Executive Briefing

Should ‘direct to consumer’ brands sell other companies’ stuff?

Plus: Mickey Drexler’s rules for smart collaborations.

Spaces by Brooklinen

A strategy question: Is it a good idea for modern brands that have built themselves up by making their own products, cutting out the “middleman” and selling them straight to the customer, to start complicating things by selling a bunch of items from other businesses?

Should a generation of brands that made a big point of dismissing middlemen as wasteful, tasteless, and outdated become middlemen themselves?

I ask because, most recently, Brooklinen — which says it will generate around $100 million in sales this year, selling its own lines of bedding, towels, loungewear, and accessories — just launched a new business selling dozens of products from other brands.

“Spaces by Brooklinen” is a new section of its bed and bath web store that goes, um, beyond, offering furniture from companies like Floyd and Dims, books from Taschen, plants from The Sill, lighting, wall art, and more. It is as if Brooklinen did a bedroom photo shoot for a set of its sheets and pillows, and started selling the props, too.

Its reveal received outsized coverage over the past couple of weeks, I suspect out of some novelty, some effective PR, and some luck. (Let’s be clear: This concept is called… a store.)

It is easy to see why this might seem like a good idea.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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