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Joey Zwillinger, Co-Founder of Allbirds

Joseph Zwillinger is the Founder Allbirds, the startup that makes the world's most comfortable shoes made out of wool. On this episode you will hear how Amazon changed the retail industry, why VC need to be more people-focused, what makes a successful DTC brand, and how Joey's investment banking experience helped in the founding of a shoe company!

Updated on August 31
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Joey is the founder of Allbirds, a shoe company that is funded by the likes of Maveron and Slow Ventures.

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Through his work on biotechnology projects, Joey learned that selling an innovative renewable product to a traditional brand was an uphill battle. Direct to Consume (DTC) was the best way to get renewable, really innovative chemicals and materials to market.

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Retail as we know it is definitely dying. The internet has enabled consumers to shop for the cheapest deals.

All that said, when it comes to picking a tangible good, like the Allbirds sneakers, consumers still want the satisfying experience of being able to touch and feel the product, before making their first purchase.

The internet is a great way to order replacements after that.

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Amazon has created a completely competitive market where a consumer is able buy practically anything at the lowest price. As the result, brands are pressured to cut costs and to discount their merchandize, making cost and now quality, their primary focus.

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Joey says that once a brand lists their product on a marketplace, that sends a negative signal to their consumer and undersells their brand value. Instead of being compared on price, Allbirds wants to be differentiated by the quality of their shoes, and the difference they are trying to create in the world.

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Direct to Consumer market is oversaturated, and a great brand with only a few offerings can stand out by helping the consumer to make shopping less challenging.

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