Illustration: Matija Medved for Elemental

The truth about the new class of hair care products

In 2006, Sachajuan, the cult Stockholm hair care brand, debuted a scalp shampoo, expecting it to be a niche product. But in recent years, the shampoo — made with a scalp-tingling peppermint and packaged in an apothecary-like bottle to evoke medicine for hair — has become the brand’s top seller, says co-founder Sacha Mitic. Little wonder, then, that Sachajuan subsequently released a scalp treatment, a scalp conditioner, and, last month, a scalp scrub and scalp brush, the latter of which sold out almost instantly.

“It’s very important to clean the scalp,” says Mitic, who has also been a hairdresser since…


As remote workers return to their buildings, iconic elevator maker Otis grapples with a product everyone’s suddenly terrified of

Raphaelle Macaron for Marker

The first movie to include coronavirus was, appropriately enough, a horror film. Corona, a Canadian film, unfolds like the stuff of an oft-tweeted pandemic nightmare: Seven neighbors are trapped in an elevator — where it’s impossible to socially distance — and one of them has Covid-19.

Stephen Nichols hasn’t seen the film but he doesn’t need to. Nichols is the associate director of engineering for Farmington, Connecticut-based Otis, the 167-year-old elevator company that operates in more than 200 countries, maintaining some 2 million elevators. …


They had $19 million, a deal with Disney, and dreams of becoming the next Ben & Jerry’s. Then everything fell apart.

A GIF animation of a two-scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream cone melting onto a sidewalk.
A GIF animation of a two-scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream cone melting onto a sidewalk.
Animation by Julia Roe for Marker

The after-school rush had just ended one weekday in the spring of 2015 when the phone rang at the Vanderbilt Avenue location of Ample Hills Creamery, the Brooklyn ice cream brand famous for its whimsical and elaborate flavors. Scooper Jason Smith answered the call, expecting to tell some customer what time they closed or that, yes, they still had Nonna D’s, a brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with oatmeal cookies. …


E-commerce founder Nicole Gibbons on micro-aggressions, tokenism, and leading her company through this complicated moment

Photo courtesy of Clare

Nicole Gibbons knew she was in rare company when her direct-to-consumer paint startup Clare raised $2 million from the likes of First Round Capital in 2017. Black female entrepreneurs receive less than 1% of VC funding raised by startups.

In an industry that champions quick pivots and failing fast, Gibbons — who launched her New York City-based company in 2018 after working as an interior decorator and global head of PR for Victoria’s Secret — feels intense pressure to make no mistakes and faces microaggressions so often she says she’s learned to live with them. She spoke with Marker about…


Illustration: Shira Inbar

Get ready for the commercial real estate apocalypse

In early March, Jeff Haynie, the CEO of Austin-based software company Pinpoint, was gearing up to find new office space. Pinpoint’s $25,000-per-month lease with WeWork for 1,800 square feet would be up in August, and it was time to move on. He was thinking he’d need maybe 10,000 square feet for his growing company, which makes software for programmers.

Then the pandemic hit, and along with it, the enforced work-from-home orders, and Haynie began questioning his figures. A survey he conducted a month in revealed that roughly half of the company’s 27 Austin employees would be perfectly happy to continue…


Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

A health care startup is now scrambling for funding after turning down a VC investment in February

Photo courtesy of Jo Schneier

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is affecting their businesses.

In early February, Jo Schneier received a term sheet for $4 million in Series A funding for his New York City–based health startup, Trusty, which develops Medicare tools for health insurance brokers. Schneier, the company’s co-founder and CEO, turned it down. Funding deals have since dried up, and Schneier is desperately trying to cut costs so that Trusty — which had raised $3 million to date and has 14 full-time employees — can stay in business. …


Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

The art of adapting your in-person businesses in the age of shelter-in-place

Photo courtesy of Blo’s Vanessa Yakobson

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is impacting their businesses.

You can’t blow-dry hair remotely or build houses over Zoom. The pandemic has been particularly painful for businesses that require customers and employees to physically be on-site. Three executives in the construction, hair care, and coworking industries shared with Marker the pivots that have enabled them to keep their companies going.

The coworking industry

In early 2020, New York City-based coworking company Industrious was flying high, with $230 million in venture capitalist funding raised to date, 500 employees, and more than 100 locations…


Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

The clock is now ticking for many companies. For this one, it’s got until Mother’s Day.

Christina Stembel stands next to various flowers in their warehouse.
Christina Stembel stands next to various flowers in their warehouse.
Christina Stembel at her new distribution center in Watsonville, California. Photos courtesy of Farmgirl Flowers.

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is impacting their businesses.

For Christina Stembel, the founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, a 10-year-old bootstrapped company that offers rustic floral bouquets, the clock is ticking. On March 16, in the scramble to contain the spread of coronavirus, San Francisco gave nonessential businesses just 12 hours’ notice they’d need to shut down. That included Farmgirl’s warehouse in the city’s Patrol Hill neighborhood. Besides the logistical nightmare of a lightning-fast shutdown that forced her to toss $150,000 worth of fresh flowers and furlough 95%…


Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

How Joe De Sena—the CEO of Spartan Race and Tough Mudder—is pivoting his business in the age of quarantine

Photo: Alberto Campos

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is impacting their businesses.

On March 13, Joe De Sena, the founder and CEO of the 10-year-old extreme fitness company Spartan Race, found himself in Sparta, Greece. He was there to become an honorary citizen (along with the actors Gerard Butler and Billy Zane), a result of the tourism boost Spartan Race has brought to the town. When President Trump suddenly announced he would be closing the borders to Europe, De Sena caught the first flight out of Greece. It was on his flight…


Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

American Giant’s Bayard Winthrop on how the pandemic has upended the apparel manufacturer, from cutting costs to converting factories

American Giant CEO Bayard Winthrop working on his laptop out of his truck with his 3-month-old puppy.
American Giant CEO Bayard Winthrop working on his laptop out of his truck with his 3-month-old puppy.
Photo: Alice Roche

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is impacting their businesses.

Eight years ago, when Bayard Winthrop founded American Giant, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of T-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel, he never imagined he would be running the business out of his car. But with the coronavirus lockdown, that’s where things are right now for the 50-year-old CEO. Partly because of the chaos created by having three children—ages 3, 5, and 9—now at home, Winthrop is working out of his Tacoma pickup truck, parked in front of his house in the…

Courtney Rubin

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