Client Spotlight

The news and headlines that grabbed our attention last week:

Mobile Payments: What’s No-Go – And What’s Go-Go-Go – In 2013 via Forbes: Forbes gives us an inside look, “hot-or-not”-style at what they predict will be a “no-go” and what will “go, go go!” in 2013.

“App and Mortar” Is One Way to Describe the Trend in Mobile Commerce via AllThingsD: The term “mobile commerce” is commonly used to describe e-commerce revenue that is generated over smartphones and tablets. Now there’s a new term called “app & mortar” in a new report that explores the rise in smartphone shopping.

Unlocking Your Phone Is Now Illegal, But What Does That Mean For You? via TechCrunch: All the salacious headlines are (mostly) true — you can’t unlock a carrier-subsidized smartphone on your own before the contract associated with it runs out without technically running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. TechCrunch breaks it down for us lay people on what exactly that means for the smartphone generation.

How Tumblr Saved Itself ~$20 Million With One Simple Move via Business Insider: Tumblr generated $13 million in revenues during 2012, according to Forbes, and it hopes to be profitable in 2013. One reason profitability is even within the realm of possibility is that the company finally made a hard, but smart choice toward the end of last year. It moved off of third-party servers and built its own data center, which came online in October.


The news and headlines that grabbed our attention last week:

Optimizing Ecommerce for Tablets and Smartphones via Practical Commerce: Websites that render in their native form on a tablet and smartphone are likely losing sales due to navigation and usability requirements of those devices. This article addresses steps to ensure your ecommerce site works well for tablet and smartphone users.

David Sims Lenses for Proenza Schouler via WWD: Proenza Schouler’s spring campaign marks a couple of firsts for Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough. It’s the first time the duo collaborated with photographer David Sims. It’s also their first campaign to appear in national fashion magazines like the March issues of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and W. Congrats to both Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, friends and Acadaca clients.

PayPal’s in-store payment platform spreads to 18,000 retail locations across the US via The Verge: PayPal sought to make its in-store payment platform more ubiquitous by rounding up a number of new retail partners including Home Depot, Guitar Center, Barnes & Noble, JC Penney, and others. The company has provided an update on those efforts, revealing that PayPal users can now pay for items in over 18,000 stores throughout the US.

M-Commerce Boom Over Holidays: One-Third Of E-Commerce Traffic Was Mobile; Sales Up 171%, Conversions Up 30% via TechCrunch: Mobile commerce over the 2012 holiday season saw major gains, with visits to m-commerce websites up 109 percent year-over-year, page views up by 116 percent, conversions up 30 percent, and sales up by a whopping 171 percent.

via Slate

Early in October, I got a call from Bayard Winthrop, an entrepreneur who claimed to have created the world’s best hooded sweatshirt. Because I found this claim amusing—who sets out to make the world’s best hoodie?—I agreed to chat with him about the sweatshirt and his company, a San Francisco-based apparel startup called American Giant.

I thought it would be a polite interview that would go nowhere, but I quickly found American Giant’s story irresistible. For one thing, Winthrop had figured out a way to do what most people in the apparel industry consider impossible: He’s making clothes entirely in the United States, and he’s doing so at costs that aren’t prohibitive. American Apparel does something similar, of course, but not especially profitably, and its clothes are very low quality. Winthrop, on the other hand, has found a way to make apparel that harks back to the industry’s heyday, when clothes used to be made to last. “I grew up with a sweatshirt that my father had given me from the U.S. Navy back in the ’50s, and it’s still in my closet,” he told me. “It was this fantastic, classic American-made garment—it looks better today than it did 35, 40 years ago, because like an old pair of denim, it has taken on a very personal quality over the years.”

But few companies make sweatshirts—or any clothes, really—like that today. In the 1970s, when the fashion industry morphed into a mass-market business dominated by mall stores, its marketing and distribution costs began to skyrocket. To keep retail prices down, companies began to shrink the price of producing clothes. Today, when you buy a hooded sweatshirt, most of your money is going to the retailer, the brand, and the various buyers that shuttle the garment between the two. The item itself costs very little to make—a $50 hoodie at the Gap likely costs about $6 or $7 to produce at an Asian manufacturing facility.

American Giant has found a loophole in the process. The loophole allows Winthrop to spend a lot more time and money producing his clothes than his competitors do. Among other things, he was able to hire a former industrial designer from Apple to rethink every aspect of the sweatshirt, from the way the fabric is woven to the color of the drawstrings around your neck. The particular loophole that Winthrop has found also explains why he wanted to chat with a technology reporter: It’s called the Internet.

American Giant doesn’t maintain a storefront, and it doesn’t deal with middlemen. By selling garments directly from its factory via the Web, American Giant can avoid the distribution costs baked into most other clothes. American Giant’s basic sweatshirt sells for $59, while its full-zip hooded sweatshirt—i.e., the classic hoodie—goes for $79 (including shipping and free returns). That’s more than you’d pay for a basic hoodie at the Gap or American Apparel, but it’s comparable to hoodies from Levi’s, J. Crew, or Banana Republic.

But there is really no comparison between American Giant’s hoodie and the competition. It looks better and feels substantially more durable—Winthrop says it will last a lifetime. When you wear this hoodie, you’ll wonder why all other clothes aren’t made this well. And when you hear about how American Giant produced it, it’s hard not to conclude that one day, they all may be.

Why is this hoodie so amazing? First, it’s made of heavyweight cotton. Most other sweatshirts on the market today are made of some kind of blend, usually cotton and polyester. The cheaper the sweatshirt, the more polyester. (American Apparel’s hoodie, which sells for $46, is 50 percent polyester.) Not only is a polyester blend cheaper than cotton, it’s also easier to work with, allowing for faster, lower-cost production. Blended fabrics shrink more predictably than cotton, letting manufacturers get more consistent clothes without much more effort. Blends can also be made to take on a variety of textures—the soft, fluffy inside lining on a cotton/poly blend hoodie, for instance, is just as easy to achieve as the smooth outer layer. To create the same soft interior in cotton, American Giant has to send its material through machines that pick loops of thread out of the fabric. That isn’t a cheap process.

But the result is worth the effort, because heavyweight cotton is the ideal material for a sweatshirt. When you run your hand against American Giant’s hoodie, you find a finely textured, rugged, warm exterior. People in the apparel industry refer to this as a “dry hand feel,” while polyester has a slightly slick, “wet” feel. To me, the best adjective is expensive—the cotton feels spendy between your fingers, while a blend feels like it could break down after a few years. That’s likely true, too. After repeated runs through a washer and dryer, polyester blends become brittle and tattered, the fabric pilling unattractively. High-quality cotton will endure the elements and repeated washings and emerge looking only better.

Get the full scoop here.

We hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (and took advantage of Black Friday). Here are the news and headlines that grabbed our attention last week:

Amazon Launches Brand Pages via Inc Magazine: The online retailer announced Amazon Pages, which lets retailers create web stores and market through the Amazon network. With Pages, retailers can make customized e-stores that remain autonomous from Amazon’s main site. Businesses registered with Pages will also have access to Amazon Post, a social media dashboard connected to Pages and Facebook, and Amazon Analytics, a web metrics tool that monitors Amazon Post sales and social media trends.

Chanel who? E-commerce has barely made a dent in the luxury goods market via VentureBeat: Interesting editorial on luxury e-commerce market from a venture capitalist in San Francisco.

Say hello to our newest clients!: Please join us in welcoming Danskin + 2XIST to the Acadaca family!

We are proud to say that Acadaca took part in the 2012 Tribeca NY Fest Soccer Day. The event was held on Saturday, April 24 on Pier 40 in New York City to benefit local kids through the Claudio Reyna Foundation.

The entertainment industry tournament boasted well over 40 teams, including Acadaca, Facebook, ESPN, Tribeca Enterprises, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features and many more. The celebrities included people from the sports and entertainment industries including Detroit Lions Defensive Back Ndamukong Suh, former US National Team soccer players Claudio Reyna, Jeff Agoos, Brian McBride, Eddie Lewis, Chris Armas, along with a plethora of entertainment talent.

The news and headlines that grabbed our attention last week:

Anatomy Of A Redesign: How eBay Pieced Together A New E-Commerce Machine via Fast Company: eBay unveils a new site redesign, along with its plans to take over online and offline retail. Our friends at Fast Company take a look at the parts that are powering eBay’s big play for e-commerce dominance.

Swarm, A Mobile Tool For Retailers, Raises $1M From Nas, ShoeDazzle Founder Brian Lee, And VICE Co-Founder Gavin McInnes via TechCrunch: Swarm, a startup that helps retailers connect with in-store shoppers through their smartphones, has raised $1 million in seed funding.

What the Presidential Candidates Say About Tech via The New York Times: New York Tech MeetUp, a nonprofit group that represents computer coders and other technology industry people in New York, asked the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to pitch how their policies “would benefit the growth of New York start-up community and other start-up entrepreneurs.”

How to Stay Safe on Ecommerce Sites via Mashable:  As more consumers move online to do their shopping, the ecommerce industry continues to boom. U.S. consumers spend around $1,200 – $1,300 per year, and that number is expected to almost double by 2016.

Security measures should be the most important factor stressed in ecommerce. In order for brands and consumers to prevent attacks, they need to understand what’s at stake for the brand, the consumer and the hacker.

American Giant Launches New Site Design: Acadaca worked with American Giant Clothing to re-launch their site with a refreshed look.

The news and headlines that grabbed our attention last week:

On Planet Proenza via NYTimes: The New York Times reviews the new Proenza Schouler store on Madison Avenue.

Top Retailers Going Mobile Fast via Practical Ecommerce: America’s top retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, are enjoying significant mobile traffic as 4 in every 5 smartphone owners access retail ecommerce sites in a typical month.

How to Make Your Ecommerce Site Link Worthy via Search Engine Watch: Great insight how to help drive your e-commerce site to the top of organic search.

With Facebook Gift-Giving Service, Is More E-commerce To Come? via Forbes: 
Facebook has launched a new service that enables people to send gifts to friends through Facebook, signalling the company’s larger opportunities in e-commerce.