Studs CEO Anna Harman: DTC-only businesses pivot back into retail as a growth mechanism


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Studs co-founder and CEO Anna Harman recently got a second piercing in her ears. One place she looked at would have charged her $500. The other, which she went for, was a tattoo parlor.

"And while the piercing experience was great -- they pierce with a needle, it was healthy and safe -- the overall environment was really not suited to me. I felt really personally out of place there," Harman said on the Modern Retail Podcast.

She reached out to Lisa Bubbers, who would go on to co-found Studs -- a store that pierces your ears and sells you jewelry as well -- with her last year. "I said to Lisa 'wow, it feels like there's a real opportunity here to reinvent this experience end-to-end,'" Harman recalled. "We really thought the opportunity was to combine healthy and safe needle piercing with really accessibly-priced, fun jewelry in an environment that the customer was excited to spend time in."

Studs has a flagship store in Soho and is taking advantage of trends in the world of brick-and-mortar. "How do you physically expand in a way that's not incredibly capital intensive?" Harman said. "You will likely see Studs do things like shop-in-shops and kiosks."

Harman joined the Modern Retail Podcast to discuss the dreaded piercing gun, and what she's learning from both the direct-to-consumer zeitgeist and her time at a hedge fund.

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