LONDON, United Kingdom —BoF is partnering with Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer of Away, on the new self-directed online course: ‘Build a Direct to Consumer Brand’. Previously head of social media at eyewear disruptor Warby Parker, Rubio co-founded her brand in 2015 — impressively achieving $12 million in sales in the first 12 months of business. The business has since raised over $81 million in venture capital funds. Now, Rubio is sharing her career learnings on launching a successful brand and driving its continuing growth.
“Entrepreneurship has changed beyond recognition over the last five years,” adds Rubio. “Technology and social media platforms like Instagram have fundamentally changed the speed at which businesses can grow today. They have also made it possible for founders to build their brands and strategies by listening to what their customers want and need.”
Today, entrepreneurs can build relationships with consumers directly through digital channels and social media. Not only does this enable entrepreneurs to remove any middlemen from their interactions with their customer base — creating higher margins and the potential for more profit — it enables brands to constantly adapt their products and their strategies to their consumers needs as they learn more about them.
“If you are thinking about starting your own entrepreneurial journey, take my course on the Business of Fashion to find out what they don’t teach you in business school.”
With a focus on helping you find a differentiated and sustainable identity for your brand, Rubio covers brand development, launch strategies, growth management and product innovation. Course takers will also be given an overview view of the startup funding processes behind many direct-to-consumer brands, and an analysis of the startup ecosystem.
“The first part will define a direct-to-consumer brand and ask: 'how do I identify whether whitespace exists in the market?” explains Rubio. “The second part talks about launching your brand and going to market in a meaningful way. The third part is about building a brand and growing an engaged community, and the final part is about innovation and what's next for your brand’s long term success.”
Find out what they don’t teach you in business school. Unless I’m teaching the class.
“My path to success certainly wasn't linear but know that every step serves the purpose in getting you to where you want to go. It's important that you are passionate about what you are doing because things get really hard and that passion is what will take you through,” says Rubio
After two years at Warby Parker, Rubio moved to London to work at AllSaints as their director of innovation. She left the high street brand after a year, started interviewing for other roles, unsure of her next move — “and that’s when my luggage broke.” In 2015, Rubio and former Warby Parker colleague Steph Korey launched Away with a direct-to-consumer strategy. Both Korey and Rubio were named in Forbes 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 — Korey for retail and e-commerce and Rubio for marketing and advertising.