50 Most Influential People in DTC

The Leaders, Voices, and Thinkers That Shape the Industry

Winning Founders

Allison Ellsworth
Allison Ellsworth
Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Poppi

The story of Poppi involves Shark Tank, a careful study of wellness trends, a deep knowledge of product, and a keen ability to be nimble during a global pandemic. Allison Ellsworth’s work embodies all the best qualities of DTC.

Andrew Dudum
Andrew Dudum
Founder & CEO at hims & hers

Bringing a concept to market that redefines the relationship between patients and doctors is no small feat. For Andrew Dudum, it’s just one of the many ways that he’s changing the consumer experience.

Andy Dunn
Andy Dunn
Co-Founder & former CEO at Bonobos

The first internet-driven DTC brand in the United States began with men’s pants sold out of a closet and led to a $300m acquisition by Walmart. Andy Dunn can tell you that even pocket-sized ideas can grow into the biggest opportunities.

Brian Berger
Brian Berger
Founder & CEO at Mack Weldon

Mack Weldon is one of those quintessential DTC brands that does something different from vision to product to marketing to customer experience. At the heart of that for nearly a decade now is Brian Berger.

Darwish Gani
Darwish Gani
Co-Founder at Lumin & Pangaea

To grow in the digital-first space means experimentation—leveraging data, building a cult following, product expansion, and shifting the conversation about everything from men’s grooming to global trade. Darwish Gani is at the forefront of all of it.

Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal
Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal
Co-Founders & Co-CEOs at Warby Parker

Warby Parker is practically a shorthand for DTC — and all the ways that digital-first brands have changed how customers buy what they buy and how they feel about brands. Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal are visionary pioneers.

Emily Weiss
Emily Weiss
Founder & CEO at Glossier

The digital-first beauty company has taken the industry by storm and disrupted many old tropes that kept millennials away. At the center of this billion-dollar brand is Emily Weiss, who has accrued every honor there is.

Emmett Shine
Emmett Shine
Co-Founder & Executive Creative Director at Pattern Brands

The number of popular brands and digital-first darlings that Emmett Shine has had a hand in developing would blow your mind. Pattern, which brings a number of budding companies together under one roof, is the latest experience.

Gabi Lewis
Gabi Lewis
Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Magic Spoon

Great branding, good timing, and attention to cultural and wellness trends have made this DTC cereal into a pandemic darling. Between social channels and a smart influencer program, Gabi Lewis and Magic Spoon have brought breakfast back.

Georgina Gooley
Georgina Gooley
Co-Founder at Billie Body

Addressing ingrained cultural taboos and inequalities in the marketplace is something brands generally shy away from. Not Billie which, led by Georgina Gooley, successfully asks consumers to think and shop differently.

Jen Rubio
Jen Rubio
Co-Founder & President at Away

In spite of a pandemic, Away remains the celebrity-approved DTC luggage start-up. Under Jen Rubio’s watch, it will be well poised for takeoff after the travel surge begins.

Jordan Nathan
Jordan Nathan
Founder & CEO at Caraway

Discovering the toxins in traditional household goods is a common DTC founder tale. Jordan Nathan and Caraway created a solution that also just happens to look good in kitchens and Instagram shots.

Katrina Lake
Katrina Lake
Founder, at Stitch Fix

Highly personalized subscription services were unheard of before Stitch Fix arrived on the scene. A decade later, Katrina Lake has led an operation that leverages AI, data science, and trained stylists in ways that only bring about more imitation.

Maria Molland
Maria Molland
CEO at Thinx

Taking a brand that had been battling for its life and doubling its staff, launching new product lines, and striking up partnerships with major retailers is a dream DTC story. Maria Molland and Thinx pulled it off.

Michael Preysman
Michael Preysman
Founder at Everlane

In 2011, affordable, sustainable clothing hadn’t hit the market or the public consciousness quite yet. Michael Preysman and Everlane changed that and many conversations about fashion.

Moiz Ali
Moiz Ali
Founder at Native

The path from working at his parents’ gas station to opening a small business selling craft spirits online to creating Native, a consumer brand that would be acquired for $100m, might not seem like a straight line. Moiz Ali may disagree.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown
Co-Founder at Allbirds

One of the brands most synonymous with the Direct-to-Consumer surge of the past decade, Allbirds embodies savvy, sustainability, and mission-driven simplicity. It’d be nice to walk in Tim Brown’s shoes.

Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
Founder & CEO at Brandless

Brandless remains one of the most impressive and studied experiments in the world of DTC. Tina Sharkey is teaching her playbook to a lucky list of companies and acolytes.

Winning Thought Leaders

Chris Mikulin
Chris Mikulin
Managing Partner at Kulin

Keeping ahead of trends and dispensing strategic wisdom in a space as wild and fast-moving as DTC isn’t easy, even if Chris Mikulin makes it look that way.

Ezra Firestone
Ezra Firestone
Founder at SmartMarketer

A constant behind-the-scenes tinkerer, Ezra Firestone also became a new force through Smart Markerter, which dispenses must-read advice on the startup world and the work-life balance.

Jim Hao
Jim Hao
Managing Partner at Reformation Partners

An understanding of high-level subject matter often gets the most plaudits in DTC thought leadership; Jim Hao, however, has also mastered ground-level knowledge of how brands can actually succeed.

Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore
Co-Founder at Lumen Ventures

A tireless advocate for the importance of great content, Kaleigh Moore teaches her countless followers how to think differently about writing—in part by leading by example.

Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins
Co-Founder & CEO at RSE Ventures

From humble beginnings to work as an NYC press secretary, NFL executive, Shark Tank guest, Harvard Business School fellow, and investor, Matt Higgins can be found nearly everywhere imparting insights on everything from DTC operations to SPACs, cryptocurrency, and other agenda-setting topics.

Nik Sharma
Nik Sharma
CEO at Sharma Brands

Nik Sharma has earned his way onto too many exalted lists to count, but he still holds a special place among the DTCs that have boosted their loyalty by following his advice.

Rex Woodbury
Rex Woodbury
Principal at Index Ventures

From his incisive weekly Digital Native column to his casual tweets about internet culture and social trends, Rex Woodbury is here to teach you something new and important.

Web Smith
Web Smith
Founder at 2PM

A sharp analyst and prolific writer, Web Smith and 2PM are bona fide institutions in the digital-first space for good reason.

Winning Marketers

Dave Gerhardt
Dave Gerhardt
CMO at Privy

A digital brand-builder extraordinaire, Dave Gerhardt knows that near-term shortcuts are no substitute for quality storytelling and fundamentals.

Jeff Brooks
Jeff Brooks
Executive Advisor at High Slope

A fixture behind some of the most successful and best known DTC brands, Jeff Brooks has seen the DTC world grow and helped shape it accordingly.

Justin Lapidus
Justin Lapidus
SVP of Growth Marketing and Digital Products at Brooklinen

Finding a way to stand out in a crowded DTC field is a problem that Brooklinen doesn’t have. Justin Lapidus is a big reason why.

Rebecca Traverzo
Rebecca Traverzo
VP of Marketing at ThirdLove

More than just the sponsor of your favorite podcast, Rebecca Traverzo and ThirdLove have broken new ground by striking targeted partnerships with popular Hulu shows.

Taylor Holiday
Taylor Holiday
Managing Partner at Common Thread Collective

Marketing agencies can talk the talk when it comes to strategies, research, and tactics; Taylor Holiday and Common Thread Collective are walking the walk by creating their own innovative DTC brands.

Vivian Kaye
Vivian Kaye
Founder at KinkyCurlyYaki

Inspired brand storytelling feels personal; Vivian Kaye’s hair extension company KinkyCurlyYaki doesn’t just sell, it empowers.

Winning Innovators

Bret Recor
Bret Recor
Founder at Box Clever

While founders tend to seize the glory for themselves, oftentimes it’s a designer with technical know-how that helps brands stand out. Bret Recor has a hand in too many of them to count.

David Wolfe
David Wolfe
Co-Founder at The Fascination

The Leesa alums are helping bring legitimacy and transparency to the DTC world through The Fascination, a marketplace featuring brands vetted for quality.

Heidi ONeill
Heidi ONeill
President of Consumer and Marketplace at Nike

As consumers have sought out more personalized retail experiences, the Goliaths have adapted by adopting the DTC approach. Heidi O’Neill and Nike are sprinting ahead of the pack.

Jenny Gyllander
Jenny Gyllander
Founder at Thingtesting

Some of the smartest ideas are the simplest ones. Jenny Gyllander’s Thingtesting, an honest guide to DTC brand discovery, is making sure everyone stays at the top of their game.

Matt Hayes
Matt Hayes
Co-Founder at The Fascination

The Leesa alums are helping bring legitimacy and transparency to the DTC world through The Fascination, a marketplace featuring brands vetted for quality.

Nick Raushenbush
Nick Raushenbush
Co-Founder & COO at Shogun

Behind the branding and product of the DTC space is the digital infrastructure that keeps the lights on and the conversions coming. Nick Raushenbush and Shogun are helping the little guys keep up with the giants.

Rachel Shechtman
Rachel Shechtman
Board of Directors at CAMP

The challenge of building a connection with consumers is a definitional one in the DTC space. A pioneer in experiential retail, Rachel Shectman has changed how brands big and small can reinvent themselves.

Ronny Sage
Ronny Sage
Founder & CEO at ShoppingGives

Finding a way to help DTCs boost their sales while advancing social causes is a simple idea that's hard to pull off. Ronny Sage and ShoppingGives has found the way.

Satish Kanwar
Satish Kanwar
VP of Product at Shopify

For countless DTC brands, outlasting the pandemic was the hope and thriving during it was a dream. With the help of Satish Kanwar and Shopify, many digital-first companies have made their mark with consumers.

Winning Investors

Brianne Kimmel
Brianne Kimmel
Founder & Managing Partner at Worklife Ventures

In just a short period of time, Brianne Kimmel has not only helped dozens of creative entrepreneurs and collaborative concepts find their footing, but may have redefined the VC game.

Chris Cantino
Chris Cantino
Partner at Color Capital

Chris Cantino can be found promoting diversity in tech, boosting early-stage consumer product companies through Color Capital, and dispensing useful insights on Twitter.

Chris Quinn
Chris Quinn
Early Stage Investor at

Getting involved in ventures as diverse as SMS, real estate, furniture logistics, and social impact would be a challenge for most. Chris Quinn makes it seem easy.

Kate McAndrew
Kate McAndrew
Partner at Bolt

Bringing a digital-based concept into the physical world is a feat for any entrepreneur — it becomes a lot easier with the help of Kate McAndrew.

Michele Romanow
Michele Romanow
Co-founder at Clearbanc

A powerful force for start-ups and a powerful advocate for women entrepreneurs, Michele Romanow has an eye for bringing unconventional concepts to life.

Winning in Media

Ana Andjelic
Ana Andjelic
Chief Brand Officer at Banana Republic

Through her newsletter, media-themed features, her book “The Business of Aspiration,” and her work, Ana Andjelic has brought brand strategy into the future.

Anna Hensel
Anna Hensel
Reporter at Modern Retail

A crackerjack reporter and observer of major trends and players in DTC, Anna Hensel’s work at Modern Retail is a must-read for those in the know.

Halie LeSavage
Halie LeSavage
Reporter at Retail Brew

Whether it’s acquisitions, corporate strategy, or brand experiments, Halie LeSavage keeps the digital-first crowd apprised of retail’s latest twists and turns.

Sam Parr
Sam Parr
Founder at The Hustle

With a gimlet eye on the intersection between millennial behavior, tech, and culture, it’s no surprise that Sam Parr’s The Hustle became an indispensable read.

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