Direct to Consumer

Maven, the direct-to-consumer binocular outfit, keeps costs down by eliminating third-party intermediaries. (Becca Skinner/Courtesy of Maven)

A business model in which a company sells its products via its own website, catalog, or store, reducing retail markup and passing the savings along to the consumer. While a number of large, established brands have direct-to-consumer channels, a wave of smaller companies are experiencing success with the approach, among them apparel makers American Giant and Stio and camera maker Red Digital Cinema. The strategy is to appeal to customers by eliminating the cost increases accrued by third-party brick-and-mortar shops or online intermediaries. Last year, for example, engineers at Brunton’s optics division spun off a company called Maven, a direct-to-consumer binocular outfit that sells $2,000 optics for about $1,000.

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