Stop Saying "NO" and Start Saying "HOW"

Your weekly dose of best practices for building a successful DTC brand.

Welcome to the first issue of the year!

I hope you had a great time with your loved ones 🥂

In this newsletter, you'll find:

💠 Stop Saying "NO" and Start Saying "HOW"

💠 This is What Successful DTC Brands Have in Common

💠 3 Ways you can Increase your AOV Right Now

Stop Saying "NO" and Start Saying "HOW"

Brands need to grow, and many teams are not keeping up with the demand.

That led a business partner to lose a client.


During the first half of 2023, I told my business partner I was spotting too many "NOs" from our team.

Some of our clients wanted to start doing many things almost every single week (ie. implement dozens of ad creatives, ad tests, and new emails).

And we could not adapt as fast as they wanted.

We kept telling them that what we had was enough.

"If it's always worked for you, trust us that it'll keep working".

That's when I told her we needed to start thinking of "HOW" we could pull that off.

Instead of saying: "that can't be done".

Luckily, we did.

Recently, I heard a partner would stop working for a client we have in common.

And I couldn't stop thinking: "this is what happened to us".

Time after time, they kept saying "NO" to the client's requests.

Whether they were right or wrong.

And that's the key.

It doesn't really matter if your client/boss is right.

Many times, that solves nothing.

If they want to pull something off, what matters is "HOW" you can help them with what they need.

Otherwise, they'll look to solve that elsewhere, or with someone else.

Don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean being the "yes man".

It means understanding WHAT they want, so you can tell them HOW to pull it off.

This is What Successful DTC Brands Have in Common

2024 is here, so I thought this is as good a time as any for refreshing this info I posted a few months ago.

I've interviewed over 100 successful DTC founders and directors on my podcast, and these are some common elements I found:

💎 Offer a product their customers actually want

🤝 Clear values and unique value propositions

💰 Know their numbers very well

😜 Have a unique personality

🤯 Create a WOW customer experience

📦 Forecast inventory to avoid overstocking or running out

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Awesome team, with the right headcount

🤓 Leverage a similar tech stack

Let's go through each of them:


This sounds straightforward, but it's not.

Many times, brands need to release a batch of products and make improvements, leveraging customer feedback, before producing more and scaling their business.

Sounds logical, right?

Yet many companies don't operate this way.

Which leads to offering products nobody really wants.


First off, if you haven't read the book Traction, go read it to better understand this concept and why it matters.

Why should a company have core values?

They'll help you, among other things, with:

  1. New hires: you'll get a better idea on what questions to ask, and whether the candidate is a good or bad fit for the company.

  2. Your team: you'd want to build a team aligned with your core values and company culture. So defining them will give you more tools to assess if someone is not a good fit for your company after all.

  3. Clients & vendors: these two also need to be aligned with your values.

Btw, some people I've interviewed had their core values written on the wall.

That's how important this is to them.

What about UVPs?

It's basically what makes you different from your competition.

Maybe it's better fabrics, a faster/better service, sustainability, or something different that makes you stand out and become a better choice for the consumers.


Although this may not be perfect, I can almost guarantee that they keep track of more metrics, more often, and more accurately than non-successful brands.


Let's be honest: Many companies offer products that are also available from other brands.

And one of the ways to stand out is by having a unique personality.

Take this example:

The typical men's underwear brands use models to showcase their products and content on social media.

Yet, this brand I interviewed a few months ago, took a disruptive approach.

The four founders are the face of the brand.

In fact, they first tested models, and this works best.


People feel a deeper connection when the brand is "more human".

Plus, they are fun and create funny content on social media, that makes people engaged.


I discussed this with a former Disney executive focused on "Disnifying" the customer experience.

That means, mapping out your processes and adding a "wow" factor.

Let's see a few examples in the DTC space:

A founder told me he personally calls their customers to ask how they feel about their products.

Some others send them personalized, hand-written, thank-you notes. A different one in each order.

Other brands select a group of VIP customers and give them products away to test & give feedback to improve it before its public release.

Finally, some brands even ask their loyal customers (or even their fan base) what products they'd like to see next, and they go ahead and create the top-voted ones.


An 8-figure company I've recently interviewed said they didn't properly forecast their inventory for Q4 2022 and ran out of stock too soon.

Causing a huge impact on sales, as you can imagine.

On the flip side, some brands order way more inventory than they can sell with their sales & marketing strategies, among other factors, causing cashflow issues.


Having the right people, in the right seats, is very important for brands.

The book I mentioned above, Traction, talks about this in-depth.

Having the right headcount is equally important.

If you overhire, you'll end up hurting your bottom line.


Most successful brands I've interviewed use a similar tech stack for different purposes.

Here's the list I've put together:

KnoCommerce: for post-purchase surveys

Tapcart: for building a mobile app

Rebuy / AfterSell: to capture repeat purchases

Recharge: for subscriptions

JudgeMe / Okendo: for Shopify reviews and more

Aftership / Malomo: improving the order tracking experience

Twik: product catalog sorting tool through AI

Klaviyo / Sendlane: for email marketing

Attentive / Postscript: for SMS

Zipify: Up/Cross-sells

Replo (YC S21) / Shogun / GemPages: landing pages

Archive: UGC Gathering

Triple Whale / Northbeam: analytics

Gorgias: for customer support

FlexReturns: for returns

Numeral: Tax Compliance

Finaloop: P&L + Bookkeeping

Parker: Credit Card

Retention: email list growth

Viralsweep: for giveaways

3 Ways you can Increase your AOV Right Now

In a tough context, with lower profit margins and higher customer acquisition costs,

Who wouldn't want to get higher-ticket orders?

In this episode of The DTC Insider podcast, we'll show you 3 ways to accomplish this.

In this episode of The DTC Insider podcast, we discussed:

👉 Defining your value ladder

👉 3 strategies to increase your AOV

🎧 Tune in to our latest episode:

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