Great post! Agreed that intense brand loyalty has been absolutely integral to SoulCycle’s success, largely fueled by its first mover advantage and its intangible operating assets – i.e., their organizational culture and their human capital assets…which brings to question whether any of their tangible assets bring sustainable competitive advantages – are the high-end facilities inimitable? There’s also a question as to whether their product/service offering is a trend – what happens if spinning falls out of favor and some new fitness class is the new fad? What becomes of SoulCycle’s value proposition then? Whether the alignment of their operating model and business strategy is more a product of favorable timing rather than a sustainable advantage is likely a question that their founders will have to answer in the next five years.
Great post! I find B Corporations to be incredibly interesting business models – the B Corp allows Patagonia to focus on long-term impact vs short-term profitability, and in a sense, redefines the meaning of “shareholder value”. The fact that these B Corporation tenets align so well with its operating model is all the more impressive: one of the biggest criticisms against B Corps is that there is little governance or regulatory structures in place (both internal and external to the company) that ensure that the social/environmental benefits are really there, but Patagonia has proven with every aspect of its operating model that it is truly dedicated to its environmental bottom line. Furthermore, these principles have thus far come at no cost to Patagonia’s top-line growth potential, proving out that balancing business growth and a double/triple bottom-line is not a zero-sum game. Here’s to hoping that more companies will begin following this model!
Great post, Zhihan! As Rent the Runway starts to expand into everyday wear, it’ll be interesting to see if their current operating competencies translate well into that market. I’m curious to see what complications, if any, may arise with their returning capabilities (does everyday wear lead to wear-and-tear issues that they have not yet seen with cocktail dresses and ballgowns?) and data analysis (can they effectively manage an ever-expanding inventory base and big data around customer preferences?). Also, does the current value proposition translate to everyday wear, i.e., people are willing to pay a rental premium for an item they wear once (to a fancy event), but will the same value proposition be there for everyday clothing that they may want to wear a few times? I do think that our generation is moving towards more renting / less owned material goods in every aspect of our lives, so this model capitalizes well on that trend, but eager to see how RTR is able to expand into other categories of fashion!