Direct-to-consumer businesses filled your Instagram feed with colours and promises to “cut out the middlemen” in 2017. They’ve changed into formal trousers and are marching along Wall Street.
Allbirds, the footwear brand that has adorned the feet of many from the Gen Z, filed for an IPO yesterday. The firm has made sustainability a top priority, and it intends to keep that purpose alive by launching a green IPO.
The firm is launching a Sustainable Public Equity Offering, which means it will be held accountable for meeting specific environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.
Allbirds claims that its supply chain has been carbon neutral since 2019 and that their basic shoes have a 30% lower carbon footprint than its competitors.
But, while it seeks to steal revenue from bigger rivals like Nike and Adidas, it’s worth remembering that Allbirds hasn’t made any money since its inception, and has no plans to do so anytime soon.
Does this ring a bell?
It’s comparable to Warby Parker, the e-commerce eyeglasses retailer that filed to go public last week, in that aspect and many others. Warby Parker is also foregoing the traditional IPO route by going public via direct listing, which means it will not raise any funds in the process.
Both Warby Parker and Allbirds were effective in attracting urban millennials who were comfortable shopping for clothing online. From 2018 to 2020, Allbirds’ online sales revenue increased by 74%, while Warby’s overall sales increased by 44%.
However, as they’ve grown, these companies have realised that physical stores are an essential complement to online purchasing.
As of June 30, Warby Parker had opened 145 retail locations. Allbirds has 27 locations and plans to establish hundreds more.
Zoom in: Allbirds and Warby Parker are just two wildebeests amid a larger rush of consumer-facing businesses preparing to go public. Chobani, Sweetgreen, and Roger Federer’s On Running are all said to be contemplating their own initial public offerings, seeking to cash in on the strength of the American consumer.