Well Made

Ep. 134 Starting from scratch with Scott Tannen

November 11, 2020 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

By his own account, Boll & Branch founder, Scott Tannen knows that his bedding brand may not be the first that comes to mind when you think of "cool" DTCs. The branding is classic and the style feels universal, but dig into the Boll & Branch supply chain and you'll find that they're totally changing the game for how textiles can (and should) be manufactured. 

Before he had a logo, or even a brand name, Scott drafted out the unwavering brand principals which deviated far from the norm of the textiles industry. Boll & Branch has adopted and created their own standards that meet or exceed qualifications for ethical labor, sustainable materials, and transparency. 

As he puts it, "There are so many issues that exist within this manufacturing cycle, and if you don't break it all apart by starting from scratch, you can't fix it." Tune in to hear how Scott and his wife Missy have built a transparent supply chain that they're proud of. 

“Companies need to take more control over their supply chains, and they have to recognize the fact that we always have a responsibility to stand up for the little guy.”

 Starting from scratch
 Starting from scratch

Scott shares some of the pillars of Boll & Branch that have been there from the start, and why he bootstrapped for so long (5:13). He believes that often, the worst thing about VC money is getting too much of it (10:48).

While DTC is the new kid on the block, Scott gives props to the survivors of traditional retail which have adapted to direct-to-consumer relatively quickly. As an investor himself, Scott is looking for brands that are an improvement on the status quo — not just an alternative (17:57).

Scott’s dad was responsible for bringing Adidas to the US, and Scott shares what he learned from that (27:11). He drops some serious knowledge about what he considers to be the golden age of brands — the 60s, 70s, and 80s (28:46).

“A logo does not make a brand.” Scott shares his opinion on finding the soul of a business and the danger of using a “cool” factor to mask an inferior product (31:37).

By building sustainability in from the start, Boll & Branch had to make their own standards and bring accountability into an industry which is notorious for poor treatment of the people and the planet (38:53). Finally, Scott shares why he decided to take private equity and how he chose the right partner (49:47).


Also mentioned on the episode:


You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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