Pivoting to Profitability: The Art of Inventory with Gregg Carey of Section 119 | re:COGs Podcast Episode #42

Truckin' & Transformation

Gregg Carey's Long Strange Trip from Venture Capital to CEO of Section 119, a Music-Inspired Apparel E-Commerce Enterprise Catering to Fashionable Fans.

From Venture-Backed to Inventory-Based: Gregg Carey’s E-Commerce Evolution

Join re:COGs host Mike Gelb for an enlightening exploration of the e-commerce landscape with Gregg Carey, Strategic Advisor to innovative brands navigating the complexities of inventory management and supply chain optimization. Tracing Gregg’s journey from the adrenaline-fueled world of venture-backed startups to the rock-steady realm of inventory-based businesses, this episode offers a master class in pivoting to profitability and dancing to the beat of booming business.

The Birth of Section 119: Crafting Clothing Inspired by Music and Community

Gregg’s passion project, Section 119, is a testament to his newfound appreciation for tangible products and the power of community. Drawing inspiration from the principles that made iconic bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish successful, Section 119 aims to create high-quality clothing for fans while fostering a sense of belonging and shared values. By respecting their craft, serving the community, embracing playfulness, and taking risks, Gregg and his team at Section 119 are building a brand that resonates with music lovers and fashion enthusiasts alike.

The Allure of Tangible Products: Building a Business Grounded in Reality

Gregg candidly shares the appeal of crafting a company centered on physical products and the crucial role a robust economic model plays in its success. His unexpected delight in managing financial statements might surprise you, as he reveals a fresh appreciation for the concrete elements of business often overshadowed in the venture model, where immediate profitability isn’t the priority.

Scaling Beyond the Million-Dollar Mark: Navigating Inventory Nightmares

As the conversation unfolds, Mike and Gregg tackle the nuanced task of elevating a direct-to-consumer brand like Section 119 beyond its initial revenue triumphs. They unveil the art of balancing inventory without tipping into overstocking disasters, emphasizing the reliance on a deep understanding of your enterprise over any forecasting gadgetry. The discussion highlights the mastery of Excel and the power of close-knit collaborations with marketing and inventory teams, alongside the necessity for sturdy manufacturer relationships in a supply chain recently put to the test.

Fiscal Finesse: Optimizing Cash Flow in the Apparel Industry

Rounding out the exploration, Gregg delves into the financial strategies key to nurturing and expanding an apparel brand like Section 119. Hear how savvy inventory financing and detailed cash flow forecasts can be game-changers, as he shares his wisdom on optimizing cash flow and why cultivating solid relationships with banks and manufacturers can be the bedrock for a thriving business. Whether dealing with the seasonal swings of the apparel industry or staying ahead in the design game, this episode offers invaluable advice and real-world experiences for anyone looking to master the operational dance of a successful venture.

Listen In:

Tune in as Mike and Gregg discuss:

  • The mission to create clothing inspired by music and community
  • Transitioning from venture-backed tech to inventory-based businesses
  • The importance of a sound economic model and path to profitability
  • Scaling beyond $1M in revenue and navigating inventory challenges
  • Excel mastery and collaboration between marketing and inventory teams
  • Building strong manufacturer relationships to optimize supply chain
  • Inventory financing strategies and cash flow forecasting for apparel brands
  • Balancing seasonality and staying ahead of the design calendar

Listen to the Entire re:COGs Series:

Tune in to re:COGs, the podcast series that examines the essential aspects of inventory management, supply chain optimization, and operational excellence, all through a COGs-focused lens.

Hear business operators and thought leaders from growing consumer brands share their thoughts on product manufacturing.  Through inspiring stories and critical conversations with top experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries, listeners are treated to valuable insights and actionable advice that can be applied to any growing business as it scales up operations.

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