Morning Brew - ☕️ Movers and shakers

DTC kitchen cabinet-maker Boxi thinks inside the box.
Morning Brew May 10, 2022

Retail Brew


Good day. In a strange turn of events, Best Buy had football Twitter a-rockin’ last night. After you read today’s newsletter, check out why for yourself. It’s truly something to behold.

In today’s edition:

Jeena Sharma, Erin Cabrey


Open doors

Kitchen with Boxi cabinets Boxi

Another DTC company is thinking inside the box: Boxi, a kitchen-cabinet startup owned by Semihandmade, is moving into stores for the first time.

  • It’s partnering with Rejuvenation, the furniture and lighting company owned by Williams-Sonoma, and will be featured in four of its locations, including Los Angeles and Houston.

Search bar: Since Boxi was founded in March 2021, it’s been completely online—letting customers choose from eight designs (or send in their own) and order pre-assembled cabinets to their homes.

“The biggest surprise is the number of people who will spend a lot of money—almost sight unseen—on the strength of a four-inch-by-six-inch door sample,” Boxi founder John McDonald told Retail Brew. “People first started buying mattresses in a box, and then they’re buying $3,000 sofas, and then buying houses online. And so kitchens, although a smaller purchase, they’re right in there.”

  • The average Boxi kitchen runs $8,000–$20,000, while the average order value is $10,000, according to the company.
  • The startup notched $4 million in sales in 2021, per McDonald, with plans to double that this year.

Looking ahead…The partnership with Rejuvenation is a “stepping stone” to Boxi’s retail-expansion strategy, McDonald noted. While the startup isn’t planning to open its own stores right now, it’s eyeing mobile showrooms to reach more shoppers. (Boxi is currently available in 13 US states, primarily on the West Coast.)

Expanding its product line to include paintable bath vanities and backdrop paints is also on deck—but with purpose.

“We’re going to do an In-and-Out Burger approach,” McDonald said, noting the chain’s “great” hamburgers, but if consumers want a chicken sandwich, “go somewhere else.”

  • “With us, it’s eight door choices. We’re not going to confuse you and overwhelm you with 45 different shades of white,” he continued. “We’re not…trying to be everything to everyone. That’s the thing that I think is most scalable.”—JS


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One to stock

SpongeBob SquarePants gif SpongeBob SquarePants/Nickelodeon via Giphy

We need to talk about out-of-stocks.

Per a new survey by customer-service company Lucidworks, 55% of shoppers find a specific apparel item they want is often or always out of stock online when they shop.

  • The poll included 800 consumers in the US and UK who buy clothes online at least once a month.

Subbing out: 76% of shoppers said they’d sometimes or always go Radiohead and find an alternative, even if they started shopping with their heart set on something else. Though, 69% will say and head to another site.

  • Even though 70% of respondents said retailers sometimes offered recommendations for substitute products, the survey found that recs that don’t match their taste is the reason why 60% of shoppers say they don’t buy them.

Still, 85% of shoppers have some items—like shoes, undergarments, and jeans (it’s hard enough to find a perfect pair once)—they just won’t budge on.

Look who’s stocking: The majority of shoppers (91%) want to know when the product they’ve been eyeing is back in stock—75% want an email, 38% text, and 13% want retailers to automatically add it to their cart. Sanjay Mehta, head of industry at Lucidworks, told Retail Brew that it’s ultimately important to provide “some transparency and visibility into what’s occurring with items they’ve expressed interest in.”

  • “Proactive types of notifications that this product is getting low in stock are great, or reactive notifications that are more or less back in stock are really powerful,” he noted.

+1: On the flip side, consumers are “getting savvy” to retailers falsely advertising low stock items to create urgency and “losing trust” because of it, Mehta said.—EC



  • Peloton’s rough ride continues, as the company reported mounting losses and a drop in sales. It’s hoping $750 million in financing can help reverse course.
  • StockX dropped news of a new hire: its first-ever chief impact officer.
  • Neiman Marcus has extended paid family-leave benefits to all of its employees—yes, both full-time and part-time.
  • Amazon reportedly fired two workers who helped with the unionization effort at its Staten Island facility, which the workers allege was retaliation—and which an Amazon spokesperson denied.



Join the fam. Our new article on Gen Z’s values (in partnership with Edelman, your go-to Gen Z experts) has the deets you need to be part of Gen Z’s inner circle—and to make your brand one that Gen Z loves and trusts. Read up on their values here.


Today’s top retail reads.

Total recall: Hoda Katebi, an Iranian-American fashion activist, wants to upend systemic issues within fast fashion from the inside out. (The New York Times)

Waiting game: Heavy-duty truck production is being held back due to an industry-wide parts shortage. “You need every truck up and running if you can’t get more,” said Paul Truman, president of a Las Vegas-based fleet. (The Wall Street Journal)

On the down low: Amazon has been teaming up with rural businesses across America for a new delivery program. (Vox)

Unifying—and beautifying—product experiences: Clyde’s ownership enrichment platform seamlessly connects your product’s warranty, registration, and issue-resolution channels into a single (and very aesthetically pleasing) dashboard. Cheers to organization and deepening customer lifetime value. Get a demo here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


The Goldbergs gif The Goldbergs/ABC Network via Giphy

What happened in the world of retail this week in…1878 and beyond? Retail Brew takes you way, way, way back.

Our elbows are thankful for this week:

  • On May 9, 2018, Walmart said it would buy a majority stake in Flipkart, the Indian e-comm company, for a casual $16 billion.
  • On May 12, 1918, Mary Kay Ash, the founder of—you guessed it—Mary Kay Cosmetics, was born in Hot Wells, Texas.
  • On May 14, 1878, Robert Augustus Chesebrough (say that name three times fast) was granted a patent for the word “Vaseline.”
  • And on May 16, 1956, H.B. Reese, the Hershey employee who invented the unspeakably delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, died at age 76.


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Written by Jeena Sharma and Erin Cabrey

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