Morning Brew - ☕️ Run for cover

Bask (Suncare) in supply-chain chaos.
Morning Brew May 16, 2022

Retail Brew


A Monday toast: To Jack Cakebread, a wine-making trailblazer who was among the first to plant sauvignon blanc vines at any real scale in the Napa Valley in the 1970s, and who died recently at a well-aged 92.

In today’s edition:

—Katishi Maake, Glenda Toma


Out of the bottle

Bask sunscreen Bask Suncare

Bask Suncare was looking to soak up the sun—and $$$—this summer, but supply-chain chaos has made things more than a bit challenging.

The DTC sunscreen company, founded in May 2021, ordered “tens of thousands” of bottles from its Chinese manufacturer last September to prep early for its peak selling season. Bask anticipated receiving its bottles in December or January at the latest. But Covid lockdowns kept delaying the order, CEO Mike Huffstetler told Retail Brew.

“After kind of hounding our suppliers and manufacturers,” he said, they kept saying: “‘Oh, we’re delayed another two weeks.’ Okay, we can deal with two weeks. ‘Oh, we’re delayed another two weeks. Oh, we’re delayed another two weeks.’”

  • The upshot: Bask wouldn’t be in stock until late June, well past peak season for the company.

Looking for cover: The company quickly went into “scramble mode,” Huffstetler explained. To find an alternative, Huffstetler said Bask reached out to roughly 60 contacts within the DTC retail space—from manufacturers to fellow founders and more—to see if there was anyone who could supplement the delayed bottles.

The tricky part was finding something suitable by FDA standards, as well as Bask’s formula—which requires a specific type of plastic to ensure its stability, Huffstetler explained. “We can’t send this out in mayo jars.”

Luckily, the Miami-based facility that distributes Bask’s sunscreen is also a contract manufacturer for other companies. It happened to have a “few thousand” suitable extra bottles “laying around,” as Huffstetler put it.

  • Bask ended up spending twice as much on its pre-summer inventory than expected and predicts it will spend 3.5x more in 2022, though Huffstetler declined to share specific figures.

The DTC brand’s new bottles now have a push cap instead of a pop top—and are a limited edition. All proceeds will go to Bask’s nonprofit partner, Skin Protection Foundation (SPF), which Huffstetler also founded.

  • “Optically, and it’s important, it allows us to maintain that top-line revenue that we would otherwise be missing out on as well,” he said. “We’ll be able to kind of show continued growth and traction, month over month, quarter over quarter.”

Click here to read how Bask revamped its inventory approach to pay off in the long sun run.KM



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Curious? Give Recharge’s LTV calculator a whirl for free, here.


Creative solutions

A smartphone that displays the TikTok logo Francis Scialabba

Meet Clara, the latest “Glassdoor for influencers” app that wants to even the playing field between brands and creators. Marketing Brew’s Phoebe Bain spoke with founder Christen Nino De Guzman, a former TikTok employee, about starting the biz—as well as creators who have reviewed the reviews:

Since its January 2022 debut, more than 13,000 creators have signed up for Clara, according to Nino De Guzman. Jonny Morales, a lifestyle and comedy influencer with more than 3 million TikTok followers, said that reading reviews of one company on the platform impacted his bottom line.
Morales told us he worked on a Black Friday influencer campaign with Walmart in 2020. The retailer paid him somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. When Walmart reached out again for another campaign, this time, Morales had access to Clara.
“I remember going on the Clara app, just to see if anyone else had worked with them before,” he said. Other influencers on Clara said they’d been paid triple or even quadruple what Walmart had paid Morales. Equipped with that information, and knowing he’d gained a lot of social media followers and upped engagement since the last time he worked with Walmart, he felt more comfortable asking the company for more money.
Seeing what other people wrote on Clara “helps me feel more comfortable asking for more, even if it’s a brand that I’ve already worked with before,” Morales said.

Click here to read the full story on Marketing Brew.—GT


  • McDonald’s will sell its entire Russian business, meaning a complete withdrawal of the company’s logos and menu items from restaurants in the country.
  • Starbucks will cover travel expenses for employees seeking “abortions and gender-affirming procedures.”
  • Warby Parker reported a 10.3% sales increase in Q1.
  • Walmart unveiled a program that aims to fast-track recent college grads to store manager positions paying ~$210,000.
  • The FDNY said that battery fires on e-bikes, often a go-to for delivery workers, are on pace to double in NYC this year.



We know full well that HR responsibilities fall way beyond the party-planning committee (though that’s always fun, too). But how does your organization deal with the dichotomy of employee well-being and productivity?

On May 17 at 12pm ET, HR Brew chats with Shake Shack’s chief people officer about blending milkshakes strategies and standards to improve company culture and efficiency. You’ll also hear from our sponsor CareerBuilder’s chief marketing officer, Kristin Kelley, on the importance of mental health and well-being at work. Register here.


Today’s top retail reads.

Kicked to the curb: The founder of a sneaker boutique called out Nike for its shift to DTC. “We can’t keep only thinking about what Nike wants from us,” said Trent Out Loud. “Because Nike is showing that Nike is thinking about them. It’s our turn to start making some demands to Nike.” (Insider)

Survival of the most ubiquitous: Independent neighborhood restaurants are being eaten alive by chains. (The Counter)

Hairy situation: Gillette thought beards might be a fad. It was wrong. But after a decade in the scruff, a new focus on grooming is helping the company grow. (Bloomberg)


*This is sponsored advertising content.


At the mall, it’s where band tees are the only tees. In Retail Brew, it’s where we invite readers to weigh in on a trending retail topic.

Zara shoppers in the UK who plan to return an item they bought online might want to brave the lines and do so in store. Last week, the fast-fashion giant said it would start charging UK customers a fee of £1.95 (taken out of the refund) for returning e-comm purchases at drop-off points. In-person returns are still free.

  • The company joins the ranks of Next and Uniqlo, which already levy a fee for online returns, per the BBC—a move that looks to, in part, boost in-store foot traffic.

You tell us: Would paying to make online returns make you think twice about buying something? Cast your vote here.

Circling back: Last week, we asked if you think retailers have a responsibility to speak out on abortion access, and more than half (52.8%) said retailers shouldn’t weigh in on the topic at all.

That said, close to 36% believe retailers should take a stance, and of those, nearly 23% said they wouldn’t shop at one that didn’t support abortion access, while 13% of respondents said it wouldn’t deter them from shopping at a retailer.

  • About 11% said retailers shouldn’t take a stance—with 3.2% who wouldn’t shop at a retailer that didn’t oppose abortion and 8.1% saying they’d still buy from one that didn’t.


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Written by Katishi Maake and Glenda Toma

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