My role at Monday involves a lot of time on the road connecting with founders and marketing leaders, and keeping tabs on what’s happening in our industries—both big picture in brand and marketing, but also in the outdoor and active spaces and in sustainability.

I just closed out a busy spring with a week in New York (for fun!) and Chicago (for work! At the incredible Circularity 24 conference). Here are 4 things I learned along the way:

1. No really, Everyone Watches Women’s Sports

At the end of 2023 my annual trend roundup called out women’s sport in the spotlight. Seeing this fully realized at Barclay Stadium was a new core memory for me. I watched the NY Liberty home opener, as they took on Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Heat. The dancers were perfectly in context, the energy was downright palpable, the crowd was starstudded (Jason Sudeikis, Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, Kara Swisher!). Thanks to Togethxr for this prescient brand platform that captures the spirit of the moment. If you want to find a way to plug your brand into this long-overdue movement, hit us up. 

2. NYC is the next great outdoors hub

I squeezed in visits with our friends at Outlandish and Hikerkind in Brooklyn, Allmansright in the Bronx, and was just a week too early to hit the new Bandit Running flagship opening (but we can’t wait to see that space come alive). These brands are thriving, and they’re all doing it through community—gathering like-minded folks in their spaces and using that as a launching point for outside experiences. It was a reminder that setting up shop in an urban jungle doesn’t preclude rallying a community of recreationalists

3. The new rules of resale

By now, nearly every brand has realized the economic gains of having their own resale channel, but many are still sorting out the logistics. At Circularity 24, Columbia University’s Danielle Azoulay led a panel with the wise folks from Archive, Tersus and The North Face to spell out best practices that will make your resale stick. Here are a few:

  • Put the consumer first: start by finding out what they want and need and how they will engage with your platform
  • Be clear on your goals: is this a brand play, a CSR priority, a revenue stream, or a customer acquisition tactic? It can be more than one, but knowing your top focus will shape your approach.
  • Find brand alignment: don’t make the message “sustainability” if that isn’t a brand pillar. Make it make sense for your brand. 
  • Think of it as another major sales channel: owned retail, wholesale, ecomm, and recommerce.
  • Treat it like something that can disrupt your business in a good way: This isn’t something to half-ass. Assume it will become a major part of your business if done well. And maybe go a step further and give it VP-level leadership.

4. The sea will save us

We’re raw materials nerds at Monday—this is where all the fun innovation is happening. A panel featuring founders of  three ocean-derived ingredient brands—thermal plastic seaweed brand Sway, seaweed yarn brand Keel Labs, and invasive fish leather brand Inversa—unlocked the secrets to making novel ingredients take off:  

  • Ensure your materials can use the systems we already have (like Sway’s seaweed polymer pellets that mesh with existing plastic manufacturing tech).
  • Make it compostable (or what’s the point?) at a rate that makes sense for the use case—rapidly for high-production one-time-use products like Sway, and slower for clothing ingredients like Keel.
  • Choose replacements that nourish the ecosystem—beyond the ocean, there’s cattail fluff to replace synthetic down, waste wool as bubble wrap, and mycelium as the basis for foam. 

The world is full of wonder. When you innovate, make sure your efforts don’t go unnoticed—a strong messaging platform and go-to-market strategy are what take your innovation from cost centre to profit centre. Jussayin.