World events and economic conditions impact how each generation behaves as consumers and business owners.
A decade ago, millennial consumers were constantly making headlines for “killing” certain products. From a business standpoint, millennial entrepreneurs in the 2010s saw notable success marked by increased access to venture capital and early adoption of social media to acquire customers.
Now, as interest rates are higher, venture capital funds are harder to come by, and privacy laws have made paid customer acquisition on social media more challenging, Gen Z entrepreneurs are following a different playbook when it comes to building their businesses.
Per The Business of Fashion, Gen Z businesses are differentiating themselves from their millennial counterparts by creating super-niche products. This route requires less capital and calls for slower, more sustainable growth.
To better understand the ins and outs of Gen Z entrepreneurship, we’re doing a deep dive into a uniquely Gen Z business: Chamberlain Coffee.
Founded by popular YouTube creator Emma Chamberlain in 2020, Chamberlain Coffee has become a cult favorite among young coffee drinkers. The brand launched offering whole bean coffee and has expanded to sell cold brew packets, matcha, chai, ready-to-drink coffees, and branded merch including a milk frother and mugs.
What Makes Chamberlain Coffee Uniquely Gen Z
So what makes Chamberlain Coffee distinctly Gen Z compared to other beverage brands?
Natural Connection to Chamberlain’s Content
Not all brands founded by popular creators succeed, but Chamberlain Coffee is off to a strong start.
As a creator, Chamberlain got her start sharing videos of her daily life which frequently included her drinking cold brew coffee, so the launch of Chamberlain Coffee felt like a natural extension of her personal brand.
Her love of cold brew aligns with her generation’s coffee consumption habits — Gen Z is more likely to opt for iced coffee than older generations. Chamberlain Coffee’s at-home cold brew options make sense for the brand’s target audience.
A Clear Omnichannel Strategy
The 2010s saw many emerging brands opt for an exclusively direct-to-consumer model backed by high VC dollars. Chamberlain Coffee, like other Gen Z-led brands, has opted for a deliberate omnichannel in the company’s early stages.
While the brand was initially only available through the company website, it can now be found at retailers including Sprouts, Target, and Walmart which allows for greater accessibility and various points of customer acquisition.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Chamberlain Coffee has also leaned into partnerships and collaborations with other brands to drive name recognition. Last year, the brand teamed up with Swoon to launch a specialty line of matcha lemonade drinks.
This fall, Chamberlain Coffee partnered with ready-to-eat cookie dough brand Deux to create co-branded coffee donut holes and took over a Los Angeles coffee shop to generate excitement about the launch.
The brand has even tapped into the beauty space, collaborating with IGK to create matcha dry shampoo.
Chamberlain Coffee sits at the intersection of Gen Z business and the creator economy, and its continued business trajectory will be fascinating to watch.
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