading to reactive decisions that don’t move you forward.

But what if you approach positioning in an active way?

The Active Position = Taking traditional positioning and going one step further. Putting your brand distinction into action in every day and extraordinary ways.

Sounds great, right? It is. 

It is a center for your evolving brand.

There are so many benefits to this approach:

  1. Your brand remains relevant and growth feels distinctive.
  2. Every action you take is a step forward—less chaos and more clarity.
  3. It helps you retain and maintain challenger brand status.
  4. Relationships with your existing customers get stronger, new audiences constantly and consistently get to see what makes you different
  5. And the icing on the cake? Internal alignment and clarity means your team is always ready to execute—content, product and creation comes easier. 

Singular brand visions are dead. 

Singular muse died a long time ago. 

And static brand positions are dead too.

Welcome to the world of an Active Position. 

The world is waiting for you to evolve.

April 3, 2023



The metaverse is the new mall. 

And no, not because it’s full of brands wanting your attention. 

Let’s call a spade a spade: 

The metaverse is the new mall because it is a place kids love* to kill time and make friends—and basically everyone else will hate it.


It’s is simple: 

It’s too much work.

Much like going to the mall requires getting in a car, finding parking, not finding what you’re looking for, dealing with others and most often walking away with nothing. 

The metaverse requires too much of us.

The metaverse is not made for scrolling in bed lying next to sleeping partners. Nor for using while standing in line for coffee. And it’s certainly not made for wasting time at the office when we can’t focus. 

It’s not immediately gratifying.

It’s not designed to be sneaky or mindless.

The metaverse requires full immersion. Immersion we won’t tolerate lying in bed next to us. Immersion we can’t hide. Immersion we can’t sneak in the in between.



And it’s complex. 

Worlds change fast. You don’t learn to scroll vertically and call it a day.

If you aren’t doing it for work or aren’t an avid gamer, you won’t keep up.

And the final reason the metaverse will not go mainstream? 

Delia Cai puts it perfectly: “the pandemic taught us no one actually wants to be on the internet more.”

So, you’re a brand and you’re wondering if you should enter the metaverse. How do you know if it’s right for you? 

It’s actually quite simple. 

Are you a media franchise? This could be your jam. Are you a genuinely beloved youth brand? If so, play at your own risk. If not, much like branded TikTok doesn’t play well, branded Metaverse spaces are probably not going to do you much good. 

It’s time we stop burning millions only to get ignored. 

Let’s let the kids have the metaverse. They deserve it. Leave it there for them to have fun with, to get weird and try things they want to in a world  dwindling with ‘safe’ options.

Everyone else? Find another way to spend precious marketing dollars.


*About 50% of Roblox are 12 or under—and users spend a lot of time there.

A recent Qustodio study showed TikTok running circles around YouTube in daily engagement (113 minutes per day vs. 77 minutes per day, for daily actives). But Roblox trumps both at a staggering 190 minutes per day, up 90% since 2020.

April 3, 2023



The future of retail is personal. 

Curation will take over. 

But who’s curating is about to change.

Before we get into what the future of retail looks like, let’s take a quick look back on the eras of retail that led us here.

Prior to the early 19th century, we existed in the Bespoke Era. Goods more or less were made for you personally. Tailoring was the norm, handmade goods were common practice, vendors sold door to door. 

Then, enter the department store. House of Fraser, Au Bon Marche, Gallerie Layette, Selfridges, Macy’s.

We begin our Curator Approved Era

Many goods, brought together under a tight lens of someone with taste, usually the taste du jour helping the masses stay caught up.

Fast forward and we reach today: our Peer Approved Era

Initially it was crowd sourcing with the likes of Yelp and Lookbook.nu

Quickly we evolved to individual curators: influencers. ‘Peers’ curating a list of products or even storefronts’ with tools like Flagship.

Peer approval even sparked all our favorite Substacks. A constant stream of curated lists, more personal than PR-bought media. 

But the question is: what is our next era?

What will help the decision-fatigued consumers in a world where they make over 35000 decisions a day?

Welcome to the Curated For You Era.

Now you may be thinking: Tiktok is already here. That may be true in terms of content but this era will go far beyond a scarily good algorithm. Far beyond what we are just starting to see in Web3 ‘worlds’. This is just the cusp. 

AI and user-owned data powered by blockchain will enter us into an era of truly personalized curation. 

But serving up good, truly personal recommendations isn’t what will mark this era.

This era will change the shape of retail as we know it today because of YOU.

And we couldn’t need you more.

Ibrahim Ibrahim put it so well: ‘The past 30 years have squeezed the magic and margins out of retail, as we have tried to make it more about convenience, commodity, ubiquity, value and speed, while the next 30 years should be about bringing that magic, storytelling and wonder per square foot back.

The era of Curated For You is that future.

It’s a blending of all previous eras and more.

It will feel like a unique dream-woven moment, made just for you. 


You love a specific illustrator. 


Brands will mint you the collaboration.

Limited edition, just for 12hrs. 

Just for you

They will then learn from your purchase, offering you more truly unique products at a clip that will make Shein look slow.

In many cases YOU will be the designer.

VC, Rex Woodbury, put it pretty clearly in his recent article on the retail revolution

You will “be able to enter the text prompt “bright orange high-tops emblazoned with the swoosh and ‘REX’ on the back” and get a custom-made shoe in seconds. Everyone will become a product designer, unlocking new levels of personalization.”

But that’s not even the magical part. 

I predict it will define this era because it will change HOW we shop.

In this coming era every brand-owned ecomm site will offer a curated selection that goes beyond one brand. 

Do you always buy Everlane tees but Ganni jeans? Brands will accept that and serve you up what you’re looking for in hopes it will push you over the edge.

But it won’t stop there.

The real prediction is it will also change WHERE we shop.

You won’t go to brands. They will come to you.

You will have your own store. 

Brands will be granted access. By YOU.

It’s ecomm decentralized. A truly consumer-first world. Who gets access? Who has to pay to get in? This will be up to you to decide. Brands will fight to be in the business of YOU.

Perhaps it’s not the Curated For You Era. 

Perhaps it’s the Curated BY You Era.

It’s time for retailers to ready themselves for this evolution. The power shift is coming. 

Get ready for everything to change.

March 24, 2023


Filling the Hedonistic gap with bite-size, guiltless pleasure.

The title of this article was initially going to be ‘The Future of Luxury is Bite Sized’. That title is a true phenomenon. The desire for luxury is expanding but the size of the ‘splurge’ is often smaller. It is no longer the size of a $12K Birkin and is now the size of a $28 bag of chips. $28 dollar chips.  A whoa-that’s-pricey bag of chips but a luxury we can all manage—and increasingly, seem to justify. You only have to take a walk through the aisles of Erewhon, Foxtrot or Big Night to see it happening. $55 ceramic mugs bought in an elite-athlete-level competitive buying experience—yet another example. But while this phenomenon is fascinating, the more interesting question is: WHY is this happening? Hedonism 3.0. (Or 15.0 as Hedonism has been around since the dawn of woman). In our post-Me Too, post-alcohol, post-sex-scenes world, we are having to fill our Hedonistic cups elsewhere. 

With cultural shifts, those latent desires still exist under the surface, and as a result, we’re seeking that pleasure…in the safe loving arms of expensive chips and fancy supplements. 

Don’t get this wrong, we’re pro Me-too. Can understand the ‘alcohol is poison’ rationale. Agree with the concerns of consumerism and the planet. That’s not the point. The reality is there are fewer places where ‘pleasure’ feels safe. Hedonism at a VERY basic level, it is defined as: 

But one VERY important and distinctive aspect of Hedonism not mentioned in the definition above, that is key:


And this is where bite-sized luxury comes in. We want pleasure and we want to not feel guilty about it! Exactly what small but extravagant pleasures offer.  Yes, it’s indulgent but it’s an indulgence you don’t have to feel bad about. This guilt-free view of expensive snacks is such a phenomenon it has spurred a treasure trove of hysterical content. One prime example, the realization that the minibar is in fact not the devil or that tiny little hotel-fridge was filled with Cokes and chocolate bars are not so unimaginably expensive they were going to bankrupt your family and ensure you could never go on vacation again. 

@the.mcfarlands Dad used to tell us we would get charged if we even *touched* the snacks 💀 #dan #dad ♬ The Treason of Isengard - Howard Shore

As a collective generation we have not managed to mend the many realms of mental health issues we face but we have as a collective managed to get past the fear of the minibar. 

So what can brands do with this?


Turn up shame-free pleasure. Splurgy options that lean heavily on indulgent and divine pleasure—within reach. 

One example: the minibar. Following in the footsteps of brands like Ghia and Amass and show up to make this splurge even more  worthy.


Gift with purchase that people actually love spending money on but are frequently shamed for doing so—like Tarot Readings (and end the choke-hold bag totes have on GWP—pls lord). If not Tarot, tattoos. If not tattoos, you get the point. 


Embrace a coming together that creates a Hedonistic level of splurgy nirvana. The key to this is understanding what pleasure/pinnacle means to both audiences in the collab or you can really miss the mark. You also have to go big or go home. Nike x Tiffany collab for example that really missed all the marks because it didn’t go far enough. You have to maximize the pleasure or don’t bother.

Have fun! Get wild!