Let’s face it, 2017 was a grind for many companies. Whether large corporates that have been zombified, or smaller star-ups scrambling for cash, all sectors are stagnating. So, we though we would get the jump on the end-of-year best-of lists and highlight two companies that we think will come out of the gates in January and have a tremendous 2018. Our picks center around our general theme of powering small business, and these are spunky well-run organizations with great products.
First up is a beauty brand that puts ‘principles before profits’ and really stands by its principles. So much so that they withdrew from the China market when they refused to test on animals, and only re-entered the market when cross-border was exempted from the requirement. It was their largest market at the time. Talk about walking-the-walk. Bravo to the team at Russell Organics for creating a brand that consumers can get behind and support in the market.
The brand has a very straight-forward business model. Make the best skin care products without any chemical toxins, and no animal testing or animal derived products. Not even Beeswax. Further, they fully list every single ingredient in every product they manufacture. We looked high and low and could not find any other brand that could jump over that bar.
Why we think 2018 is their year; they are one of the few remaining globally traded and independently owned beauty brands, they have successfully re-launched into China, they are expanding across the EU in 2018, they make the best skin care products in the market, they have hundreds of thousands of followers across social media, and they are headed by Richard Russell who has a long track-record of creating revenue, having personally closed hundreds of millions of revenue deals over the years. And did we mention that they make the absolute best skin care products?
Next up is a company in California called Dote Shopping. One of the big issues for brands and retailers in the market is the omnipresence of Amazon and their network of affiliates and 3rd party sellers. This eco-system exists only to sell product, at any price. Brand equity is being driven to zero as competitors bid lower and lower to win the buy box.
This has led to a retail collapse as brands want the wholesale revenue they get from Amazon merchants, but larger retailers have refused to on-board brands that cannot support their MSRP in the market.
Enter Dote Shopping. run by Lauren Farleigh. Dote is an app that promotes itself as the “Mobile Mall” for brands that refuse to do business with Amazon but still want to drive digital demand. The app has a healthy mix of retailers and brand owners and we are guessing that you likely have done business with many of them.
Given the retail heavy line up that blocks Amazon; Sephora, Urban Outfitters, UGG, Forever 21, we are betting that Dote come out of the holiday shopping season strongly and goes from strength to strength as brands migrate from the zero margin environment of Amazon and move to the brand-friendly Dote marketplace.
We will circle back next November and review these two picks to brag about how smart we are. Till then have an awesome year.