Letter from the Editor
BY Noah Gellman | Founder & CEO | The Lead
We are collectively pausing to take in the moment. There is an optimism that the pendulum is swinging from apocalypse to renaissance. And although the world may be shifting beneath our feet, right now it feels like we are beginning to move with it – providing us an opportunity to stop and think about not how to catch-up, but instead, what comes next. With that said, for the fashion category – the largest and most diverse within retail – there is opportunity but also much to be done.
The pace of change in the fashion (apparel, footwear, accessories and beauty) and retail industry has been remarkable and continues to pick up steam. From the customer to the back-office – there is innovation occurring at every layer of the fashion-retail-commerce value chain. It is a fulltime job keeping up with today’s industry trends (we would know) and an even larger undertaking to identify what comes next. With that said, there a couple of rules we follow:
First: Do not run to the ball, run to where the ball is going. Like an athlete, we must be a step ahead – anticipate what is coming next and go there. Recent history has shown us that the break-out start-ups represent where the world is going and at The Lead we focus on curating not just those companies, but the ideas and expectations driving them.
Second: Follow the money. Venture Capitalists are masters of identifying the most impactful business models and innovative technologies. The cost of starting a technology company or even a brand is historically low and the amount of money being invested in these types of companies is historically high.
This capital is the fuel that powers these companies, whom in turn build, scale and disrupt. Our work here at The Lead is to focus on the sweet spot in the fashion, retail and technology markets where innovation is shifting behavior and creating new business opportunities. We accomplish our mission by featuring break-out private companies (start-ups) and leading executives across the intersection, diving into the strategies of leading brands and investors, and bringing The Lead community to life at our salons, assemblies and summits.
Insights are great, but action is what matters. This is why The Lead is first and foremost a community. Both online and offline we have gathered the leading brand and retail executives, digital native brands and emerging technology startups, investors, Fortune 1000 tech leaders and the fashion community.
With the insights and the community in place, the final puzzle pieces are the structure and the catalyst to driving connections. This is why The Lead’s executive events are a next generation forum, a place of inspired learning, revealing dialog, elevated hospitality, structured networking and of course, actionable outcomes.
Thank you to The Lead team for your dedicated work, to our guest writers and event speakers, to our sponsors and partners and especially to our advisors and friends.
We hope you enjoy this edition of The Lead Quarterly and The Defiant 25 list – be on the look-out for the Fall Edition where we will feature The Foremost 50 Digital Native Brands.