Finding a New New Thing

Antidotes to languishing (CBD not included)

A newsletter about branding, startups, and mission-driven companies aiming to make the world a better place.

👋 Welcome to For The Love, so happy to have you all here! 

Today we’ll be discussing: 

  • Languish, no more 

  • A roundup of new launches this week, including our first look at Yeezy x Gap and it’

  • A new product for hairy situations

If you were forwarded this by a friend, join DTC, brand, and marketing leaders by subscribing here! 

💣 For The Love of Startups

“I want real things — live people to take hold of — to see — and to talk to — music that makes holes in the sky.” ― Georgia O'Keeffe

I’ve had a tab open on my computer for 45 days, meaning to read an article entitled There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

Lucky for me the article didn’t go into detail as to whether failing to read an article for over a month was, in fact, a sign of languishing. 

But finally, this week, I opened the tab, and found this: 

“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

The author goes on to describe how flow is the antidote to languishing: 

“A concept called ‘flow’ may be an antidote to languishing. Flow is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place, and self melts away...People who became more immersed in their projects managed to avoid languishing and maintained their pre-pandemic happiness.”

Okay, so just find a thing that’s so interesting that time passes effortlessly and you feel inspired, and fulfilled. 


It’s that easy, huh.

For me (and many other creatives I know) getting inspired requires exposure to new things. This has obviously been hard to come by over the past year and a half, hence, languishing.

According to psychiatrist C. Robert Cloninger, “Novelty-seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age.”

In addition to being good for mental health, it’s an asset in business, especially as an early-stage founder. 

When you explore something new, find inspiration from an unlikely source, and do something different than the standard 10 steps to growth hacking, your customers will take notice.

According to an article in Scientific American:

“Scientists have discovered that novel objects perk up the reward system of our brains, indicating our sense of adventure — exploring or learning something new — may be just as tempting as cash and other prizes in the choices we make. Researchers say the finding may explain why marketers are able to bolster sagging sales by simply repackaging old products.”

One simple way to explore new perspectives is by talking to people. 

Last week I hopped on the phone with Emmett Shine, Pattern Brands co-founder,  to discuss their recent raise and new acquisition strategy ― in addition to developing their own brands, they’re now also buying existing small businesses in the home goods space. 

This strategy partially arose from all the conversations he has with other founders, learning about their perspectives and pain points. 

“I speak to, not exaggerating, a few dozen entrepreneurs a week, you know, that are in every type of business, but especially e-comm, and CPG, and home goods. And I try thinking a lot on the weekends, I try just doing research and looking at, like, what are other brands doing? What are trends?”

He’s constantly looking for something new and discovery is a large part of that. He explained: 

Let's not try to be experts at all this stuff that we're not experts at, let's listen. In life, you know, be curious and be humble, and things kind of will present themselves.” 

Pattern is taking their approach of leading with curiosity one step further ― in acquiring brands, they are also bringing on teams with fresh perspectives, different backgrounds, and approaches. 

“To me, it's just the ability to say, hey, let's try this out. And so that's my main goal for Pattern let's just keep trying things out...I think on the business model side there's going to be a lot more exploration.”

Georgia O’Keeffe famously found inspiration in new places. She had found critical acclaim before her move to New Mexico, but it was there that she became an iconic artist. 

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum writes

“In the summer of 1929, Georgia O’Keeffe made the first of many trips to New Mexico. As she explored the unfamiliar environment, she experimented with fresh colors, forms, and compositional strategies. Her exploration coincided with an expanding regionalist perspective among many American Modernists, who were seeking a larger view of the American scene beyond New York City.”

Whether seeing new places, or speaking to new people, I urge you (and me) to take some time to explore, get inspired, and prove the NY Times wrong. As O’Keefe said:

“Come quickly. You mustn’t miss the dawn. It will never be just like this again.”

💡 For The Love of Interestingness

If you happen to be in NY, here are a few things on my list of things to do to get inspired: 

Marveling at Alice Neel’s portraits at the Met. Immersing myself in the world of Yayoi Kusama at the NY Botanical Gardens. Making the trek to Governer’s Island to bliss out in Shantell Martin’s The May Room. Checking out the Outsider Art Fair’s Super Rough guest curated by Takashi Murakami. Browsing Cezanne’s drawings at MoMA. Exploring a billionaire’s legacy aka Little Island. Eating one of everything at the Queens Night Market. Lusting after “horny groceries” at Alimentari Flaneur. Pretending I’m one of the cool kids of Dimes Square and feasting on Hokkaido specialties at Dr Clark.

On the topic of things to do in NY, I’m thinking of organizing an NY DTC meetup. If you’re interested in joining let me know in the comments below! 

And for the rest of you, I’d love to know what you’re doing to get re-inspired.

🔥 For The Love of Newness

August is period care “made with, by, and for, anyone who menstruates.”

Waeve is a new line of  high-quality, beginner-friendly wigs, “because you should be able to change your hair every day, every hour, or every minute if you want to.”

Chemistry-first skincare line Fig. 1 is here to demystify skincare.

Pomp is the newest addition to the DTC flower space, but this one’s family-owned and operated.

Forflolk launched with Peace Out Pills ― aka adaptogens.

Deux, a line of better-for-you treats, launched Drip, a chocolate hazelnut spread (think Nutella, but actually made from hazelnuts).

Kinfield added 2-years in the making sunscreen to their lineup of clean, sustainable “recreation-ready skincare.”

For some reason, Ferrari now has its very own luxury brand.

Yeezy x Gap launched, and you just need to give them all your dimensions, your social security, and firstborn to shop their first style ― a summer-appropriate blue puffer coat. And don’t even think about buying it for winter ― it doesn't close.

Hill House Home, maker of the pandemic must-have Nap Dress, now has a full apparel line

🌟 For The Love of Sponsors

Every aspiring founder faces the same difficulty ― ideas are easy to come by, but bringing them to life is a whole different story. Whether you lack the tools, the knowledge, the collaborators, or the motivation, far too many new business ideas are just collecting dust on the shelf, and aspiring founders are wasting their potential.

Day Zero solves for that. Day Zero is a new community from the folks at Day One, who have helped over 200 founders launch startups like Zette and Reconcile. With Day Zero you'll engage with like-minded aspiring founders as well as serial entrepreneurs. You'll explore new business ideas and leverage tools and playbooks to master the validation process.

Ultimately you'll learn what it takes to launch a new business while taking the steps to get your own ideas off the ground. 

Join today and make the investment to start something.

🔍 For The Love of the Details

Women’s hair is always out of place according to societal expectations.

Their hair is under constant examination to evaluate it either against the latest trends or to judge whether it’s showing up where it should be, in the right amounts.

I have no intentions of piling on to that trend, but… I do have limits.

My friends, if your nose hair is making its way into your mouth, I think it’s time to take some drastic action.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the staging of this shot.

“No no, we need to make it look like a big problem… like… she’s been in a coma for like ten years and the nurses have only been trimming her nose hair on one side just for kicks.”

“And now, use some huge scissors.”

“NO! Will get hurt!”

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Written by Aja Singer, a brand and creative strategy consultant interested in all things startup, mission-driven, and community. Born in Canada. Based in Brooklyn. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.