Post Categories: October 2017

From Jim’s Desk: A Letter from the CEO

The Cost of Innovation

I was talking to a new associate here at Daymon recently and asked her why she was interested in the retail industry. Given the fact she has a background in international business, is fluent in multiple languages and could really set the course for her career in just about any area, why retail? Why Daymon? Her answer… because retail is always changing. It’s evolving and is different today than it was yesterday—and she wants to be part of it. (I know how she feels!)

In today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape, there are two ways innovation takes place: building and buying. More and more national branded companies and retailers are doing the latter. Long gone are the days when we saw brands creating products and services that addressed consumers’ needs. Fewer are those today who address a problem consumers didn’t even know they needed solved.

Imagine that! Creating products that not only entice consumers but have them thinking they can’t live without them once they come to market. Remember P&G’s Swiffer? It’s a household item still used today. And, though it is relevant, it was introduced nearly 20 years ago! What’s happened in the two decades since?

Today’s innovation comes in the way of large buyouts to minimize threats and maximize company assets. Giant businesses swallow the smaller guys. Kellogg’s buys Kashi. General Mills buys Annie’s. Nestle buys Blue Bottle Coffee. Conagra Brands buys Angie’s Artisan Treats and so on and so forth.

But can buying make you relevant? Today’s consumers are smart enough to know if a product or service is truly revolutionizing or if it’s the same thing wrapped in a new label. They know when a company is thinking and meeting their needs. The same goes for employees.

When brands and retailers consider what’s next on the horizon, they must first consider how their actions will make them relevant with today’s consumer. In their zeal to stay competitive, retailers and brands must realize that something wonderful and authentic gets lost when one quits innovating and outsources ideation: you risk being just a “holding company” that can still be irrelevant.

Fresh ideas, insights and innovations are what makes the difference. For my part, I’m excited to welcome new associates who come eager to be part of the change that takes place.

What are your thoughts on today’s approach to innovation? How is innovation playing a role in staying relevant for you? Let’s continue the conversation—shoot me a note at

Jim Holbrook
Chief Executive Officer