The Lead Announces the 2021 Foremost 50 List: The Annual Power List of High-Growth D2C Brands

These companies are reinventing and redefining the future of the fashion, retail, and consumer industries. Bellwethers indicating where the future is headed, these brands are innovating in the market and taking risks while creating investor value. The Lead believes by understanding this group of rising stars, leaders across the industry can apply new business models and anticipate ever-evolving consumer expectations.

NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, The Lead, a research-driven media company, announced the fourth annual Foremost 50 List — a power list recognizing 50 high-growth D2C brands that are reinventing and redefining the future of the fashion, retail, and consumer industries. The honorees are being recognized for excellence across six dimensions — innovation, total addressable market, media buzz, teams, competition, and funding/investor value creation.

Having closely tracked the direct-to-consumer business model since 2018, through The Foremost 50 Lists, The Direct 60 List, and associated Insights Reports, The Lead has solidified itself as the leading voice on direct-to-consumer business models and is uniquely qualified to identify the challengers who are on track to transform the industry.

The Foremost 50 List is designed not only to recognize groundbreaking companies but also to highlight the collective trends and best practices that signal where the fashion, retail, and consumer industries are headed. By understanding this group of rising stars, we believe leaders across the industry can apply new business models and anticipate ever-evolving consumer expectations.

Although product innovations are an important criteria, The Lead’s predominant focus is on how these companies are innovating in the market, including customer acquisition and marketing, customer experience, supply chain optimization, technology implementation, channel diversity, and capital efficiency. We aim to spotlight companies that are taking risks while creating investor value.

The 2021 Foremost 50, presented in partnership with Amazon Pay & Listrak, are — advene, Andie, Back to the Roots, Bearaby, Bev, Birdy Grey, Blueland, Catch Co., Cuts Clothing, Fair Harbor, Floyd, Glow Recipe, HATCH, Hawthorne, Heyday, Interior Define, JAXXON, Jones Road, K18 Hair, Mack Weldon, Made In, Madhappy, MAËLYS, Magic Spoon, Maude, NAADAM, Nutrafol, OROS, Pair, Pair of Thieves, PANGAIA, Parade, Pattern, Quince, Quip, Resident Home, Ritual, Rowan, Rowing Blazers, Sakara Life, Stojo, Studs, Sunday, Tecovas, Ten Thousand, The Citizenry, The Naked Market, The Sill, Thursday Boot Company, and With Clarity.

Venture Capital continued to flow to direct-to-consumer brands in 2021. According to The Lead’s Chief Product Officer, Sonal Gandhi, “Among the brands we track, after apparel, the personal care category was the biggest beneficiary of capital investment with funding going into everything from oral health to hair care. Personal and planetary wellness continue to be the top trends for D2C funding. With customer acquisition cost rising, we expect much of the funding to be deployed for rapid growth via marketing and store openings.”

Regarding the announcement, Brain Berger, Founder & CEO of Mack Weldon said, “We are so honored to be recognized as part of The Lead Foremost 50. As we approach our 10 year anniversary, it’s especially sweet for Mack Weldon to be featured this year alongside such an awesome community of brands. When we launched in the summer of 2012, our mission was reinventing men’s basics - now our customers have embraced the Daily Wear System and Mack Weldon’s role as a multi-category menswear brand. Thank you to The Lead for supporting our journey and looking forward to what lies ahead!”

“As we grow as a company and expand into new categories, we are still grateful every day to serve our incredible customers. We are thrilled to be recognized on The Foremost 50 list again and honored to be a part of The Lead's community of outstanding brands," said Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie.

During the research process each year, The Lead also discovers brands that are on the cusp of selection for The Foremost 50, but are a bit too young. Poised for great success, these companies are not to be overlooked. The Lead honors them by selecting them for the “Ones to Watch” List.

In partnership with Pipeline, powered by Rosenthal & Rosenthal, The Ones to Watch of 2021 are — Athena Club, Awe Inspired, Coterie, Faculty, Haeckels, Hydrant, kencko, Lalo, Nude Barre, Our Place, Scent Beauty, The Big Favorite, Three Wishes, Veracity, and Wandering Bear Coffee.
The Foremost 50 and the Ones to Watch will be honored at The Foremost 50 Forum on March 22nd. The half-day, by-invitation event is designed for leaders from high-growth D2C brands, including CEOs from The Foremost 50 and Ones to Watch, as well as executives from incumbent brands. The Foremost 50 award ceremony & standout awards will be livestreamed at 11 AM EST and can be registered for here.


The Lead's mission is to bridge the fashion, retail & consumer industries with the global Silicon Valley. We do this through research, content, and executive gatherings ranging from 35 people to 2,000. The Lead is hyper-focused on innovation across the entire fashion-retail-commerce value chain including marketing, e-commerce, stores, supply chain, and more. Our work is to reveal what is coming next and to help our community get ahead of it.

For more information on this topic, please email Caitlin Boyle at