🏍️ Harley-Davidson shakes it up


June 2, 2021

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The Hustle

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The big idea
motorcycle

Can a new bike turn around Harley-Davidson’s fortunes?

Harley-Davidson once tried launching a perfume.

That’s not a typo: In 1994, the classic motorcycle brand conducted one of corporate America’s worst brand extensions ever when it launched a fragrance line called “Hot Road.”

Fast forward to 2021…

… and the company is taking another crack at a brand extension. This time, though, it has “a potential blockbuster” on its hands, per The New York Times.

Harley-Davidson is launching The Pan America bike and jumping into the “adventure touring” motorcycle market, which is dominated by European manufacturers like BMW and Ducati.

To compete, Harley — which was founded in 1903 — had to ditch the classic look of the existing line. The new bike weighs 534 lbs. and starts at $17.3k (which is 200 lbs. lighter and $2k cheaper than its most popular heavy cruiser).

Business has been in decline

In its last pre-COVID year (2019), Harley-Davidson sold 218k bikes and notched sales of $5.4B, down from annual revenue of $6B+ in the mid-2010s.

The problem with its classic look was just that… it was classic, and didn’t appeal to a large enough customer base.

In 2020, the Milwaukee-based company brought in a new CEO to shake things up: Jochen Zeitz, who previously ran sports apparel firm Puma.

Refocusing the company

According to the NYT, the new CEO “cut overhead and staff, closed some foreign subsidiaries, reduced the number of US dealers… and spun off an electric bicycle division.”

Zeitz even shut down the pace of new bike introductions… except for the Pan America.

“Adventure and touring are in Harley-Davidson’s DNA,” Zeitz says.

While early reviews are positive, it’s still too early to tell if Harley’s new bet will pay off. At a minimum, there’s no way it can turn out worse than the perfume.

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SNIPPETS

Attention, Costco shoppers: In-store samples will return — with plexiglass walls — by the end of June! #ecommerce-retail

Over 1m people have downloaded the “Excelsior Pass,” New York state’s vaccine passport. The success of this project will be a bellwether for the rest of the country. #privacy

Rand Larsen breaks down podcasts into Twitter threads. Here’s My First Million’s #187, from MEGA trends to ghost kitchens for gifts. #mfm

Prospective home buyers may now find climate hazards in listings, including flood and wildfire risk. #clean-energy

A stock market for… sports? Serial entrepreneur Marc Lore thinks it’s possible. #hustle-picks

No free rides: Uber and Lyft fares are up 40% amid driver shortage. #big-tech

Elon Musk says Deimos — one of SpaceX’s 2 oil-rigs-turned-ocean-spaceports — could be ready for launch by next year. #emerging-tech

Candy Digital is hoping for a home run with MLB-licensed NFTs fans can buy, sell, and trade. First up: a 1-of-1 NFT of Lou Gehrig’s 1939 “Luckiest Man” speech. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Consumer Goods
Colgate toothpaste

With baking soda! (Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Americans are prepping for the post-COVID world… by buying deodorant and toothpaste

When the masks come off, the deodorant goes on.

As more and more states walk back COVID restrictions, America’s largest retailers are seeing surging sales in cosmetic and personal hygiene products.

TLDR: People want to look good at <6ft.

We’re talking to strangers again…

and it’s awkward.

Sales of personal hygiene products like deodorant, teeth whiteners, face creams, and shaving equipment are at post-COVID highs.

Not to be left out, apparel, activewear, and travel accessories are seeing noticeable bumps over last year too:

  • Walmart saw luggage sales climb +400% last quarter
  • At Target, apparel sales are up +60%, driven by demand for swimwear and dresses
  • Even sexual health products (read: condoms) are up +32% from a year ago

Because quarantine is so last season

The recent sales surge is still smaller than the paper and cleaning products boom during the early months of COVID restrictions. Sales for toilet paper and disinfectant wipes tripled in that time.

Today, quarantine staples like toilet paper and baking supplies are down from this same period last year (-18.3% and -35.6%, respectively).

But according to retail executives, the post-quarantine buying shift is well underway. We’re just waiting for the appropriate time to blast Future’s “Mask Off” song in the club.

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Food Tech
chickens

Is regenerative agriculture egg-zactly what the planet needs?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

In this sustainability story, it’s the chicken.

According to Bloomberg, American farmers are tackling the $6.1B US egg industry by raising chickens with regenerative agriculture, resulting in “climate-friendly eggs.”

What is regenerative agriculture?

Modern agriculture was responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, per the EPA.

Regenerative agriculture improves soil’s organic matter and biodiversity through farming and grazing techniques. This healthier soil holds more water and — most importantly — draws carbon into the earth. (See this handy illustrated video.)

The Rodale Institute, a nonprofit that researches organic agriculture, suggests it could even reverse climate change.

Will people buy sustainable eggs?

Demand for specialty eggs — cage-free, free-range, etc — already makes up ⅓ of the industry and are projected to grab 70% in 5 years, per Bloomberg.

While regen eggs aren’t cheap (~$8 per dozen), Big Food is getting into it:

  • General Mills has committed to 1m acres of regenerative farmland by 2030.
  • At the UN Climate Summit in 2019, 19 companies — including Kellogg, Nestlé, and Googleagreed to protect and restore biodiversity through practices that include scaling regenerative agriculture.
  • In 2020, The Nature Conservancy, Target, McDonald’s, and Cargill launched an $8.5m investment into 100k acres of land in Nebraska, potentially trapping 150k metric tons of CO2.

For a complete breakfast, Applegate Farms has regenerative agriculture sausages.

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Product Hunt
Product Hunt Makers Festival

Product Hunt Makers Festival (Source: Product Hunt)

Product Hunt is hosting a hackathon… for the planet

Your Mother (Earth) wants to know what you’re doing next week. Product Hunt is hosting a hackathon geared around helping develop green tech and sustainable products.

Don’t be scared by the name hackathon — you don’t have to be a developer to enter. If you’ve ever opened a laptop and recycled something, you’re qualified.

Build something that helps the planet AND win some swag

Prizes include:

  • Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt 2021
  • Access to $100k in savings
  • A Webflow CMS plan
  • Even a Silver Kitty trophy
  • Also… you will have helped the planet (the best prize of all)

You have until June 4 to sign up. Invite some friends to build with and BYOTM (bring your own trail mix).

Register for Free →
Design of the Day

Air travel is picking up again. Last Friday, 1.9m+ passengers (a pandemic record) hit the air.

Just in time for this uptick in air traffic, the Crystal Cabins Awards — which highlights top airplane interior designs — rolled out some new concepts.

Per CNN, the most innovative idea was for a dual-level cabin that is meant to improve the economy-class experience.

We can’t decide if this is the best idea ever (legroom) or worst idea ever (“gas”):

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