Amazon sells a lot of things — so much so that a lot of what it sells is questionable third-party marketplace fodder that can undermine the perceived value of a brand. Nike recently announced that it would stop selling on Amazon because of quality control issues with fakes being sold from third-parties.
Another shoe brand that doesn't sell on Amazon is upstart Allbirds ($ALLBIRDS). This digitally native brand makes and sells shoes that are beloved for their comfort and environmentally friendly materials. After the brand was alerted — by CNN's Christiane Amanpour — to some Amazon-branded "206 Collective" shoes that look a lot like Allbirds being sold on the e-commerce giant, Allbirds co-CEO Joey Zwillinger attacked the issue head-on in a Medium blog post titled, "Dear Mr. Bezos".
In the post, Zwillinger calls out Bezos for not using environmentally-friendly materials in its Allbirds knockoffs. He then goes on to offer Amazon some help, as SweetFoam, a natural substitute for oil-based products that Allbirds uses in its shoes, is open-source and freely available for Bezos and Co to use. The post ends with "Please steal our approach to sustainability".
The blog post, as of writing, has picked up 11,000 "claps" on Medium, and has generated multiple articles and posts in support of Allbirds.
Immediately following the November 25 post, chatter about Allbirds picked up on Facebook.
Before the exchange, Allbirds' daily "talking about" count on Facebook — the number of posts that mention the brand via status updates and comments — had dipped below 5,000. By November 27, that number had nearly doubled.
Social media runs aside, Allbirds has been in a sustained state of expansion, as we reported in October. While hiring activity has cooled off a bit, 2019 saw job listings nearly double overall.
With hiring comes workforce expansion, and according to LinkedIn data, Allbirds has doubled in size since the beginning of 2019.
It's too early to say if the social media attention will convert into sales for Allbirds. On the Amazon side of things, the "206 Collective" shoes have not been great sellers for Amazon. They ranked in Amazon's top-100 products just once on September 20 when they topped out at #74 before never appearing again.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.