Morning Brew - ☕ Here’s the thing

Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney is doing things with blockchain.
April 10, 2023

Retail Brew


What better way to start the week than with coffee? But maybe hold the olive oil. Some Starbucks baristas who’ve been trying out Oleato, the olive oil-infused coffee drinks the chain is rolling out, are posting to Reddit that the drink is making them beeline to the bathroom. A nutritionist told CNN that the olive oil-caffeine combo can indeed have a “laxative effect.”

In today’s edition:

—Maeve Allsup, Katishi Maake


Doing Web3 things

Ty Haney's headshot on an abstract, gridded background with a blue baseball cap. Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Ty Haney

In the early days of Outdoor Voices, the cobalt blue “Doing Things” hat could only be obtained by attending events like yoga classes or local hikes. It was a physical symbol of community membership and dedication to the athletic apparel brand, and to its mission of movement as a lifestyle.

It’s the spirit of the Doing Things hat that ousted Outdoor Voices founder and CEO Ty Haney is channeling with her Web3 venture Try Your Best, a blockchain-based community management platform she founded in late 2021, and which recently became available to a broad base of brands via Shopify.

Web3 might seem like an unlikely space for the Austin-based founder, whose unique color-blocked designs helped the company she founded at 24 rise to athletic apparel fame. But it’s a pivot that makes perfect sense because TYB digitizes a superpower she was able to unlock for Outdoor Voices: turning community into a growth channel.

“That physical blue hat becomes something that’s digital,” Haney said. “It’s a really elegant way to use [blockchain technology] to create real value.”

Building things

The road to Web3 looked like a rocky one—Haney was forced to step down from her role as Outdoor Voices CEO while on maternity leave in early 2020, amid struggling finances and a revolving door of retail elites who left executive positions at the company after very short tenures.

With TYB, Haney’s skill as a community builder lives on, expanding the success of customer engagement at Outdoor Voices to other brands, and now on the blockchain.

Keep reading here.—MA



You can’t spell “retail” without “AI”


Okay, who slammed the reset button on the retail landscape? Hypercompetitive markets, wild innovations in e-commerce tech, and a new gen with hard-to-pin-down tastes. Retailers need some backup when it comes to reaching consumers these days.

Fortunately, Zendesk has the secret sauce—a little thing called AI. And get this: They’re hosting a webinar with AWS that’ll spill the deets on how retailers can leverage it to deliver conversational service at scale, all while optimizing every aspect of commerce.

Curious about what exactly is in this bad boy? You’ll learn how AI can help retailers:

  • deliver conversational service at scale
  • boost agent productivity and engagement
  • drive operational efficiencies

Don’t fall behind. Get a leg up on the new retail game.


Start it up

Tres Tribus mezcal Tres Tribus

As the flowers start to bloom, so do new businesses. Many new startups and brands took a leap and sprung into action last month. Here are a few that stood out.

Drink up: Tres Tribus is a small-batch artisanal mezcal that debuted in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, as well as international markets including the UK, Spain, Australia, and Dubai.

  • But Tres Tribus isn’t a fly-by-night celebrity liquor venture. It’s the brainchild of fifth-generation mezcalero Juan Antonio Coronel, who handcrafts the products in the remote mountains of Oaxaca.
  • More beverage and liquor brands have been popping up since 2020 after the passage of the Craft Beverage and Modernization and Tax Reform Act, a federal excise tax relief program that has created opportunities for new, emerging, and established brands.

Glow up: Skintech brand Protea has unveiled its skin support consultation platform that virtually connects clients with licensed estheticians to provide personalized care and advice on the best skin care products and routines.

  • Estheticians who use the platform keep 100% of the rates they set for their consultations, and the company has a number of products and kits on its site that are recommended after the consultation.

The next-generation personalized beauty market was valued at $41.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $143.6 billion by 2030, according to an InsightAce Analytic report.

Keep reading here.—KM



The week ahead

an arrow made of $20 bills pointing upwards Calypsoart/Getty Images

To everyone who celebrates, hope you had a good Easter, Passover, or just Sunday. Let’s dive into what’s in store this week.

In earnings: Bed Bath & Beyond has an earnings call on April 12, and if you haven’t been paying attention, the company is in a less than ideal position. Last week, the company inked a $120 million vendor consignment agreement with ReStore Capital in an effort to get more merchandise on shelves.

  • The company has been trying to stay out of bankruptcy court while battling financial and operational challenges dating back to the onset of the pandemic.

Albertsons also has an earnings call this week, on April 11. Its potential merger with Kroger is top of mind in the grocery world, and last month the company reiterated its plan to divest hundreds of stores to address antitrust concerns.

  • Critics say the $25 billion merger would threaten thousands of jobs, and it has come under intense scrutiny in the Senate.

And finally, Rent the Runway’s earnings call on April 12 should give us a picture of its holiday shopping season after a strong previous report that saw a 31% revenue bump. Retail Brew previously reported that President and COO Anushka Salinas said Rent the Runway’s customers have been insulated from the economic challenges facing some consumers in this economic climate.

The company’s active subscriber base grew 15% YoY to 134,240 customers in Q3 2022, and total subscribers climbed 17% to 176,167.

Keep reading here.—KM



Today’s top retail reads.

GrubSnub: Delivery drivers are seeing smaller tips than they were at the height of the pandemic. “People were almost applauded,” Uber Eats driver Brantley Bush said of earlier in the pandemic. “Now we’re just the bottom of the barrel.” (the New York Times)

Bang for the buck: How Family Dollar founder Leon Levine built the $8.5 billion chain from a $6,000 investment. (Daily Mail)

The woke’s on them: Brands that have been taunted with “Get woke, go broke”—including Keurig, Nike, and United Airlines—are more profitable than ever. (Rolling Stone)


  • Apple store managers have been trying to dissuade employees from organizing unions at recent meetings.
  • An executive from Colgate-Palmolive expressed concern about Elon Musk’s “harmful and often racist rhetoric” in advance of his appearance at a marketing conference. Another leader from McDonald’s expressed similar concerns.
  • Just For You Cafe, the San Francisco restaurant that was the inspiration for Bob's Burgers, closed after 43 years.
  • Delola, a new cocktail brand from Jennifer Lopez, has faced backlash because Lopez has said in the past that she drinks very little for health reasons, while her husband, Ben Affleck, has been treated for alcohol addiction.


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.

Levi’s recently announced a partnership with AI studio to generate a wide range of models wearing its clothing in product shots to represent people of different body types, skin colors, and ages. Levi’s said in a statement that these real-seeming models wearing Levi’s “can potentially assist us by supplementing models and unlocking a future where we can enable customers to see our products on more models that look like themselves, creating a more personal and inclusive shopping experience.”

But days after the announcement of the partnership, social media was flooded with posts criticizing the move. “Your diversity doesn’t count if you’re not diversifying who’s on the payroll,” one Twitter user wrote.

You tell us: Do you think Levi’s should be lauded for using AI tech to create more diverse computer-generated models for its clothing, or criticized because that’s no substitute for hiring more real-life diverse models? Cast your vote here.

Circling back: Last week, we asked you about Adidas. The brand had asked the US Trademark Office to reject an application from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to trademark a logo that featured three stripes, which are, of course, an element of the Adidas logo. A few days later, Adidas withdrew the objection, with an unnamed source telling Reuters it was because the company was concerned “that people could misinterpret Adidas’s trademark objection as criticism of Black Lives Matter’s mission.”

We asked if you thought Adidas made the right decision to withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter logo with three stripes, and 70.7% of you said no, Adidas should have maintained its opposition to the Black Lives Matter logo. Only 26.2% of you agreed with Adidas’s decision to withdraw the logo and 3.1% of you didn’t know or weren’t sure.


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Written by Maeve Allsup and Katishi Maake

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