50 Fashion, Beauty, and Lifestyle DTC Brands About to Take Off

  • The Lead has identified 50 of the most promising online DTC brands for 2023.
  • Startups were selected from the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle categories.
  • They were evaluated based on multiple factors, including company efficiency in using raised capital.

Today’s early-stage direct to consumer brands are being forced to follow a vastly different playbook compared to Casper, Away, and other industry pioneers of the last decade. 

Sure, having a great product and building a community of loyal fans is still crucial. But in 2023, there isn’t an army of investors ready to back consumer brands. CEOs are also spending less cash on Google or Facebook ads for fast growth and are more preoccupied with profitability.

The Lead, a research and events company, has released the fifth edition of its “Foremost 50” list, which highlights the DTC fashion, beauty, and lifestyle startups navigating these hurdles and disrupting how legacy brands operate. 

Most of the companies on the list are funded. But raising capital is not a major factor for making the list like it was in the past, Sonal Gandhi, chief product officer at The Lead, told Insider. 

“A lot of the brands featured this year have raised no money or have raised very little at the very early years,” she said. “And then, somehow, once they hit that profitability number that they were looking for, they’ve managed to grow without having to raise additional funding.” 

More important is “how efficient they are with the money that they have,” Gandhi added. How startups acquire customers outside of Facebook and Instagram, how they configure supply chain networks, and the rate of repeat purchases from customers are other key factors. 

As examples, Gandhi highlighted Athletic Brewing and jewelry brand Dorsey — both on the list this year. The latter owns its own breweries, which Gandhi says shows a unique way to use capital and attract customers outside of online ads, while Dorsey is catering to better-for-the-environment trends by selling lab-grown diamonds. 

“Product is an important part of what these brands do, but you cannot just win with a great product,” she said. “So we’re seeing creative approaches to customer acquisition. We’re seeing creative approaches to building communities and then using influencers or other ways to sort of build your brand.”

While higher borrowing rates and the macroeconomic environment are top of mind for DTC CEOs this year, hiring should be much easier in 2023.

“Just in terms of  growing your teams and getting the expertise, certainly it’s gonna be easier going forward for them,” Gandhi said. “They’re in that phase where they do need to add more members to their teams to grow faster.” 

Below are the brands on The Lead’s “Foremost 50” for 2022, listed in alphabetical order. Funding numbers, where known, are also provided by The Lead.

1. Athletic Brewing Co.

What it is: non-alcoholic craft beer brewer

Total capital raised: $173.5 million

2. Bearaby

What it is: sustainable weighted blankets

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

3. BÉIS Travel

What it is: luggage and travel accessories

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

4. BloomChic

What it is: women’s fashion brand in 10-30 sizing 

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

5. Bobbie

What it is: Organic baby formula 

Total capital raised: $72 million

6. Born Primitive

What it is: outdoor and fitness apparel brand started by military veterans

Total capital raised: None

7. Boy Smells

What it is: genderless candles, fragrances, and intimate wear

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

8. Brandon Blackwood

What it is: designer bags and accessories

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

9. Bubble Skincare

What it is: skincare products for men and women

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

10. Cann

What it is: cannabis infused beverages with both tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol

Total capital raised: $27 million

11. Caraway

What it is: non-toxic and colorful ceramic-coated home goods

Total capital raised: $40 million

12. Care+Wear

What it is: fashionable medical-focused clothing

Total capital raised: $5 million

13. Coterie

What it is: premium diapers available via subscription

Total capital raised: $34.1 million

14. Dame

What it is: sexual wellness brand selling sex toys, wipes, and supplements 

Total capital raised: $13 million

15. Dorsey

What it is: jewelry featuring lab-grown diamonds and other minerals 

Total capital raised: $1 million

16. Fig. 1

What it is: refillable skincare products 

Total capital raised: $11.5 million

17. Flag & Anthem

What it is: casual men’s and women’s clothing sold at a mid-price point

Total capital raised: $19.9 million

18. Harper Wilde

What it is: affordable bras and loungewear for women 

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

19. Hello Cake

What it is: sexual wellness brand for couples

Total capital raised: $18.6 million

20. Hydrant

What it is: hydration packets full of vital electrolytes

Total capital raised: $20 million

21. Hydrow

What it is: indoor rowing machine

Total capital raised: $255 million

22. ipsa

What it is: fine frozen dinners made to be heated on stove tops or in ovens

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

23. Italic

What it is: online retailer of luxury goods without the markups

Total capital raised: $25 million

24. K18 Hair

What it is: treatment for damaged hair

Total capital raised: $44 million

25. Kosterina

What it is: extra-virgin olive oil and olive oil infused vinegar, desserts, and skin care

Total capital raised: $6 million

26. Lalo

What it is: baby furniture, including high chairs and play tables.

Total capital raised: $5.6 million

27. Madhappy

What it is: fashion and lifestyle brand focused on creating conversation around mental health

Total capital raised: $1.8 million

28. Manscaped

What it is: grooming accessories for men

Total capital raised: $500,000

29. Margaux

What it is: women’s shoes handmade in Spain

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

30. Monos

What it is: luggage and travel accessories

Total capital raised: $40 million

31. Mugsy

What it is: online retailer best known for its jeans 

Total capital raised: None

32 .Oliver Cabell

What it is: luxury footwear minus the markups

Total capital raised: None

33. Pangaia

What it is: a sustainable streetwear brand

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

34. Pattern Brands

What it is: holding company with multiple brands selling home goods

Total capital raised: $99 million

35. Petlab Co.

What it is: treats, supplements, and chews for dogs and cats

Total capital raised: None

36. Public Rec

What it is: apparel retailer focusing on casual and athletic wear

Total capital raised: $500,000

37. Rowan

What it is: ear piercings with accessories for purchase

Total capital raised: $34.3 million

38. Splendid Spoon

What it is: plant-based smoothies, soups, grain bowls, and noodles

Total capital raised: $20 million

39. Spot & Tango

What it is: dog food delivery service

Total capital raised: $57 million

40. State & Liberty

What it is: athletic-fit formal wear for men

Total capital raised: None

41. Stix

What it is: fertility, pregnancy, UTI, and yeast-infection products

Total capital raised: $6.4 million

42. Stoggles

What it is: prescription safety glasses

Total capital raised: $40 million

43. Supergut

What it is: shakes that improve metabolic health, mood, sleep, and energy

Total capital raised: $8.2 million

44. The Honey Pot Company

What it is: plant-based feminine care products

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

45. The Normal Brand

What it is: lifestyle brand that sells rugged clothing for men and women inspired by the Midwest

Total capital raised: None

46. Three Wishes Cereal

What it is: high-protein, low-sugar cereal

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

47. Truewerk

What it is: professional and trade workwear

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

48. Wandering Bear Coffee

What it is: boxed cold brew

Total capital raised: Undisclosed

49. Win Brands Group

What it is: holding company with brands selling outerwear, home goods, and candles

Total capital raised: $90 million

50. Wolf & Shepherd

What it is: men’s dress shoes made with technology found in running sneakers

Total capital raised: Undisclosed


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