Lalo co-founder Michael Wieder: We’re not sticking with the old DTC playbook
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Michael Wieder, the co-founder of Lalo, is betting on the baby stroller market.
“We know that you’re putting your most precious belonging in our products,” Wieder said on this week’s episode of the Modern Retail Podcast. “They have to be safe, they have to look good, they have to be an extension of who you are. If you don’t trust us, then why buy us?”
Wieder and his co-founders Jane Daines and Greg Davidson saw the new-to-parenthood customer as one facing many first-time purchasing decisions without much information to go on.
“You get to a stage in your life where you’re forced to make hundreds and hundreds of purchasing decisions for products you’ve never used before. That’s unlike anything else you shop for,” Wieder said.
After launching their stroller, The Daily, earlier this year, Lalo added a second direct-to-consumer product to their line-up: a high chair.
Wieder joined the podcast to talk about how to challenge incumbent brands, the DTC business model, and Lalo’s next moves as far as new products go.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
First-time parents don’t have enough information to go on
“These big purchases, strollers, high chairs, big durable products… parents pain over it. They don’t know where to start. Traditionally the way customers behave is they act on ignorance and fear. They’re like ‘I don’t want to screw this up’ and they scramble and ask some friends. You get to a stage in your life where you’re forced to make hundreds and hundreds of purchasing decisions for products you’ve never used before. That’s unlike anything else you shop for.”
Why the baby gear market is ripe for disruption
“It’s actually an industry that’s been dominated by holding companies. They have their stroller brand, their high chair brand, their crib brand, and they don’t let those brands cross. But how do you connect with the consumer across those different products? The old DTC playbook was pick a product, stick to it, do it really well, and then grow. Whereas we came out with our second product four months in.”
DTC but (of course) with a physical space, too
“Looking at the consumer journey, most people start in two places. Number one, with their friends, and number two, on Google. So knowing that, we said ‘how can we get in front of people’s friends when no one has our products? They’re already referring the incumbent brands.’ So we actually welcome people into our space with other brand strollers. We opened the Lalo loft in Soho in New York, and what we knew was that if people can come in and make a one-on-one appointment, come into this space that looks like a beautiful apartment, it’ll be so differentiated from that last trip they made to the big box store that they’ll buy our products. And that checked out. Fifty percent of the people who made appointments to date have actually purchased our products.”