PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded Communities

 

Starting and then having the capacity to scale a business in such an entrenched branded community can be very daunting. For Ryan Ringholz and Jonathan Spier, that is coming into the shoe industry establishing the first lifestyle brand to start with kids through their company, PLAE. In this interview, Ryan and Jonathan take us into their journey from when they first launched entirely online in 2013 to evolving with their wildly successful approach to adults in 2017. At the heart of their brand is the word “play” where they recognize freedom of thinking like a kid. They’re taking this unique concept into their model and processes, especially with the new world of digital engagement. Tune in to catch their scaling advice that is essential no matter what industry you are in.

Listen to the podcast here:

I have a cool new company to bring to you. They’re not new. They’re five years old, but new to you maybe. They’re definitely new to me. I love it when I can find a brand that is doing something innovative. It’s not just that they have a cool product. They’ve made some cool features and added them to it, but they’re reinventing the model for how things are sold or how things are designed or delivered. That’s a sign of a company that has some deep experience, knowledge and growth. We can learn so much from them. That’s the company I’m bringing you now.

The company is called PLAE. PLAE is the next-gen global lifestyle brand where fun meets function. It’s designed for the imaginative and crafted for the creative. They create shoes with premium materials, biometric science and all the stuff that elite athletes get, but they have fresh insights and philosophy. They’re the first lifestyle brand to start with kids. They launched entirely online in 2013. PLAE has evolved taking their wildly successful approach to adults in 2017. We’re going to talk about how that happened. On the journey, they started asking themselves and the world, do you still play? It’s a great universal concept that play is fundamental, but often we forget about that in the design, development and cutthroat world of product in retail especially.

PLAE believes that there’s an artificial line when it comes to play between adults and kids, and their goal is to erase that line and harness the power of play for everyone. It started by two founders, Ryan Ringholz and Jonathan Spier. Ryan is the Founder and Chief Designer. He’s an internationally recognized brand expert and designer. He was the lead designer at Puma. He launched the billion-dollar Lifestyle Division. He went to Diesel and grew the footwear to over $300 million and UGG where he created the strategic plan that grew the business from $250 million to $1 billion in five years. He has launched his own men’s footwear line and consulted for dozens of the world’s best brands.

Jonathan Spier is the CEO. He’s a fifteen-year startup veteran. He was Cofounder and CEO of NetBase, a leading provider of social media marketing solutions to blue-chip customers like Coca-Cola, JD Power and SAP. He is an alumnus of HBS and prior to joining PLAE served at Altos Ventures where he mentored and advised numerous CEOs. They’ve got quite an interesting team. I’m glad to introduce you to them and hear how they’ve managed to scale in such a difficult and challenging industry. Tune in to what they have to say because their scaling advice is essential no matter what industry you’re in. 

 

Ryan and Jonathan, thank you so much for joining me. How are you? 

We’re doing great. Thanks for having us. 

I’m glad to be here. 

I am excited to talk about how difficult this might have been and how many things you had to do to overcome such an entrenched branded communityYou guys decided to go into kids’ sneakers, kids’ shoes. That’s where you started in. You moved into adult shoes, which going from kids to adults is something already that most companies cannot accomplish. Taking on adult shoes in any category, especially in casual wear is almost crazy. What made you think that this is going to be worth doing easy? What got into you a few years ago? 

It’s funnymy career and background have always been in the adult shoe side of it. In a weird and maybe twisted crazy way, however you want to say it, doing kids’ shoes in the beginning was the harder and scarier part for me than this idea of taking on adult because I’ve done that many times throughout my career, the adult side so that felt comfortable. 

The part that feels the most daunting is when you're doing something you haven't done before. Click To Tweet

What’s scary to most everybody else, thinking about you’re going in against New Balance, Nike, all of these companies. You’re like, I’m good with that. It doesn’t seem difficult. That’s an interesting perspective. 

I think it is with anything. When you’re doing something you haven’t done before, that is the part that feels the most daunting. For me, I hadn’t designed kid’s shoes prior to our initial launch. It was always the vision to have this whole lifestyle brand but starting with kids based around design thinking. There’s notion of kid thinking. I always found that if you can get as close to thinking like a kid in terms of how you approach a problem, you approach it with the idea that there are no boundaries. There are no limits and that everything is possible. That was the onus for launching the brand and around this idea. If you’re going to create something that’s rooted in that notion of kid thinking, kid design, it only makes sense that you’d start with kids. Especially if you’re going to have a brand that’s all about having fun, play, experiences and ideation, it was the natural path it felt for us in launching even though it feels completely counterintuitive on paper. 

Jonathan, what about you? Were you scared? Were you like, “I got this, I’m not scared by this at all? 

It’s funny you said we took on something challenging. We never thought it would be easy, but we were inspired by what we were trying to do. There are so many brands out there that stood for fight, compete, win. It seemed to us natural that they needed to be a lifestyle brand that stood for and stands for PLAE. There was skepticism when we started, but not about where we were starting in terms of product category. A few years ago, it was still a new idea to be selling products only online and to have what we now call nextgen brands or Instagram brands, but to be rooted and committed to the new model of how you go directo consumer and reach the market. That was a new idea not long ago. Was it scary? It was exciting because of what we wanted to build, which felt big and also because we had a chance to build something in a new way, which is this online community and social mediadriven, onlinedriven model. 

I joke about it that there’s that saying in entertainment that you never want to act with kids and animals. It’s the same in design. It’s a flooded market, but all times the kids are very picky. They have their own mind and most adults don’t understand it. Somewhere along the line that’s where it goes wrong. Some committee somewhere and some corporation decided something that kids would like and they went, “No, that’s not going to be us.” Especially in this generation where it’s harder and harder to advertise to them. 

When we were kids, we were all watching commercials, Sunday mornings, Saturday mornings, whatever it was. We were watching all those commercials and stuff was pushed in our faces. We were like, “Yes, we want that. That looks exciting. Nowadays, my kids are watching completely filtered stuff on their iPads and their Kindles. They don’t get any ads at all unless they’re watching YouTube. You have a marketing challenge. You’ve got to get to the parents and get to the kids. 

lot of what you’re saying is the essence of how the models changed because it used to be so much about push marketing. The designers go off into a lab, some basement someplace and they design for six or nine months. When the consumer finally sees the product after teaser billboards, when it announces and it’s coming in three months, it’s all push. In many ways what we’re doing here at PLAE wouldn’t have been possible without these new tools to fundamentally reverse the model and to work with the community from the beginning because we’re not trying to do that. We’re not trying to invent something, push and hope they like it. We’re trying our best to build something with our audience, with our community and hope it’s something we’re building together. That takes fundamentally a ton of the risk out of it and changes the process around completely. 

Let’s tell everyone about exactly what you’re doing and what you’ve built with PLAE. Tell us a little bit about the model. How does it work? How are kids involved in the process and now adults? 

From a product standpoint, I would say that it’s different than how I’ve ever worked in past life experiences. Tyour earlier point about this notion of designing in a lab or designing in a cave locked away, one of the things that I learned throughout progressively through my career is sometimes it takes a little bit of time to come to these realizations. Obviously, I speak from a design perspective, but I imagine it’s true of many types of business enterprises, in general, is that it’s easy to come in with your own preconceived notions of envisioning what you wanted to do. It’s hard to listen to people and to interpret and internalize a lot of what they’re saying, to accept it, but then to be able to put your perspective on that and reintroduce it.  

PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded Communities

Scaling In Branded Communities: If you can get as close to thinking like a kid in terms of how you approach a problem, you approach it with the idea that there are no boundaries.

 

That’s the process that we go through with PLAEIt was unique from the beginning. We’re listening to what our community is asking for from experiencesuse cases and environments. We’re able to go and work with them to collaborate and create together new ideas and new concepts and we’re able to explain why. That’s the other big part of it that gets lost in this whole process, in this back and forth and give and take. That can happen in this new world of digital engagement where we can create something and say this is why we did this. A lot of the products we have in the market now wouldn’t have seen the light of day in the old model. 

It’s like we have had to not only upend our marketing, our sales process, but we’ve now had to upend our design process as well. That is an interesting model. Tell me a little bit about shoes. Let’s talk about the shoes because they’re cool. Let’s talk a little bit about that. Let’s talk about the design of them. What’s unique about them? 

The big thing is we focus this notion. If you design for an outlier for extreme use cases, you can oftentimes, if not always, come up with a better solution for everybody. That’s been our approach with design and product. It’s led to innovations, new ideas and approaches for the entire construction of the shoe, the way it functions is completely different than any shoes previously. That goes to our inner space system where for adults, the soles are interchangeable and can be customized to fit every individual because no two feet are the same. We could speak for hours on that. 

Is there some 3D-printing involved hereknew we were going to get to that at some point. 

The innerspace systemdepending on the model, there are two available insole heels. The shoes are constructed so that you can wear them without any insole at all, barefoot, which is a zero drop in for people who want to have that natural barefoot wear. This became popular during the Born TRun Movement and it continues to some degree. We have our base insole, which gives you a fivemillimeter lift. We use opencell cushioning from ECO-Ortholite and PORON, which are the best in the world. You get this incredible rebound and cushioning but also support. For people who want to have a little bit more of a lift and a little more arch, there are the cushions that we call space foam that fits in. It locks in like a block under the heel. That gives you another ten millimeters of lift. It’s fifteen in total. 

I’m wishing I was wearing your shoes because the floor was so hard in this building I was giving a talk in. It was concrete floors and I was feeling that. You need that extra cushion. 

You can 3D print it. We opensource the whole thing. You can tune it. All of those options, you can tune in to fit how you want to wear it. Because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who knows if it’s comfortable or not. 

Have you had to reinvent the whole manufacturing and delivery process then on top of it all?  

Yes, absolutely. 

It's relatively easy to scale if you've got a great product and a great market message. Click To Tweet

You have taken on a gigantic challenge. You reinvented everything along the way here and took on an entrenched industry. You’ve worked for some of the companies so you know what it’s likePuma, New Balance and Nike. It’s full of big brand names. Thkids’ market is very cheap and disjointed. That’s the thing that I think about when I think about that. Your kids are growing, their feet are growing fast. You wonder whether or not you should spend any money on shoes at all. They want to look cool. My daughter had her first day of school and had to have new shoes for that. There is that part of it. You had to reinvent everything. How was it going for you? 

It’s going fantastic. At this point, we’ve shipped millions of units. Above all else, what we’re looking at as a sign of our success is a community that is active, engaged and passionate about what we’re doing. Both from the brand side, they get it. The world needs more play and we talked about that all the time. That is resonating with people. Also as a company, it’s the way we try to be transparent and work directly with our audience to try and create the brand together. Seeing their passion after what we’re doing is the most rewarding of all. 

We’re in a time where there are real shakeups and challenges for some of these established brands. That’s tough because there are much technology and much change that a lot of people, legacy brands with a lot of investment in real estate and some of those types of investments. It’s no secret that’s a real struggle. The flip sidefor those of us brands starting with a clean slate, when you’re starting with a digitally native platform right from the beginning, it’s a super exciting time. The time to market is much faster, the ability to experiment, try things and use data. It requires a lot. 

To your point, before it requires a rethinking of how the supply chain works, but also how you go to market and marketing. The opportunity is amazing to be able to create something clean and this whole new platform. We look at it a little less of the challenge of the other guys and a little more about this blank canvas is a whole new type of business model. We get to be at the forefront of helping to create that. That’s exciting. 

You’re at a place of giant opportunity because brand loyalty has fallen off in a strong way with this Millennial generation and beyond. We don’t see that level ocommitted loyalty to whatever the brand is. There is some amount of newness that everybody wants to try and there becomes a new loyalty. It’s a raving fan loyalty that you earn that makes you fabulous. I looked at the numbers in my business and it’s 82% referrals. I have 250 shows on my podcast platform and 82% of them came from referrals. That’s what is happening too with you guys, is that you developed this onlineonly, to begin with this direct to consumer and moving into that you earned their loyalty. That in and of itself is a different way to brand build it. 

Although I would say that in some ways it’s rooted in the most traditional way, which is word of mouth. The way that word travels is a little bit different. 

We lost that somewhere in the middle. Probably when we were younger, somewhere around there it started to fall off because we didn’t have local stores as much anymore. They were now chains. I always think about that. I always thought it was such a shame when I saw merchandising shifts from being regional to being national for sure. That’s when to my brick and mortar massmarket fell apart. That’s when I saw the decline starting to happen there. What you are doing though is interesting. You’ve been in businesses. I interviewed the founder of UGG boots. I noticed that you brought UGG from $250 million to $1 billion in five years. 

This is something that most brands are struggling with as well. It’s that scaling side of it. I am of the opinion that it’s relatively easy if you’ve got a great product and a great market message and your productmarket fit is there. It’s fairly easy to get to $1 million in sales. From that $1 million to $10 million, it’s excruciatingly hard because you’ve got to put systems in place, but from $10 million and beyond and getting above $300 million is incredibly difficult. What have you seen from the things that you’ve done, Ryan and Jonathan that has helped companies grow in those stages of scaling? 

You have to have a resonance beyond being a product, a commodity. That’s fundamental to have the permission to grow to that level. You have to have a great product and great design that answers the needs of the consumer group. 

PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded Communities

Scaling In Branded Communities: If you want something to scale, you need to have an element of newness, uniqueness, and excitement but still feels approachable.

 

In your example, did you go from kids to adults because they wanted it? 

It sounds funny to say, but I can’t tell you how many angry emails they made. Somebody had commented and said, “What is so hard about making the shoes bigger?” Unfortunately, that’s not the reality because historically it had been the case in the industry where the inverse was true where you would take an adult shoe and shrink it, pink it and make a miniature for kids. It turns out that’s the worst thing to do for kids developing feet. From the kids’ business, we redesigned the whole platform and construction for kids specifically. The idea of doing the inverse also didn’t make any sense. 

It was like starting all over again. It sounded simple on the other side or to us novices going, Just grow the size. Luckily for me, I have small feet so I probably would’ve fit in your largest kid’s size. I probably would have been okay. It wouldn’t have fit me rightIt wouldn’t have been the right shoe for me. It’s interesting that you had that challenge, but they were demanding it. They were wanting you to scale and that’s a sign of a good brand. It’s a brand we want to do more business with. 

The other part of it that I’ll say, if there’s been a secret sauce to my success, not just at PLAE but in past lives, is it‘s finding balance in the product that you’re creating. By thatyou need to bring something new, something innovative, something perhaps a little challenging to the consumer but also have it be familiar in some way. If you do something that’s new, out there and extreme, you’re going to get a lot of early adopters and people willing to experiment with something. That’s great. That can grab a lot of attention. If you want something to scale, you need to have an element of newness, uniqueness and excitement, but feel approachable, uncomfortable with something we already know. It’s finding that balance either be aesthetically or colorwise. There are lots of ways to strike that balance but that balance is what’s critical. 

Jonathan, what about you? You’ve worked with a lot of startups. What have you seen helps them go through those pain stages of scaling? 

There are a few things. First of all, for a consumer company, in particular, the company has to stand for something. A company that stands for play, that comes across in so many ways and the way we talk and the way we communicate and who we are. That’s job number one. It’s the product. I agree with everything Ryan said. He’s designed on purpose. The next piece is approaching product design in a deliberate way where products exist for a reason and to solve specific problems, not just to create a buck. Some examples where Ryan has a brilliant job of that for PLAE. For example, earlier this year, we launched our Packable collection. It‘s a line of super functional, super sleek, super versatile sneakers and ballet flats for women and even slippers, but they’re designed to compress down to fit well in your suitcase or in your purse or your glove box. We all have the challenge now of we’re traveling. We’re on the road. We’re living out of carryons or even heading into the office and you want an extra pair of shoes. You don’t want to have to bring something bulky. 

did that. It’s also because everything’s weightrestricted now. We also want those them to be lightweight, small and thin. You guys got all going on there. That’s smart. You’re tapping into the lifestyle. 

By understanding the lifestyle and creating a product that fits that and this pack was such a good example because it’s a greatlooking sneaker. By the way, it happens to compress down and it chips in a bag instead of a box. You can squeeze the air out. It’s tiny. It goes anywhere with you. It’s those thoughtful design solutions to challenges people didn’t even realize they hadYou were in San Francisco. You realize that having laceup shoes can be a challenge. Your shoe comes undone. It’s dragging and God knows what. Having our laceless solutionsour Staelace and other kinds of solutions to avoid needing the lace. Those are thoughtful solutions again that builds that much more reason to try and enjoy a product. 

To grow to a certain level, you have to have a great product and great design that answers the needs of the consumers. Click To Tweet

I’m glad you’re saying that because what you’re doing is reinforcing something I say on the show pretty frequently. Part of what I believe is that there are models to follow to scale your supply chains, to scale your distributions, to scale all of those things. A smart product strategy that’s super sensitive to your brand and to the audience that you’ve built, that is a better scaling option than the typical, which is, “If we throw more products, we’ll be fine.” That’s what most brands do when they try to get to that next stage. They’re like, “Throw more stuff in, people will buy it because they like us.” That’s not true because if they’re not thoughtful as you’re putting it if they’re not well designed if they still don’t have that brand integrity, it won’t work. 

When you start a business or an initial product or idea from the beginning, it’s easy to stop and think about what’s the reason for being when you start from nothing. As you grow, it becomes easy to get distracted and lose sight of that question. That question is important every time you make something new. 

One of those people who would go in, I would call it the hatchet girl who cut people’s lines tremendously and not because they weren’t selling. They would get all upset like, “Somebody is buying this.” You’re like, “No, they have to go. If you want to get to that next stage, if you want to get to $300 million, you better start cutting these products because they’re not working for your strategy. They’re not working for your brand anymore.” That’s a hard thing for someone to do after the fact. It’s a lot easier to start with it and try to maintain that integrity, keep to the brand and keep to your audience what they’re telling you and listening to them. You’ve built in a system that requires you to listen. 

We hear things fast. TRyan’s pointing, including the occasional“Why won’t you make this?” with a lot of heat. I was reflecting. I heard you in one of your previous podcasts. You’re talking about great product and wouldn’t it be nice if a great product always wins. It’s super important to have a product that solves a problem, but it’s one piece of the puzzle. The full set is to have a brand with real purpose that has a reason to be and a product that solves solutions and is great. You have to do a great job of these new dimensions that consumers are considering when they’re considering what brands to trust these days. We’re at a time of change when consumers are trying new things. In some waysloyalty ultimately is going to be a function of execution and how well you do. It’s solving basic things but important things like shipping on time, free shipping, doing a great job of returns and exchanges. 

That was also what was occurring to me when you were talking about your Packables being so much lighter weight. You’re also helping the environment in that process because the more costs, the more space that it takes up, the more shipping. We’re wasting fuel. You’re doing a bunch of things that are behind the scenes saving money internally for the cost of what you’re shipping, but also doing some real good to the rest of the world for all of us here. You’re solving bigger problems that maybe your customers don’t even know about. 

It’s absolutely deliberate because a lot of the costs of a product from the standpoint of the environment, the eco-costs comes down to how the product gets to you. It’s the type of factory it’s made in and what energy they use all the way to the size of the product. By doing something in a compression bag, we’re able to make a product that ships across the ocean smaller. Unfortunately, everything that ships across the ocean right now is going to consume some fossil fuels. We can do our part to make that better by shipping smaller packages. That was deliberate on our part. 

I would add to that, the other part that gets lost in the conversations around ecological impact is the importance of not making things. I don’t care what the laundry list looks like in terms of how recycled or ecofriendly the materials are or the sourcing and everything. At the end of the day, if you make something, you’re making an impact by nature of it. The greatest thing that you can do is to create something that lasts a long time. It doesn’t have to be replaced. That’s one of the big focuses we’ve had from the beginning is making something durable that can be handed down and resold. One of the things that I’m certainly the proudest of is if you look at oukids business, which has been around for a few years now, we have an incredibly robust resell market. It speaks to that impact. 

I can tell youmultiple daughters go through one shoe. We go through a lot here. If they make it to the second one, I’m shocked. It is something that I’ve always looked at. Early on in my design careerI was lucky enough to work with Herman Miller. It was right in the early stages of them. I worked with him with the Aeron chair. I’m still sitting on one that I originally bought when they came out. I’m still sitting in that. It’s many years later. Thinking about that though, that durability is something and not even thinking about cradle to grave, as important as that sounds, it’s hard to deal with. 

PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded Communities

Scaling In Branded Communities: There are a lot of moving parts in any new venture. It’s important to know what pieces you can do and where you need help.

 

You can get into this design cycle of not being able to solve it. It frustrates you. You don’t do anything and that’s not making progress in the world either. I always loved the approach that they pioneered. Many years ago, Herman Miller when they started their Eco Council, which was, I don’t care what we have to do, as long as we take steps every single week, every single day, every single new product that was going out, we’re doing something more improved over the last time because we’re going to get there. We’re going to get to where it needs to be or where it can be at this point its greatest potential for improvement. That’s something that we all have to do. It has a huge cost implication. In your world of competitiveness on these lowcost shoes that you’re competing againstthere are some almost unbelievable pricing down there. 

I have walked into Walmart. We can’t buy these shoes because this is like stealing. Wstole somebody’s labor to make these. There’s nothing left in the cost of theseI have enough knowledge. Most people don’t. You’re competing against that. If you can make efficiencies elsewhere and keep your costs on par with where you are in the marketplace, that’s fantastic because now you’re creating a much more sustainable and viable business, not just sustainable for the world, which is good too. What’s next for you? Where are you going next? Are you expanding products? Are you going to do more? 

I was going to speak more from a product, the next steps and where the brand is going standpoint. The Nordstrom partI‘ll let Jonathan answer that. From a product perspective, that’s to be determined by the community. As I said earlier, a lot of what we’re doing is more about listening to feedback and what people are looking for, what’s missing, where there are opportunities. A lot of times, the opportunities lie in between the words. It’s paying close attention and listening carefully to how people are using products and not ours but others and where there are opportunities to make improvements or new solutions. 

Jonathan, what about the expansion of distribution and other things like that? 

What drives us is, as you can hear, from all of our conversations is the community and being close to our community and our customer. That’s where 90% of our focus goes. We’re delighted by the partnership with Nordstrom on the kids’ side. Many parents want to go and get their kids measured in person. That’s been a phenomenal relationship. We respect Nordstrom tremendously. As it relates to building our business, especially on the adult side, we’re super excited about our direct consumer model and growing our online business. It feels like we’re still at the beginning of what we can do there. It’s fullspeed ahead to keep getting great product, keep finding new ways to tell the story and keep engaging with folks to learn from them about how to do a better job for them. 

Do you guys have any advice for those that are considering upending the business models in their industry or the product models? Do you have any advice for them? 

One thing I would say is it’s important to work backward through the process. It’s common to say, I’m going to start a business and I want to make something or do something.” If you go the other way around and look at it through the consumer eye, which is this idea of design thinking and look at what does it, what is a need, what is a want and work backward to building a business toward that, you have the opportunity to disrupt an entire industry. 

Many productfocused companies that we seemany productfocused brands, it’s all about the product and it’s not about the need in the marketplace. If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts, I’ve probably said productmarket fit and every single one of them. It always comes up somewhere and for me, when you have market first fit, that’s an easier way to do design. I don’t know about you, but I find it that if I understand what the market’s looking for, I can design anything because now everything’s on the table. When you go the other way, you’ve got to hope it fits. I don’t believe in hope. 

My advice is it’s about the people because there are a lot of moving parts in any new venture, in any new product, in any new product launch. It’s important to know what pieces you can do and where you need help, where you need complimentary parts. The most fun since launching PLAE with Ryan is the way we worked well together, but we don’t both do completely different things. Ryan is so amazing at design, brand and talking to customers, everything else. We need that. We need a lot of our creative activity to go into a bunch of those things. We also need to solve some of the basic steps. I can help with the boring stuff while he does all the cool creative stuff. 

Loyalty ultimately is going to be a function of execution. Click To Tweet

This was something I did want to mention, so I’m glad you’re saying that as a part of your secret sauce that you guys got going on there. You’ve got a great team because you’re balancing out your priorities well between a dual focus on operations, systems, growth and the product as well. When you have them at that top level and often you don’t, it’s very imbalanced. It’s a salesdriven organization or it’s a designdriven organization. There’s not a lot of inbetween. You have made it, so it balances. You have hit on such a great partnership so congratulations on that. 

Thanks. It comes down to mutual respect. 

You need each other to be successful. I want to thank you much for being on and sharing much with us. There’s so much to learn here and I’m going to make sure everybody has links for PLAE. Ryan and Jonathan, thank you for being on the show. appreciate your time. 

It was a pleasure. Thank youTracy. 

Everyone, I’ll be back next time. Maybe I’ll bring you a cool interesting company and brand to talk to or maybe we’ll bring you some hard nittygritty advice. You never know what’s coming up next. You’ll have to keep reading. Thank you for reading.

Tune in to Ryan Ringholz and Jonathan Spier’s next Office Hours. Connect with and find out more about Natasha and Fred Ruckel in our Experts Directory.

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About Ryan Ringholz

PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded CommunitiesRyan is an internationally-recognized brand expert and designer. As lead designer at Puma, he launched the $1B+ lifestyle division.

He then went to Diesel, growing footwear to over $300M, and subsequently UGG, where he created the strategic plan that grew the business from $250M to $1B in 5 years. He has launched his own men’s footwear line and consulted for dozens of the world’s best brands.

Jonathan Spier

PLH 116 | Scaling In Branded CommunitiesJonathan is a 15-year start-up veteran. most recently, he was co-founder and CEO of NetBase, a leading provider of social media marketing solutions to blue-chip customers like Coca-Cola, JD Power, and SAP.

Jonathan is an alumnus of HBS and, prior to joining PLAE, served as an EIR at Altos Ventures, where he mentored and advised numerous CEOs.

 


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