Morning Brew - ☕ Miller’s tale

Making Simon Miller a modern luxury label.
February 20, 2023

Retail Brew


It’s a federal holiday, Presidents Day. So chances are, like us, you’re off today, and home, and unobserved…so what is it you do when no one’s watching? Vice just asked people this very question, and our favorite is Kiki, who, when she’s alone in her studio apartment, pretends she’s being interviewed on a reality show and says aloud what’s on her mind and what bothers her. As for us, we are here to make friends.

In today’s edition:

—Jeena Sharma, Leonard Robinson, Andrew Adam Newman


Bold ambitions

Simon Miller creative Simon Miller

Scrolling through Instagram these days seems like walking through a maze of sponsored content and posts you don’t necessarily care about.

Being a brand, especially a fashion brand, that can stand out in this tsunami of content can be tough. But that’s where California-based luxury womenswear brand Simon Miller shines the most. From colorful and modern ready-to-wear to swimwear and accessories, the brand has a bold yet stylish aesthetic that’s hard to miss.

The brand got its start as a denim label in 2008, but when creative director and CEO Chelsea Hansford came on board in 2013, it bid adieu to both denim and menswear to become the luxury womenswear-only brand it is today.

“I always wanted to build a lifestyle brand,” Hansford told Retail Brew. “That was my main mission, and I have a very distinct aesthetic that I think crosses over way more than just clothes. A lot of my inspiration comes from home and interior and [is] less fine art but more architecture, furniture, sculptures, things like that.”

A lot has factored into Simon Miller’s success. Over the years, the retailer has shifted from a wholesale-only strategy to a mix of 60% wholesale and 40% DTC. While it maintains a presence in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, it is also experimenting with pop-ups across LA and New York.

And while Hansford realizes it’s a challenge to keep the brand going, faced with the ever-shifting economic environment, she has a few strategies on hand. Below, she breaks down her top four tactics that make the brand tick in the age of digital saturation and TikTok dances.

Keep reading here.—JS



Raising the retention bar


Keeping customers comin’ back for more isn’t easy. After 200 days, there’s only a 20% chance your average e-commerce shopper will darken your digital doorstep again. The solution? Subscriptions, which retain a whopping 45% of customers in roughly the same amount of time.

And Recharge has the scoop on subscriptions and retention. Their 2023 State of Subscription Commerce report has tons of info on how merchants of all sizes and verticals performed in 2022, as well as the tactics they used to create more valuable customer relationships.

Want a peek inside? Here are some highlights:

  • Subscription merchants’ LTV increased by an average of 11% across verticals.
  • Among merchants who offered subscriptions, 32.4% of their customers subscribed.
  • The average subscriber held over 4 total subscriptions among 2 different merchants.

Ready to retain? Read the report.


Flower power

A florist in a shop displaying a bouquet of flowers Artistgndphotography/Getty Images

Americans were poised to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, even as economic uncertainty lies ahead for many.

That’s according to a National Retail Foundation survey released last month, which showed a nearly $2 billion increase from the $23.9 billion in spending last year, and in the run-up to the holiday, florists were anticipating that the industry’s sales would blossom compared to recent years.

“It’s about one out of four people who’s cutting back financially,” Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and chief science officer for, said. “They’re still going out and they will always go out. This is a brain system—the basic human drive to love—but they are feeling [economic hardship].”

The floral industry has blossomed over the past few years. Kate Penn, CEO of the Society of American Florists, said that the floral industry—producers of the quintessential Valentine’s Day gift—was optimistic about this February 14, largely due to lessons learned from the pandemic.

“Coming through Covid, people in so many businesses—not just the floral industry—tightened up their operations,” Penn said. “In the floral industry, they had to because they got busier than ever. They were so busy during Covid and they had such a small staff to figure things out.”

Throughout the pandemic, florists updated their e-commerce sites, refreshed their marketing strategies, and enhanced their logistics to ensure that next-day (and even same-day) delivery orders were fulfilled in a timely manner, Penn said.

Fortunately, fresh flowers are abundant, she said, although heavy rainfall in recent months across South America, and especially in Colombia, means that they must be shipped closer to the holiday than previous years. The global shipping container shortage that plagued the industry in 2022 seems to no longer be of concern for florists, Penn said.

Keep reading here.—LR



The Checkout

The Checkout

Modern priorities and lifestyles have reimagined the world of commerce, forcing retailers to revisit who and where their customers are—and how to hold on to them.

Join us at 12pm ET on Feb. 23 for a free virtual event sponsored by Bolt as we discuss insights from the latest report on shopper personas, the importance of the checkout experience, and more.

Sign up here.


Today’s top retail reads.

CE-No: Why so many retail brands, including Gap and Diesel, are operating without a CEO. (the New York Times)

Saving time: Why secondhand luxury watches are better investments than stocks. (Insider)

Shell to pay: How one egg producer is dealing with supply-chain woes. (Marketplace)

Money talks: Retail pros know—your industry depends on in-depth financial forecasting and budgeting. Subscribe to CFO Brew for best bookkeeping practices and crucial supply chain and economics updates.


  • Retail investors spent $1.5 billion a day on stocks over the last month, a record, according to Vanda Research.
  • Nestlé SA reported sales fell 2.6% in the last three months of 2022.
  • Shopify’s stock price fell following a weaker Q1 forecast.
  • Pacsun introduced the first branded “building tycoon” on Roblox.
  • Restaurants in Boston’s North End (Little Italy) will no longer be permitted to set up on-street dining.


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.

Last week in Retail Brew, we wrote about some restaurants that are putting food-delivery orders in packaging that is “tamper-evident,” the term for methods that don’t prevent contamination, but indicate when something has been opened. We noted a California law that went into effect in 2021 that requires that restaurant orders delivered by third parties use tamper-evident packaging, and some unappetizing poll results:

  • 79% of food-delivery drivers admitted to eating customers’ food, according to a 2022 survey by Circuit, a last-mile tech startup. (In the same survey, 10% said they had urinated in a bottle while delivering.)
  • A 2019 survey by US Foods found the practice less prevalent, with 28% admitting they’ve taken food from orders.

You tell us: Do you want the restaurants you order from to deliver the food in tamper-evident packaging? Cast your vote here.

Circling back: Last week, we asked you about the topic of another Retail Brew article: Playboy releasing a lingerie collection targeting Gen Z consumers. We asked if you thought Playboy was a brand that will resonate well with Gen Z buyers.

Only 30.2% of you thought Gen Z would be very interested in purchasing Playboy-branded lingerie, while 64.6% said no, that does not sound like a good fit and Gen Z will not be very interested in purchasing Playboy-branded lingerie. Another 5.2% of you did not know or weren’t sure.—AAN


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Written by Jeena Sharma, Leonard Robinson, and Andrew Adam Newman

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