• Maria Hvorostovsky

From Tadpole to Tiger: Digital Lessons from DGB’s Ace Studios

As big brands increasingly look to acquire digital-first lifestyle brands, some might wonder why they can’t do it themselves?


Here we explain why not, and highlight some digital native brands to watch in 2019.




What is a digitally-native vertical brand (DNVB)?


The digitally-native vertical brand is crackers about the customer experience. More so than traditional competitors who are not able to get as close to the consumer as this small fry. They have a soul, inspire people and shape choices. It’s not a commodity but a cult.


DNVBs are born on the internet but don’t necessarily stay there. Although a DNVB requires an e-commerce channel, that’s not the core asset and the channel exists purely to facilitate sales.



The Business Model


DNVBs are closer to the consumer and so have more detailed data to leverage when it comes to reaching the customer. This is something the big brands are keen to harness.


DNVBs can also grow quickly with minimum investment, utilising Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram to good effect, establishing regular and individualised dialogue with their customers. Their smart use of technology helps them to connect with customers and find their niche market. As such, their mindset is different from bricks and mortar brands.


One of the first trailblazers was the Dollar Shave Club in 2016, bought by Unilever for $1 billion. For a monthly subscription which can be upgraded or downgraded at any time, subscribers receive personal grooming and shaving products to suit their budget. Their initial YouTube video attracted such an unexpected amount of traffic, that it crashed the company’s server in the first hour.


Since then, DVNBs have been popping up everywhere. Ace Studios is one of the most recent, launched at the beginning of the year by Digital Brands Group.


This luxury suiting brand is a prime example of how a partnership between DVNBs and bigger, established companies can lead to gains for both parties. The DVNB has the opportunity to leverage operational, infrastructure and data resources to reduce costs and open brick and mortar stores, while the bigger, established company has the opportunity to engage with a cult following.



Digital Native Brands to Watch


Here are some other examples of DNVBs to watch in 2019:

  • Adore Me (lingerie)

  • Allbirds (footwear)

  • AYR (apparel)

  • Glossier (beauty)

  • M.Gemi (luxury)

  • Outdoor Voices (athleisure)

Which DNVBs have got you excited? We’d love to hear from you.


Email us your thoughts.


Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash.