The Ones to Watch | 2021
Meet the new class of D2C brands poised for rapid-growth, high-impact, & The Foremost 50 List
By Andrew Barone
Andrew Barone is a Senior Vice President and Director of Business Development at Rosenthal & Rosenthal, a privately held commercial finance firm helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Ones to Watch spotlights the future front-runners in the fashion, retail, & consumer industries. Primarily discovered as we build The Foremost 50 List, these high-potential direct-to-consumer brands are breaking away from the pack and showing great promise plus the foundations to make a significant impact on the industry.
We’ve been tracking a host of growing D2C brands that have caught our eye — and captured the attention of investors — in 2021. With their savvy branding, bold marketing campaigns, and diversified sales strategies, these brands are making their mark. These 15 standouts represent some of the most entrepreneurial, sustainable, mission-driven D2C brands in their respective industries, hailing everywhere from the west coast to New York to overseas. Now it’s time to meet them.
All-natural self-care essentials for women, from razors to supplements to personal care products, delivered right to your door.
Founders: Charles Desmarais & Maria Markina
Female-founded, family-run, and mission-driven, this fine jewelry brand celebrates diversity and champions social justice with every purchase.
HQ: Los Angeles
Founder: Jill Johnson & Max Johnson (mother & son)
These soft-as-cashmere, eco-friendly baby care products are changing the way parents think about diapers while pushing the industry to focus on creating safe, high-quality products for their littlest, most important customers.
Founder: Frank Yu
With early-stage seed funding from Estee Lauder, this brand is revolutionizing the world of men’s grooming and redefining what masculinity means.
HQ: San Francisco
Founders: Fenton Jagdeo and Umar ElBably
Always with an eye toward conservation, this skincare brand draws its inspiration—and its ingredients—from the coastline, with seaweed at the foundation of its entire product line.
Founder: Dom Bridges
When a scientist and finance consultant put their heads together to tackle dehydration, they created this brand and a suite of science-backed wellness products that hydrate, boost immunity, and encourage sleep.
Founders: John Sherwin & Jai Jung Kim
Through a daily dose of fruits and veggies via smoothies, gumdrops, and bowls, this brand is spreading the gospel of plant-rich diets, while also reducing waste and creating a more sustainable economy.
HQ: New York
Founder: Tomas Froes
With a never-ending pool of overwhelmed, tired new customers, this brand offers sleek, thoughtfully designed products and baby gear that will calm even the crankiest babies and nervous new parents.
Founders: Gregory Davidson, Jane Daines & Michael Wieder
This mission-driven brand throws convention out the window with its line of inclusive shades of nude bodywear apparel and is driving the conversation around diversity, inclusivity, and authentic representation in fashion.
Founder: Erin Carpenter
With backing from Will Smith and FabFitFun, this brand disrupted the kitchenware industry overnight when their Always Pan took Instagram by storm, compelling customers to swap their antiquated 16-piece cookware sets for a single all-purpose, beautifully designed pan.
HQ: Los Angeles
Founders: Shiza Shahid, Amir Tehrani, Zach Rosner
This multi-brand fragrance company has big plans to revitalize the industry through partnerships with brands, charities, celebrities (Cher was the first) to create signature scents that will shake up the fragrance world.
HQ: New York and Paris
Founder: Steve Mormoris
This sustainable undergarment brand embraces a completely eco-friendly process—known as circular fashion—that sends zero waste to landfills, relies on 100% recycled products, and puts its customers directly in its comfy unisex basics.
Founder: Eleanor Turner
A Ones to Watch brand profiled in Spring 2021 [link], this plant-based protein cereal company has forever altered the sector by riding the low-carb, grain-free, gluten-free, and keto-friendly wave directly to Amazon, Whole Foods, and Wegmans.
Founders: Margaret and Ian Wishingrad (husband and wife)
A next-generation skincare and wellness brand that’s demystifying the industry through curated personal self-care experiences based on real data about customers’ hormones and biofactors.
HQ: New York
Founder: Allie Egan
This brand was the first to box up fresh, organic iced coffee—with a tap—giving customers the same smooth taste and experience of their favorite coffeehouse cold brew right in their own kitchens.
Founders: Matt Bachmann and Ben Gordon
And a special recognition to two of our superstar Ones to Watch brands that we featured back in 2021—Jones Road Beauty and Cuts Clothing. Both of these brands have been named to The Foremost 50, The Lead’s 2021 power list of high-growth D2C brands. Check out the rest of The Foremost 50 here.
Ones to Watch is produced in partnership with Rosenthal & Rosenthal — a proud supporter of growing brands through factoring, asset-based lending, production financing and d2c and e-commerce inventory financing. Click here to learn more about Rosenthal’s newest division, Pipeline™, offering growth capital solutions exclusively for high-growth DTC and e-commerce businesses.