Season 3 Episode 10
August 1, 2023

What's in Your Closet?

Is it possible for a brand to actually change consumer perception? Are you thinking about your values before you hit the order button? Do influencers affect your purchasing habits? Erika Dyer, Producer at Future Commerce and Infinite Shelf, joins Ingrid and Orchid to offer a Gen Z perspective on what’s working and…what’s really not. 

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This Episode Sponsored by:

Infinite Shelf - Wunderkind

Is it possible for a brand to actually change consumer perception? Are you thinking about your values before you hit the order button? Do influencers affect your purchasing habits? Erika Dyer, Producer at Future Commerce and Infinite Shelf, joins Ingrid and Orchid to offer a Gen Z perspective on what’s working and…what’s really not. 

A Little Sus

  • {00:16:03} “We think about this all the time. Which age group influencer is the individual that we're trying to connect with whatever type of audience it is? We as marketers, maybe our egos get a little bit in the way of just allowing the consumers to make those determinations for themselves.” - Ingrid
  • {00:18:29} “There is no perfect answer because the category in which you operate, I think the nascency of your brand as well, all of that will actually shape the type of influencers or people you want to hear from when it comes to whatever that product is or recommending that product.” - Orchid
  • {00:21:16} “I think two things can be true at the same time. But I agree. What you're pointing out is that there is this inconsistency between language and actions.” - Orchid
  • {00:23:27} “I don't necessarily think anything she's doing is groundbreaking. People just like to see a pretty girl on their feed and they're like, "Everything she touches is so pretty." She's rich. That's a lot of rich girls, and she knows how to act in front of a camera. And I think she's our reality star, but instead of seeing her on a big screen, we're seeing her every single day on our phones.” - Erika
  • {00:35:27} “It's really, really difficult, in my view, to change a consumer perception of a brand, and a lot of brands I think have attempted to do it and spent absurd amounts of money and didn't probably get what they were expecting to get out of those investments. But there are some brands that are doing that.” - Ingrid
  • {00:39:21} “That's another new marketing thing where it doesn't have to be that people are just buying the actual product, but they're literally marketing it for you. They're showing how aspirational your product is. They're telling that story on your behalf. It's gold.” - Ingrid
  • {00:45:18} “I think Succession sort of debunked a lot of what the general public would have assumed a really, really wealthy family would dress like. They're not wearing the Chanel-branded sunglasses with the big CC on them.” - Ingrid

Associated Links: 

  • Follow Infinite Shelf on Instagram
  • Want to hear more? Check out past episodes here
  • Love your new co-host? Check her out on LinkedIn
  • Check out other Future Commerce podcasts

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Ingrid: [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to Infinite Shelf, the human-centric retail podcast. I'm your host, Ingrid Milman Cordy, and I am here joined by the lovely, brilliant, gorgeous Orchid Bertelsen. How are you?

Orchid: [00:00:33] Good. Thank you. I am currently putting sunscreen on the backs of my hands. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:00:39] Oh, yeah. Oh, that's a trick. Have you seen those crazy pictures of truck drivers?

Orchid: [00:00:46] No. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:00:46] This is going to a way less strange place than it sounds. I promise. But it's worth it. Come on the journey. So there are these crazy... It's to show the impact of sun exposure to skin.

Orchid: [00:01:01] Oh.

Ingrid: [00:01:01] And so these truckers have been for 18 hours a day, or whatever, driving exposed to the sun. And so one side of their face...

Orchid: [00:01:11] I think I did see this as I'm sunscreening my face now.

Ingrid: [00:01:14] Yeah. One side of their face is completely aged and has spots and just looks leathery and not very nice. And the other side that isn't as exposed to the sun is like 25 years younger. No joke.

Orchid: [00:01:28] Oh no.

Ingrid: [00:01:29] These are not people getting laser treatments on one side of their face.

Orchid: [00:01:34] Was it in a campaign? Or was it just an article?

Ingrid: [00:01:37] If it wasn't in a campaign, it should be, but I think it was just in... I'm like a skincare junkie. And so I follow all the people and that's... Yeah. So sunscreen, everyone. Especially right now. I don't know when this is going to air, but right now it's like July.

Orchid: [00:01:54] It's midsommar. Not like the movie. {laughter} Okay. So Erika, our producer, said to drop the sunscreen brand. I am using Eucerin age defense plus hyaluronic acid. It's 50. SPF 50. Won't clog pores. Hypoallergenic. So listen, I mean, I know this is kind of what we're talking about today as well, but I decided to go with a drugstore brand because, I mean, I think having worked at a large mass company, you know how much testing goes into the product. It has to be FDA approved, all these things. And it was just at my local CVS. It was under $20. And I can't continue to spend $50 on products when I got two kids I need to send to college someday.

Ingrid: [00:02:45] Uh huh. Big time. Heard. Heard. There is a lot, I think, to be said about the regulation and the legal and the compliance and all the stuff that large CPG companies hold their products to. And the standards are so different. Yeah, I'm a big fan. I'm wearing it right now. I'm not putting it on actively as we're recording.

Orchid: [00:03:13] Like me. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:03:16] {laughter} I'm a big Vanicream fan in general. Vaniream has a regular one without any SPF that you could wear at night. And then there's a 30 and a 50 SPF.

Orchid: [00:03:26] What does it vani?

Ingrid: [00:03:28] Oh, it's just the most... It's so good. It's such a good day-to-day moisturizer. It's also not very expensive. You can buy it at Target. Vanicream. Link in bio. This is not sponsored, although Vanicream, if you want to sponsor...

Orchid: [00:03:45] We'll work for free products. Thank you.

Ingrid: [00:03:48] We're very much for sale, Vanicream. Will work for SPF. I think the audience maybe is picking up on the hint, but I'll be really, really clear. Today we are talking about consumer product landscape and what products, services, brands, and solutions for our everyday life that we need in our lives, love in our lives, are kind of shocked and awed that don't exist in our lives, and we have a special guest today. Ah de da da da da... Erika, our incredible producer who gets 15 shoutouts an episode because she is so incredibly helpful and on it and really fun to work with. Erika is our resident Gen Z, so she's going to, amongst making us feel old, share the...

Orchid: [00:04:45] Never. She's the wind beneath our wings.

Ingrid: [00:04:46] She is. You're right. No negative thoughts on Erika. No, but she does make me feel old. Anyway, {laughter} No cap. So Erika will be sharing her fresh eyed, doe eyed, bushy tailed, Gen Z perspective on brands. And I'd love to just kind of dig into, and I don't know where this is going to go, so this will be a fun ride, but dig into some of the contrasts between like how an elderly geriatric millennial sees these brands...

Orchid: [00:05:26] You're making me feel like I should have taken my multivitamin this morning, Ingrid.

Ingrid: [00:05:30] Your Centrum.

Orchid: [00:05:31] Yeah.

Erika: [00:05:31] Have you taken your joint supplements today?

Orchid: [00:05:34] Stop. Is that not what collagen is for? That's why everybody's been taking collagen. But you can't just consume it.

Ingrid: [00:05:40] I mean...

Erika: [00:05:43] You can have a liquid collagen. That's a thing. The bioavailability apparently is better.

Ingrid: [00:05:52] It doesn't matter if it's powdered or liquid. If it's a good source of type one and type two collagen and it's clean... There are ways to have collagen.

Ingrid: [00:06:03] Fine.

Erika: [00:06:04] Are you guys on your colostrum grind yet? The ARMRA brand.

Orchid: [00:06:08] What are you talking about?

Ingrid: [00:06:11] Erika, this is such a Gen Z thing. You have to explain this to Orchid. I know, but I want to hear it from you.

Orchid: [00:06:15] The only colostrum I'm aware of is when you give birth. And it's like the pre milk that before you start breastfeeding.

Ingrid: [00:06:24] That's the one.

Erika: [00:06:25] As a non mother, totally understand.

Orchid: [00:06:28] I'm sorry. You have to explain. What are we doing with this and where is it coming from?

Erika: [00:06:33] The brand is called ARMRA. I'm pretty sure. And it's like the newest thing. And it's called liquid gold. Like everyone's adding it to their ag1 vomit greens.

Ingrid: [00:06:45] What I think it is, is so they're literally calling it liquid gold, which is what they call it in the hospital.

Orchid: [00:06:50] Right. That's literally what...

Ingrid: [00:06:51] I don't like any part of shaming, but I'm a big advocate of breastfeeding if it's possible and works for your lifestyle. PSA. But they're literally calling it liquid gold, which is like what they call it in the hospital, not like a medical term. But anyway, yeah, it's all over TikTok.

Orchid: [00:07:11] It is? Not on my TikTok.

Erika: [00:07:14] Don't expose yourself.

Ingrid: [00:07:17] Erika, just so I know, where did you learn about it?

Erika: [00:07:19] I learned about it from TikTok a while ago. My sister has a two year old, so I was very much there during the process of her breastfeeding and everything because she lived with me at the time. And so I was like, "Colostrum? isn't that like..." Exactly what you were just discussing. And then I was looking more into it and I was like, "I don't think this is going to catch on." It's going to be one of those weird brands that had a weird... Like beef tallow skincare. Like one of those things.

Ingrid: [00:07:47] Yeah, I remember that.

Erika: [00:07:48] It's like it had its moment in the sun, but it didn't really last because it's putting beef fat on your skin. But, no, it's stood the test of time now. And they have different flavors. There's like watermelon. I don't know how I feel about that. I'm like, wouldn't we just want unflavored?

Orchid: [00:08:06] My mind is not... Like the is running at full speed right now. Okay, so where does it come from? Ingrid, you're not...

Ingrid: [00:08:15] I'm not squeezing it into a...

Orchid: [00:08:17] Okay. Yeah. You're not going off to have this baby as an excuse to be part of a colostrum farm. Right? You heard it here. Ingrid is launching her new brand.

Ingrid: [00:08:30] This is very short-lived.

Orchid: [00:08:33] This is a hard launch. Okay, so it comes from cows. But okay, this is the thing. Just because it's good for cows, I have a lot of feelings about drinking milk of other animals as a lactose intolerant person.

Ingrid: [00:08:46] AKA, any Asian person.

Orchid: [00:08:49] {laughter} I know, I'm just like oat milk, almonds. Anything that comes from a tree, I guess oats don't. {laughter} Okay, so I'm on their site. I'm on their site right now because I'm trying to figure out what the story is behind this. So I'm going to About and then Our Story, and it says like "We are this," "We are that." I'm trying to... Oh okay. So Dr. Sarah Rahel MD. She is a double board-certified pediatric neurologist with expertise in environmental and functional medicine. Okay, sounds. Sounds good so far.

Ingrid: [00:09:25] Legit. We like functional medicine.

Orchid: [00:09:26] We do. Okay. So, Erika, did you buy it? Are you on it?

Ingrid: [00:09:33] What's your user experience here?

Erika: [00:09:35] No.

Orchid: [00:09:35] Why not? Why didn't you convert?

Erika: [00:09:36] I haven't bought it yet because I was like, "This is going to be one of those things that just dies out." But really it hasn't. I'm seeing it everywhere now. At first it was like one creator and they're kind of very much on their organ meat grind. You know the type. You know the type.

Orchid: [00:09:57] Do I? Do I know the type?

Erika: [00:09:59] There's this company called like Ancient... I don't remember what it's called, but they add in organ meats to your ground beef so that you're getting the good stuff from the organ meat and it's non-detectable in your ground beef so that you can feed it to your children. You can feed it to your husband who's going to complain about eating liver, stuff like that. And so you're getting all the benefits without the disgusting flavor. And I heard it from this woman. And I was like, "Yeah, I don't know how I feel about that," but especially because I was vegan for so many years and I didn't really drink animal milk. But now it's a really big thing. And I'm now a bone broth drinker. So I was like, "Is this just like the next step?"

Orchid: [00:10:48] Were you influenced by Gwyneth Paltrow? And I'm like, "Erika, you seem hungry. What did you have for lunch?" You're like, "I had a really satisfying cup of bone broth."

Erika: [00:11:00] No, no, no. I supplement with bone broth. I promise. I eat three meals a day. And I actually chew my meals.

Orchid: [00:11:09] {laughter} Okay. But I got to tell you. Okay, we can certainly talk about like the FTC coming out and handing down some rules and regulations around influencers and creators and what they can and cannot say. I will also say that when it comes to health claims made by 20 year olds who don't have the joint problems that I have, nor are experiencing aging because they can go out and have like ten margaritas. Yes, I have that song stuck in my head, but like ten margaritas and wake up and go running. Whereas I have a sip of wine and I'm down for three days. I don't know how to reconcile that in my mind of, "Hey, you're telling me the benefits of this thing, but also, nature just has you on a high right now, by nature of you being 20."

Ingrid: [00:11:59] Yeah, totally.

Erika: [00:12:01] No, I totally get that. And to be fair, this person is a mother in her 30s. And so I'm like, okay, okay. I can hear her out.

Orchid: [00:12:11] Does she look like she's in her 30s?

Erika: [00:12:17] Ask her HALO laser.

Orchid: [00:12:18] Did you ever hear the saying "You're not ugly, you're poor?"

Ingrid: [00:13:10] Uh huh.

Orchid: [00:13:10] That's how I feel sometimes. Why is all this so expensive? It feels very out of reach as well.

Ingrid: [00:13:17] Yes. Massively expensive. It is.

Erika: [00:13:18] And I typically don't follow influencers who are very out of touch because their entire life revolves around, "Oh, I wake up and I go to the gym to work on my body and then I go eat to work on my body. And then I go back to the gym to work on my body. And then I take a cold plunge and then I go in the sauna," and like, all those things are great, but that's not achievable for a normal person. And so I think something that happened during the pandemic is a lot of people were like, "Why am I following these people who have these unachievable lives?" And it just feels like a time suck to watch their stuff. So I don't necessarily follow people like that, which kind of takes away pretty much everybody within my age group, which is unfortunate, but...

Ingrid: [00:14:07] Okay, that's a really good question then. Where do you draw the line between the overly aspirational, just completely unachievable end of the spectrum? And then there's like the, "Well, I don't want to look like you. Why are you giving me advice?" part of the spectrum. Where is that balance? How do you know the person that hits the right "Oh, this is achievable, but also she looks great, or it looks like she has a ton of energy? How do you know? What are the characteristics of this new influencer that feels much more realistic but also aspirational?

Erika: [00:14:48] Unfortunately, I don't have like a perfect answer for this, but I do feel like age comes into it. I do respect people that are a little bit older because they've gone through lots of things in life. And I also look to see is influencing this person's only vocation. And if it is, then I'm like side eye a little bit.

Ingrid: [00:15:14] You're a little sus.

Erika: [00:15:15] Yeah, a little sus, because it's just we do not have the same life.

Orchid: [00:15:23] Ingrid's translating for me right now. And I'm dying. She's like, "Would you say it's a little sus?" {laughter}

Erika: [00:15:38] No, I wish there was like a perfect formula, secret sauce, or something like that.

Orchid: [00:15:46] The secret sauce probably has colostrum in it. Let's be clear.

Ingrid: [00:15:48] Watermelon-flavored colostrum.

Erika: [00:15:52] It's colostrum gummies, extra gelatin, extra collagen. There you go.

Ingrid: [00:15:57] Oh, my God, that's so good.  [00:16:03]We think about this all the time. Which age group influencer is the individual that we're trying to connect with whatever type of audience it is? Do they want people their age? Do they want people younger? Do they want people older, like in your situation? And I think that we as marketers, maybe our egos get a little bit in the way of just allowing the consumers to make those determinations for themselves. And we've done that because historically it's been so hard and almost impossible to change course in your marketing message or your audience or the medium that you're delivering that message because everything has to be tested ahead of going to market. [00:16:54] All the questions need to be answered because when something goes to print, well, it goes to print, and the same thing goes to TV and a lot of that muscle memory of having to figure out what your marketing message is and really, especially CPG. We're so guilty of this. We pretest and all of that stuff, things to death. Whereas in reality now in a week you can test an audience, a message, a deliverer of that message, a channel, and all of those things, you can get some really fast and frankly, almost every time surprising results of what your go to market message is actually doing for you and then optimize from there. So I'm asking you this question because I think it sort of helps me form even a stronger opinion about in-market testing versus pre-market testing. So yeah, sorry, small tangent, but totally related to marketing.

Orchid: [00:17:59] And I would say too, that I think, Erika, your point is as well that it kind of depends on the product. There are some products where it makes sense for someone older and more "experienced" at life or just been here longer to give advice or recommendations on. And then there are some other things that it makes sense to hear it from someone else. And so I think that's why when you said that there's no such thing, like you wish you had a perfect answer. I think that's the entire point.  [00:18:29]There is no perfect answer because the category in which you operate, I think the nascency of your brand as well, all of that will actually shape the type of influencers or people you want to hear from when it comes to whatever that product is or recommending that product. [00:18:48]

Erika: [00:18:48] Yeah, no, 100%. And there are different influencers for different things. Some are for entertainment. But if I'm seeing Alix Earle take colostrum, I know that's not what's making her extremely beautiful.

Orchid: [00:19:00] I know who she is.

Ingrid: [00:19:03] Thank God. Someone has to explain Alix to me, please. Because look, zero hate on the girl. Get your bag. You like how I'm whipping out all of my Gen Z language?

Orchid: [00:19:13] Well, you got to secure the bag. You don't just get it.

Ingrid: [00:19:16] You don't get it. Secure the bag. No crumbs. Go get it. Get it, Alix Earle. Everyone's dying.

Orchid: [00:19:27] All right, Erika. Who's Alix Earle? And why should we care?

Erika: [00:19:31] So I actually remember her back in the day. There was this brand that was based out of New Jersey that I followed way back in high school. I remember that she would model for that brand.

Orchid: [00:19:44] What brand was it?

Erika: [00:19:46] I wish I remembered. It was a clothing brand.

Orchid: [00:19:49] Brandy Melville. I'm just kidding. It was not Brandy Melville.

Ingrid: [00:19:51] This generation, the Gen Z generation, is all about body positivity, diversity being non binary, thinking outside the mold and yet your super hero number one influencer is this beautiful, mega, skinny, blonde, white chick from like, I guess, New Jersey. And it doesn't compute in my head, the principles. And there's a lot of inconsistencies here of we care about the environment we've got Shein is our favorite...

Orchid: [00:20:30] How do you pronounce it? I thought it was "Sheen."

Ingrid: [00:20:33] I don't know. She-in. I always say Shein.

Orchid: [00:20:37] Okay. Shein it is.

Ingrid: [00:20:40] Either way. We all know it's problematic. And there's just this incongruence, frankly, of values and then what actually happens, and the same thing, all the Gen Z people in my feed who are either somewhat tangentially related to me, they're all upposed to be, I guess, like past this, like internalized misogyny that we all have as millennials, but they all literally look like live Bratz dolls, like Bratz dolls come to life.

Orchid: [00:21:16] Well, [00:21:16] I think two things can be true at the same time. But I agree. What you're pointing out is that there is this inconsistency between language and actions. [00:21:26] So I definitely want to hear from Erika on the Alix Earle thing. But I got to say, it's do you perceive Alix Earle to be the spokesperson of your generation or is she just like a recurring cast member?

Erika: [00:21:44] This is actually really interesting because she's younger than me, I will say.

Orchid: [00:21:48] How old is she?

Erika: [00:21:49] She just graduated college, so I'm guessing 22.

Orchid: [00:21:52] Okay.

Erika: [00:21:53] Yeah. So she's a little bit younger than me, so I wouldn't necessarily call her the voice of... Like "Not my president." {laughter} But I wouldn't say she's a voice of a generation. I think that it's very... I don't know if you know about her family history or anything, but she's just connected to a lot of people. Her stepmom is Alex Dupre. You know, the one that was connected to Governor Eliot Spitzer, like that's her stepmom. She's connected. She's connected to a lot of people. And the Earle company, her dad's company... I live on the East Coast. They do so much construction on the East Coast, like their stuff is everywhere. So I think she's a rich girl with a lot of connections.

Orchid: [00:22:37] She's a nepo baby.

Erika: [00:22:40] She's a nepo baby. Yes. And so I think people do love a pretty girl. People love a pretty girl. That's just how life is. I don't necessarily think that she's the voice of a generation. I think that she's now learning to do good things with her voice. She just came out with a scholarship with the University of Miami that she just went to that's going to some students who apply for it who can't afford to go to school there normally, which is a great thing to do. But [00:23:07] I don't necessarily think anything she's doing is groundbreaking. I think people just like to see a pretty girl on their feed and they're like, "Everything she touches is so pretty." She's rich. That's a lot of rich girls and she knows how to act in front of a camera. And I think she's like our reality star if that makes sense. But instead of seeing her on a big screen, we're seeing her every single day on our phones. [00:23:31]

Orchid: [00:23:31] What I like about that is that you're saying what you see is what you get. And there's something very honest about that. Is that fair?

Ingrid: [00:23:40] Yeah. I don't think people understand to the level and correct me if I'm wrong, Erika, like to the level of knowledge that you have about like who she where, who she is, where she comes from, the means that she comes from all of that. I don't think that she like is really explicit about that in the way that, let's say, the Kardashians are. They were literally the blueprint here. Or Paris Hilton, really, the original blueprint. And then they colored it in with the Kardashians. But the amount of nepo baby like coming in from a well connected well to do family that Alix Earle projects I think is really different than like "I'm the child of O.J. Simpson's lawyer" or like "I'm the hotel heiress," like that kind of thing. It's like, I don't think she wears that on her sleeve the way that it was before.

Erika: [00:24:38] I don't necessarily think she hides it because I remember back in the day... I don't follow her, but back in the day, she would come across my feed and it would be "Getting ready for our family photos," like very Kardashian-esque, where it was like this huge mansion and people in the family. I do think that she doesn't hide it, but again, it's this parasocial relationship that everyone feels with her because she's relatable because she went to college and she's doing things that we do. She's going to clubs in Miami, she's doing all these things, and so she feels normal enough that it's like she's my friend.

Speaker3: [00:25:14] Yeah.

Erika: [00:25:15] Versus like, oh my gosh, she's this unachievable amount of Kardashian-level status.

Orchid: [00:25:24] Like Sofia Richie. So maybe they exist on a spectrum. Alix Earle, to your point, she is approachable because she does the things that you all do. It's just a nicer version of it because she's rich. And yet Sofia Richie is like the oh, that is unattainable because that is when you have generational wealth.

Ingrid: [00:25:44] Yeah.

Erika: [00:25:44] Yes. And Sofia Richie, I feel like falls on the spectrum of Hailey Bieber's where it's like we all saw you grow up and like we saw you on your sister's show and we saw you on the Kardashians when you were dating Scott. You are a celebrity and we really like your style, but nobody's saying, "This person's my Sofia Richie." People are saying, "This person's my Alix Earle. I tune in every single day." And I think that that's a distinct difference because people are like "Alix Earle is someone I want to see every single thing that they do. And I have people, other people in different categories that I consider them my Alix Earle of this category."

Ingrid: [00:26:30] That's fascinating.

Erika: [00:26:31] I don't think that's happened before. I don't think we've seen it happen before. And that's so interesting to me.

Orchid: [00:26:38] It's very Truman Show in a weird way.

Ingrid: [00:26:41] 100% Truman Show.

Orchid: [00:26:43] Erika's drawing a blank right now.

Erika: [00:26:46] I love Truman Show. Oh, no, no, please don't. I'm not that stupid. {laughter}

Orchid: [00:26:54] No, no, no. I was going to say. Not at all. I never know when I say something like how dated of a reference it's going to be.

Ingrid: [00:27:05] Totally.

Erika: [00:27:05] To be fair, one time Orchid was like, "Oh, Buffy the Vampire Slayer." And I was like, "Oh my God, I love that show." And she's like, "That was a movie." And then I did watch the original movie.

Orchid: [00:27:20] It was great, right?

Erika: [00:27:21] It really was great.

Orchid: [00:27:23] You can see why I didn't like the show when it first came out because it's so different from the movie.

Ingrid: [00:27:28] But the show, I will say, has cast a bigger shadow.

Orchid: [00:27:32] That is... Well, it was on... Yes, I agree. I feel like most people will reference the show. Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Ingrid: [00:27:38] Agreed. You had like the hipster take of like, "Well, what do you mean? You mean the movie?"

Orchid: [00:27:44] No, I was just being really obnoxious about it, actually.

Erika: [00:27:48] I was actually assigned homework to go watch it.

Orchid: [00:27:51] She was. She was.

Erika: [00:27:52] It was very good.

Ingrid: [00:27:57] I think this is an important unlock in this episode, which is if we're using our n of one example here with Erika. But I think it sounds like this is pretty consistent with other ways that I've seen people start to consume influencer content, which was the way that I consume influencer content is very much more so on the Sofia Richie end of the spectrum and the people of that ilk. And I'll just go, "Oh, she got that sweater from so and so. And clearly, I'm not going to be able to reproduce the entire look, but 1 or 2 pieces or maybe even I'll get the look for less." But like Sofia Richie's kind of like a blueprint in some ways. But I don't at all intend to tune in every day to what Sofia Richie is doing or an influencer like that. Whereas it seems like from what you're describing, Erika, that the younger generation is having their like 1 to 1 relationships that are like much deeper and much more frequent than me. I'm kind of like an influencer follower, like hoochie where I'll just, there's like hundreds of them and I sample them all in different ways. But like, it sounds like that pattern is a little bit different for your generation. Is that fair?

Erika: [00:29:20] Yeah. Alix Earle's not Jackie Kennedy, but Sofia Richie is. You're looking to her for inspiration. You're like, "Wow. Stuff she puts out is beautiful and it's nice," but I'm not, like, "I need to do every single thing that they're doing and I have to do my makeup like this and I have to look like this and I have to do everything to look like this." It's just like, "Oh, that's really beautiful. And congrats on putting out beautiful content."

Ingrid: [00:29:45] Yeah, yeah, I get it.

Erika: [00:29:48] Or entertaining content.

Ingrid: [00:29:49] What are some of the brands that you're into and why these days? What's in your, what's in your wallet? What's in your closet?

Orchid: [00:29:58] Yeah, I really like Outdoor Voices, but it's not the same without Ty. So that's a thing. I'm very into Lululemon these days. Back again, like everything. Alex Mill is a huge one that I really like because it's like American French, cool girl chic sort of thing.

Ingrid: [00:30:20] We have to talk about the Alex Mill thing because I, like everyone else of whatever my generation, I'm a Mickey Drexler fan and this is like a Mickey Drexler production. You know this, right?

Orchid: [00:30:33] What?

Ingrid: [00:30:34] Yeah.

Orchid: [00:30:34] No, it's not.

Ingrid: [00:30:36] It is. It's literally...

Orchid: [00:30:38] No, it's Alex Mill. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:30:40] Oh, my God. I'm pretty sure it's like the Alex part of Alex Mill is Mickey Drexler's son.

Orchid: [00:30:47] Nepo baby. I did not know Alex Mill was the brainchild of a nepo baby.

Ingrid: [00:30:54] Yeah, it's like, totally Mickey Drexler's new thing.

Speaker3: [00:30:57] It is.

Ingrid: [00:30:59] Which, hey, no, hate. He brought us brands that we still know and love today.

Speaker3: [00:31:01] No, it's great.

Ingrid: [00:31:02] Old Navy, J.Crew. All hail Mickey Drexler.

Orchid: [00:31:09] I don't know how I feel about that because on the one hand, it's like, "Oh, that all makes sense" because it is a very, I would say early 2000 J.Crew aesthetic. But I would say maybe even with updated silhouettes to make it a little more modern and a little less late 90s, early 2000. And then on the other side. I was just like, "Oh, I thought it was just a cool standalone brand." So now it feels mass.

Speaker3: [00:31:40] A little more mass.

Orchid: [00:31:40] And it feels like a little more calculated. Not in a bad way, but I think in an "I fell for it."

Erika: [00:31:52] The nepo babies gotcha.

Ingrid: [00:31:53] I'm curious. So we I think, you know, Orchid and I being of the same generation, we do, and especially having been in retail for our whole careers, we have a very specific lens that we look at brands through. And so the commentary that you're running through in your mind about like, Oh my gosh, I just made this realization that like Alex Mill, isn't this a smaller, more boutique, personalized brand? And it's part of like this empire that we're trying to rebel against as a generation...

Orchid: [00:32:26] Literally named after Mickey. I'm on their About Us page. So Alex Drexler so Mickey's son and then the Mill... So Mickey's full name is Millard. It's literally named after him. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:32:43] Yeah. I'm sorry. I'm sorry to break your heart, but I'm curious now. Is there a contrast, Erika? When you hear brands like J.Crew, Old Navy Gap, Banana Republic, and all those brands that are all the same brand, but even just outside of that sort of group, like even Lululemon, these really established brands, do you have a point of view that's like, "That's not for me because it's too generic," or are you just like, "Whatever, If they have cool stuff, I'm going to buy it."

Erika: [00:33:21] I think that for me personally, I like to find cool secondhand things quite a bit. I'm a big the RealReal person. I love to find things that not everybody has. But I will say J. Crew has made its comeback and I have been sucked into it. And Abercrombie too. And I never thought back in what, 2007 I was like wearing the Moose and wearing Abercrombie and on every single piece of clothing that I owned. And I was like, "Oh my God, throw everything away. This is so embarrassing." But now, now it's cool to have things from Abercrombie again. And I never thought that that would happen, but kudos to them. I live near this mall in northern Virginia called Tysons and the Abercrombie there was an establishment where you're like, "Oh my God, I can smell it from like five stores away. And it's dark and dingy and there's weird Moose everywhere."

Ingrid: [00:34:22] Naked bodies.

Erika: [00:34:22] And yeah, naked bodies, naked guys, stuff like that. And I remember being like, once I hit high school, I was like, "That's so cringey. No, thank you." And even in college. And then I went back after college to my hometown and I went to the mall and they completely redid their whole place. It's not even Abercrombie, it's A&F.

Orchid: [00:34:44] Really?

Erika: [00:34:45] At my mall, yeeah.

Orchid: [00:34:47] It's like KFC. It's no longer Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's just KFC. It's the same thing. But I mean, but part of it is that they basically eschewed their outdoorsy plaid, very fraternity sorority aesthetic. And they decided to go after the Aritzia aesthetic. They introduced black as a color, which they never had, Ingrid, when we were growing up. And it was the very dark, loud, smelly Abercrombie.

Ingrid: [00:35:19] Everyone's aspiration at that time. It wasn't cringey for us.

Orchid: [00:35:22] Yeah. No.

Ingrid: [00:35:24] Yeah. So what do you think? [00:35:27] It's really, really difficult, in my view, to change a consumer perception of a brand, and a lot of brands I think have attempted to do it and spent absurd amounts of money and didn't probably get what they were expecting to get out of those investments. But there are some brands that are doing that. So [00:35:50] Abercrombie is a perfect example. I think even Polo is starting to come back now. I'm seeing a lot of Ralph Lauren.

Orchid: [00:35:58] I was going to say I love... I've like been into Ralph Lauren again.

Ingrid: [00:36:02] Yes.

Orchid: [00:36:02] And I didn't know if I was doing it in a satirical way, like leaning into the big branded thing or because I liked it, and maybe both.

Ingrid: [00:36:13] I really think that it is when things like that happen and it's happening across more than just like a couple of people, it's a very, very well calculated, well-designed marketing change that I'm fascinated to study and figure out what in the world they're doing. Because even now there are all these press pictures of Jennifer Lawrence walking around the streets of New York City where she looks head to toe The Row. And of course, she's on press. So everything all of a sudden there are all these photographs of her just walking around looking fabulous.

Erika: [00:36:49] How did the paparazzi get here?

Ingrid: [00:36:51] She's wearing the Ralph Lauren polo.

Orchid: [00:36:54] She is? Why do I think I'm special? And it just turns out I'm basic and it's all it's very much why I'm a little triggered is because it feels like that scene in Devil Wears Prada, where Miranda is asking Andy. It's like, "Oh, you think you're wearing a blue sweater? But the color's actually cerulean. And the people in this room, picked it for you, like four seasons ago."

Ingrid: [00:37:19] It's true. It actually is true. And having worked in fashion and beauty for so long... And it doesn't mean you're basic actually, I think basic people are not quite realizing that Ralph Lauren is like coming back and bringing awareness to it. But even me, why do I think that the Phoebe Philo era of Celine is just like the infinite definition of coolness? And now Phoebe Philo is coming out with her own fashion brand. And I'm kind of like salivating about it and there's just like, all these things that I don't know, what makes me feel that way? This is the whole science of marketing.

Orchid: [00:37:58] Capitalism.

Erika: [00:37:59] Did your TikTok algorithms get to see or did you do this to yourself? Did you make the Ralph Lauren America sweater for the 4th of July? Did you guys see that?

Ingrid: [00:38:12] No.

Orchid: [00:38:13] You can make one?

Erika: [00:38:14] Me neither. But that was what I feel started to bring everybody back. People were like, "Oh, a teddy bear on a sweater." "Oh, an American flag on a sweater. That looks cool with my brand new white maxi skirt that looks like I'm living in the East Village. This is cool." And people started to recreate that sweater because still younger people can't afford Ralph Lauren, but they want that look. And so people were starting to be like, "Build my America sweater with me for the 4th of July." And they were getting like a white sweater that they thrifted, red material, cutting it out and getting like shoelaces or anything white and making their own Ralph Lauren sweaters. And I'm like, is that mock-up?

Ingrid: [00:38:58] That's so rad.

Erika: [00:39:01] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:39:02] It didn't make it to my feed. But even if I'm sitting at Ralph Lauren on their marketing team or whatever and you're not actually buying my sweater, but I see that trend, I am so stoked. I'm so happy that that's happening. That would be great. And [00:39:21] that's another new marketing thing where it doesn't have to be that people are just buying the actual product, but they're literally marketing it for you and thinking about those media impressions and those things. They're showing how aspirational your product is. They're telling that story on your behalf, Oh, it's gold. [00:39:45]

Orchid: [00:39:45] And I think it's to your point, it's kind of corporate is also loosening up.

Ingrid: [00:39:51] The right corporate.

Orchid: [00:39:53] Yes. The right corporate because when you think about Disney, I think Disney for a period of time was extremely litigious about using any kind of their IP. And at a certain point, someone somewhere made the decision to say, "Hey, let's celebrate Disney cosplay." People love dressing up as Disney characters, Disney princesses, going to the park, doing all these things, and putting their outfits together. And no, it's not licensed. It's not something that they could buy at a Disney store. But to your point, it continues to strengthen the brand. It shows the passion for the brand. And so, Erika, I think in your example of thrifting a sweater and making it similar but not identical to the aspirational teddy bear sweater, I think one, that is actually very to me, aligns with Gen Z philosophy, which is thrifting things. It's more sustainable, it's better for the environment. I think it is at a price point where it is achievable. And I think it is this attitude of like, "Hey, I see it, I want that. I can't have it, but I'm going to have what's like cool." And like they probably don't say "cool," but it's like, "Hey, this is something that I'm going to make my own." And it still continues to strengthen the brand of Ralph Lauren. So I think that's very cool. I'll stop saying cool.

Erika: [00:41:21] It's cool to say cool.

Orchid: [00:41:24] Does that mean it's not cool? Because like, cool is not cool. It's fine. I'm overthinking it. It's fine.

Ingrid: [00:41:29] Don't overthink it. Be your authentic self, your most authentic self.

Orchid: [00:41:33] Yeah, I'm just going to go buy the sweater.

Ingrid: [00:41:37] Thrift things while also being a tall, skinny, rich white girl from New Jersey.

Orchid: [00:41:42] Well, I think a large part of this, too, is and I've seen this debate, this is actually the part of TikTok I'm on, which is debating whether or not quiet luxury came from... What role Sofia Richie had in the part of that, I think as triggered or instigated by her wedding. So this idea of, like old money, quiet luxury, you're seeing it with Jennifer Lawrence and The Row, you're looking at Ralph Lauren, again, not super quiet, but Succession kind of had a part in it.

Speaker3: [00:42:15] Succession is quiet luxury.

Orchid: [00:42:16] Quiet luxury.

Ingrid: [00:42:17] That was the beginning of the quiet luxury obsession.

Orchid: [00:42:22] But why? Are we post brands?

Ingrid: [00:42:26] Why do people want quiet luxury or why was it Succession?

Orchid: [00:42:30] Maybe both.

Ingrid: [00:42:32] Okay, well. I think that it's another classic pendulum story. We went from really, really maximalist, logo mania everywhere where Gucci rebranded and all the high-end, like the Balenciaga of it all, if I should just say, is what happened. And everyone just got so incredibly exhausted by that conspicuous consumption era that we were having. And I think also it has a lot to do with mirroring where the economy is at. So when things start to get a little bit less stable in the economy, people start to get a little bit worried, and fashion starts to quiet down a little bit, but for wealthy people, the wealth signaling has always been really, really important. So there are certain expensive cars, really expensive cars that you do drive when you're wealthy, and really expensive cars that you don't drive when you're actually wealthy and you're trying to signal wealth in those smaller, more prestige circles. So there's like the Mercedes G Wagon and then there's like a Range Rover, and they tell two very, very different stories.

Orchid: [00:43:54] Money talks, but wealth whispers.

Ingrid: [00:43:56] Right, Exactly. Exactly. It's one of those little...

Erika: [00:43:59] That's really good.

Orchid: [00:44:00] I did not come up with that myself, but now I did. It's mine now.

Ingrid: [00:44:06] It's very true. And so I think quiet luxury has always been like a thing. But I do think that the change in economics and the economy as well as the logomania, like being tired of that has sort of come together. And then of course, Succession just being as successful a show as it was and seeing that those characters are demonstrating a really, really high echelon of wealth that we don't always have exposure to in the general public and seeing how they demonstrate and show their wealth being so different, if I were to ask a group of 100 people what do wealthy people dress like before Succession came out, they would have very different answers than the way that Logan, Kendall, and Shivon Roy dressed. And so then when they were exposed to that, those brands like the Laurel Peonies and The Row and like all of those brands that are quiet luxury just by definition, their wheels started turning. And I think that's the reason the second part of the question is like, why was it Succession? [00:45:18] I think Succession sort of debunked a lot of what the general public would have assumed a really, really wealthy family would dress like. They're not wearing the Chanel-branded sunglasses with the big CC on them. [00:45:31]

Orchid: [00:45:31] That's only on Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Ingrid: [00:45:33] But that's how wealth was demonstrated to us for the past decade.

Erika: [00:45:38] Do you guys think it's going to be a trend that fades?

Orchid: [00:45:43] I was going to pair that with what are wealthy people going to do now? {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:45:49] I still think there are so many deep, deep wealth-signaling things that go beyond like the fact that you're carrying a bag from The Row that wealthy people like, I'm not first of all, I'm not worried about wealthy people in the slightest in general. But even in that vein, like there are just so many things like the way that your nails look and the length of them and yeah, just like normal, normal stuff. And there are certain things that like I being a girl from Brooklyn, want to differentiate myself from even that. That's not always like the aspiration, right? Like, I want my gold hoop earrings. I want blingy pinky rings and I like my sort of hip-hop-inspired, urban-inspired fashion that I think like old quiet luxury crowds are not into at all. But yeah, I think I'm on a bit of a tangent here, but it's so interesting how those things really do, whether it's cognitive or not, signal sort of like where you're from and what your socioeconomic place is and what kind of, you know, generational wealth that you have. Which is why it's always really funny when you find out like a rapper or something is a nepo baby.

Orchid: [00:47:11] Or Drake who found his start in Degrassi, the basketball player.

Ingrid: [00:47:18] A total upper middle-class Jewish Canadian kid.

Orchid: [00:47:21] Yeah, it lives rent-free in my head. Really.

Ingrid: [00:47:24] So let's wrap with three words that we use to describe brands that we love. And it doesn't matter what kind of brand it is, and it sounds like we need a follow-up on know health and wellness, because we just learned that Orchid drinks Diet Coke every day.

Orchid: [00:47:40] Every day. It's so good though.

Ingrid: [00:47:41] Every day is the main part of that.

Orchid: [00:47:43] Yeah. Consistent.

Ingrid: [00:47:46] I'm a creature of habit. I'm a creature of very, very bad habits.

Orchid: [00:47:50] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:47:51] Okay, I'll go first. I'll go first. So three words that I would use to describe brands that I am drawn to today. One is aspirational. I'm just going to admit that to myself and the planet that I care about being aspirational. And that doesn't even mean it has to be expensive. It just means like, it has to feel like it's well made, you know, and kind of nice and a little bit like a treat. So aspirational in that way. It has to feel solid, like a real not a fly by night company. So solid is what I would describe. I've just seen so many drop ship and fly by night DTC brands and that kind of thing. You have to be around for a bit. You have to have a little bit of credibility built up. I think that's important. Solidness/credibility is number two. And yes, I can use two words, leave me alone. And number three, I think has to feel personalized. I know I'm such a obvious, like, basic. It has to feel like they understand me at a level that is not generic.

Orchid: [00:49:09] I like it. I like it. Mine would be approachable.

Ingrid: [00:49:15] So opposite of me.

Orchid: [00:49:16] A little opposite. I like that. I want to feel like it is a brand that is for me. And so I want it approachable. I don't need like hoity-toity, but I will pair that with heritage. I really like that Ralph Lauren is making a comeback. I like that J.Crew is making a comeback. There is this piece of nostalgia. So in that heritage. So I think that's one of them. And then the other one, yeah, I mean, it's a hyphenated word, but well-made. So similar to you. I'm not interested in fast fashion anymore. Instead of buying five shirts from a fast fashion brand, I would rather buy one shirt or a jumpsuit because that is an entire outfit.

Ingrid: [00:50:04] Oh, yeah.

Orchid: [00:50:05] But yes, I would say approachable, heritage, and well-made.

Erika: [00:50:09] Those are all good ones. I can think of two at the moment. For me, I think sustainability is obviously really important and not like sham sustainability if that makes sense.

Ingrid: [00:50:20] No greenwashing for Erika.

Erika: [00:50:21] No greenwashing here. No, I think I just am not attracted to brands that base everything on trends like Orchid was saying. And like you can definitely tell when something is very trendy and very just not sustainable in the long run and also not sustainable for the environment and also third-party tested. Maybe that'll be a double one for me.

Orchid: [00:50:42] Ooh.

Erika: [00:50:43] Especially if it's something that I'm putting on my body or putting in my body and that I'm buying, I find it very important to have third-party testing because there are so many lies out there.

Ingrid: [00:50:55] Yeah.

Orchid: [00:50:56] Wow.

Erika: [00:50:56] And people claiming things and doing things. And I don't know. That's how I've been shopping lately. Not three, two and a half.

Ingrid: [00:51:02] the FDA has been asleep at the wheel most of the time with this kind of stuff.

Erika: [00:51:05] Oh, no 100%.

Orchid: [00:51:06] So astute.

Ingrid: [00:51:06] So, are you thinking EWG kind of third-party?

Erika: [00:51:12] I'm not like, I'll only go for that, but I certainly lean towards that.

Ingrid: [00:51:18] Do you have the app on your phone?

Orchid: [00:51:20] Third-party, like Alix Earle?

Ingrid: [00:51:26] {laughter} An official voice of reason and logic.

Orchid: [00:51:28] Voice of a generation.

Ingrid: [00:51:30] You guys, this has been a blast. Audience, let us know what your three words are and then we should just wrap up and talk about next time, sort of how do we market those words and how do we bring that to market? But thanks so much and I'll talk to you guys soon.

Orchid: [00:51:46] Bye.

Erika: [00:51:47] Bye.

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