Bonobos Founder Andy Dunn Knows You Might Be Mad At Him For Joining Walmart

by MR Magazine Staff

Last Friday, the plate tectonics of the e-commerce world shifted. Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, acquired high-end grocer Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. On the same day, Walmart, which still dominates the realm of brick-and-mortar retail, acquired the online menswear brand Bonobos for $310 million. The move threw into relief exactly how fiercely the two corporations are competing for the American consumer by working to seamlessly integrate online and offline shopping experiences. By acquiring Whole Foods and Bonobos–brands with feel-good values that millennials love–they’re hoping to further tap into the yuppie market. In April, rumors began spreading that Bonobos might sell itself to Walmart. The news came as a surprise, since the two brands could not be more different. Bonobos, unlike Whole Foods, did not appear to be in financial trouble and had raised a total of $125 million to build brick-and- mortar showrooms around the country. “In some ways, it was a surprise even to me that we chose to take this route,” Andy Dunn, Bonobos’s founder and CEO, told Fast Company. “My fear has been that customer reaction—based on the perception of the Walmart brand—is going to change the nature of Bonobos.” When he founded Bonobos in 2007, Dunn’s goal was to offer high-end, stylish men’s clothing at fair prices, thanks to a direct-to-consumer, vertically integrated approach. Dunn spoke often about building a strong company culture, where the happiness of employees was a priority. Meanwhile, Walmart creates cheaper products for a lower-income consumer and it regularly comes under fire for the way it treats workers. “I don’t want to pretend that people aren’t going to disagree with (our decision) and are turned off by the Walmart brand,” Dunn says. “It was a huge part of the calculus for me.” Read more at Fast Company.