The RealReal Goes Public: What Does It Mean for Watches?

Analysis

Luxury online consigner The RealReal (TRR) has gone public on the Nasdaq, raising $300 million in an initial public offering, valuing the company at $1.6 billion. The IPO comes just days after sneaker marketplace StockX raised a new round of funding at a $1 billion valuation. and brought in a grown up to be the new CEO (sorry, backwards hat guy). The pre-owned, used, retail, whatever you want to call it space is heating up, and investors have been taking notice.

The RealReal, along with Poshmark and Thred Up, are the leading players in the resale sector. TRR offers a diverse selection of luxury items, including clothing, jewelry, art, home goods, and yes, watches. The company, founded in 2011, seeks to separate itself by authenticating every item that it consigns on its site. To consign goods on the site, you schedule an appointment with one of their authenticators, who checks out your goods and makes sure they’re legit.

Read More

Shinola and What It Means to Be "Made in America"

Analysis

I’ve been heavy on the “Made in America” beat lately, talking about some of the best American watches, covering Timex’s new American Documents collection, and asking presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg why he wears a Skagen.

But I wanted to take a step back and ask what it means to be “Made in the USA,” at least according to the U.S government, or more appropriately, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency tasked with promoting consumer protection. Thanks to Shinola, we have a pretty clear idea of the threshold a watch must cross for a company to be able to label it “Made in the USA” or something similar.

Read More

Why You Will Buy a Luxury Watch Online

Analysis

As I’ve detailed before in Brands, Marketplaces, and the Battle to win the Consumer, the value chain for any industry — including the watch industry — is divided into three components: suppliers, distributors, and consumers. The best way to make out-sized profits in a consumer market is to either gain a horizontal monopoly in one of these three parts or to integrate two of the parts such that you have a competitive advantage in delivering a vertical solution. In the pre-internet era the latter strategy depended on controlling distribution. For example, in the watch industry, a company or brand would focus on manufacturing (i.e. supplying) watches and then build out an exclusive network of distribution, namely by signing on authorized dealers to sell the company’s watches on the ground.

Read More

You Don't Care about Lance Armstrong

Just for Fun

I wrote this op-ed in 2013 for my school newspaper. It won some award, so I’m posting it here for posterity.

You don’t care about Lance Armstrong. You didn’t care that he won seven Tour de France titles, raised millions of dollars for cancer, or that he divorced Sheryl Crow. And now, you definitely don’t care that he cheated his way to the top.

This past school year, a widespread cheating racket at highly selective Stuyevant High School in New York was exposed. Students confessed to texting during tests, taking photos of exams and using elaborate tapping systems to communicate answers across the room. Similar to Armstrong’s situation, success here was a numbers game. The minuscule difference between a 94 and a 95 grade point average might mean the difference going to Harvard and a state university.

Read More