ACCUR Recruiting Services has long experience recruiting executives in consumer facing companies, including beauty, fashion, wines and spirits, watches, jewelry and consumer packaged goods. We recruit CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Directors of Marketing and Sales and many other positions for both legacy organizations with a long history and startups who are more focused on e-commerce.
Some of the most interesting companies in the retail space in 2022 are coming at the business from a somewhat newly created category known as “digitally native vertical brands.” In this article, we’d like to unpack that category, explore how it is different from traditional retail, and how we approach recruiting candidates that can drive growth in these companies.
What are “digitally native vertical brands”?
We are all very familiar, at this point, with the ways e-commerce has disrupted the retail industry. Legacy companies in luxury like Chanel and Louis Vuitton have been forced to grapple with ways to attract younger, always-online consumers, while entrepreneurs have looked for new ways to exploit underserved markets.
Into this environment, the “digitally native vertical brand” was born: that is a company that controls their product sales, online experience and customer service, rather than relying on larger partners, like department stores, to do that work for them. A “digitally native” brand is one that was born online: think of companies like Casper and Zappos, and a “vertical brand” is one that exerts an unusual degree of control over the product creation, manufacture and marketing.
Put them together and voila: the digitally native vertical brand. How important is this in retail today? Extremely: in just the the past decade we’ve seen brands like this not only carve out new market space but also reap billions of dollars in sales and pioneer a new kind of business model.
Examples of digitally native vertical brands
Some of the most successful DVMBs today include:
- Parachute Home: a maker of sheets and other housewares
- Warby Parker: value priced eyewear that invites users to try before they commit to a pair of frames
- Everlane: well made clothing for men and women
- Casper: mattress maker with a strong focus on getting their customers better sleep
And, as you might surmise from the list above, most DVMBs are born in the digital space, but often use flagship retail to attract and build relationships with customers. For that reason, they require a unique approach to hiring in our experience.
What skills are required in executives in digitally native vertical brands
We often recruit for leadership positions in these types of brands and find that in addition to having strong resumes, executives also need these skills to succeed:
- Strong track record of revenue growth and understanding of “growth hacking”
- Ability to use data to inform decision-making
- An obsession with building strong customer relationships through the web and social media
- An ability to create experience that bridge online and off
- Experience in “experiential” retail
How we approach hiring for e-commerce positions
When screening candidates for positions with digitally native vertical brand firms, we follow a process that is drawn from our open-ended interview technique. In this, we like to ask open-ended questions, and focus on the following areas:
- Experience in revenue growth
- Experience in creating experiential retail
- Experience with online marketing campaign and especially data and KPIs related to those
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Edouard Thoumyre is a seasoned executive recruiter with over 17 years of experience in executive search, as the Founder and Managing Partner of ACCUR Recruiting Services. Specializing in the Consumer and Luxury Goods industries, he has a proven track record of placing senior level and C-level executives in family, private equity-backed, and Fortune 500 companies in the beauty, wine & spirits, watch & jewelry, home goods, and tobacco industries, among others. Edouard Thoumyre holds a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris (#1 European Business School, Financial Times rankings) and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Centrale Lille (a top 10 French engineering school). ACCUR Recruiting Services has been recognized as a Forbes Top 100 executive search firm since 2018.
Edouard Thoumyre and his firm, ACCUR Recruiting Services, have been featured in numerous publications such as WWD, Business Insider, Newsweek, CPG Specialist, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq.com, Marketplace by NPR, Business of Fashion…